Monday, April 21, 2008

Mark 7:6-8

And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
'This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Humans like rules. God doesn't.

That's something I've noticed, and it kind of came to light in a discussion at college group the other night.

It sounds counterintuitive - we hate rules, we want to do what we want, not what anyone tells us to. But when I look at the old testament, and the new testament, and what the majority (or at least the vocal minority) of American Christians today have set up as Christianity, that's what I see.

God didn't want rules. Initially, he had one - don't touch the tree. That was it. But then Humans had to go and screw everything up. Throughout the Old Testament, we had all these rules and stuff, and despite all the Isrealites' whining, it worked pretty well - they had all these sacrifices and stuff, and they, on the whole, got along with God when all was said and done.

And then God was all like, "Okay, these rules are annoying, and not really what I want. I'm going to send Jesus down to fulfill the law so we don't have all these obnoxious rules. The humans will figure it out, and be much happier. They'll see."

So Christ came down, fulfilled the law, told the Pharisees and Sadducees that all their ideas were the worst idea since Noah let the mosquitoes live on the Ark, and told the people what God was *really* about - loving your neighbor, helping others, letting God's love shine through you. It was great.

So what about Christianity today? Well, the way I see it, a large part of Christianity has done what is to be expected - put rules in place, because rules are comfortable. We have all these rules and guidelines and expectations about what it takes to be a Christian, a good Christian. It makes it easier to count people in or out, put them in a box.

Where this really manifests itself is in salvation - Evangelical Christianity seems obsessed with the sinner's prayer, assigning it as the rule for when you're saved. It's comfortable, it's easy, it's human. Say the right words, and you get into heaven.

But I don't think that's how God intended it. Finding God, following God, seeking God, is a journey. Being on that Journey is what being a Christian should be. Paving the road and adding a gate at some arbitrary point that divides the Christians from the non-Christians doesn't make sense.

It makes it easy to have assurance of salvation, but it doesn't work. At least it didn't for me. So I think that we need to stop being so focused on the rules, as uncomfortable as that may be, and jump into a journey.

I don't know where I'll end up, or what I even think about Heaven and Hell. But I'm beginning a journey, and that's good enough for me. It's the best I can do, because I can't just say some prayer and not mean it. That just doesn't work for me.

So I'm permanently seeking.

If this doesn't make total sense, it's because I'm about to fall asleep. Perhaps I'll read it over after my nap.