"...we would like to submit that good Christians tend to read and apply this passage incorrectly because we do not fully understand what the “cloud of witnesses,” the heroes of the faith, really represent ... They aren’t examples, they are warnings."
Perhaps we should remember the women in the room when Ezekiel first uttered these words. They had been forcibly marched from their homes. They had watched their families die. Some had been raped by the Babylonians. How did they feel? Perhaps we should remember the women who read these texts today, the women in our churches and homes, whose current situations are not too dissimilar to the women in exile by the rivers of Babylon. They have enough reasons to weep.
Here's the tl:dr for the lazy: Judges does not present Samson as a hero. The context and structure of the book, as well as the context and structure of Samson's story all point to the same thing: Samson was a self-absorbed human being manipulated, not used, by God. He is an example to be avoided, not upheld.
Here is a not funny question: is this card about you?
Like the story of the people in the Flood Narrative (Noah and the Ark, lots of rain, bloated dead bodies everywhere once the rain subsides), do you, have you, or could you bring YHWH to a place of feeling like this when thinking of you? [NSFW-sort of]
We think it's an important question. Not just globally, not as a nation, but individually.
Perhaps good, modern, progressive, liberal, open and affirming, beloved community, non-offensive, rosy-colored-glasses Christians, have strayed from the Biblical (and common sense) idea that there is only so much crap God will put up with from each of us.
Perhaps we need to stop thinking that the notion "God is love" means that God doesn't care about our personal acts of evil in the world. That God simply pats on us the head, gently chiding us to do better, and wrings Divine hands at the predicament He is unable to get a grasp on.
Perhaps we should remember that the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament both contain the idea that God is in possession of the full range of emotional options; that God can get pissed off fairly quickly when people are mistreating others.
Perhaps we should keep in mind that "divine wrath" is predicated on "divine love" — an idea Good Christians have no problem remembering when talking about caring for the abstract poor, widows, and orphans, but seem to completely forget when the conversation turns to their own brands of personal evil/sin.
Perhaps personal floods sweep through our lives from time to time for just this reason. Let's just keep hoping that we're Noah in the story.
But what do we know: we made this game, so you probably think we'll be the first to descend to a watery Hell