The Teachings of Life

I don’t think the early communities came to do away with rules (or even law for that matter) – we as humans need that type of direction (teaching).

I think faith is about developing a finer committment with those around you and I and with our faith in God (it becoming something meaningful). The teachings seem to safeguard against making mistakes that will only hurt you in the long-run – reaching out to our common sense – asking us to weigh in on our personal actions and responsibility in society.

One needs to remember this all started as a ‘law’ (Torah) for a nation of people – to set them apart from the surrounding ideas in societies. Now law functions to help people fit their behavior into what is acceptable for society. In one sense, one can see the law as helping people to become more humane. At least that’s how I think about it.

The gospel is just a furtherance of that idea for all people – about kingdom ethics. It’s basically the teachings redacted from Jesus own words or one of the disciples. They seem contrary to law but they aren’t…they still seek a personal accountability of the person to ethics – or the spirit of the law (which was good).

The way I see it all is the way some of the Psalms (or Deuteronomy) kind of look at it –

See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.” (Deut 30:15-16)

Leviticus 18:5 “So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD” (also in Nehemiah 9:29)

I see them as speaking about life and living that life to the fullest potential…people may want to focus on the bad aspects of that ‘law’ – but it is what it is – rules to help one focus their lives in a positive direction.

***Comment originally aired on Deacon Blue’s ‘Random Babble’

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5 thoughts on “The Teachings of Life

  1. “I see them as speaking about life and living that life to the fullest potential…people may want to focus on the bad aspects of that ‘law’ – but it is what it is – rules to help one focus their lives in a positive direction.” svs

    I understand the need for laws, or boundaries as I would call them. One of the smartest things Paul said was “Everything was lawful for me but not everything is good.” The laws are guidelines. When we read a law we should think about the consequences of breaking that action. Not all laws are good. I am not that concerned about “taking the Lord’s name in vain” whatever that means, but murder, adultery, and lying all have social repercussions which can damage a community. Those are healthy laws and boundaries to be respected.

    The law not only keeps our neighbors safe from harm, but also keep us safe too.

  2. “bad rules focus us in a bad direction” (Sabio)

    I agree. I guess when I read the bible I see the beauty of what was supposed to be set up – the structure and the role of people in society…I see a law system that tried to make things better (seems to be the intention). Time we get to the NT it’s a basic re-hash of that stuff again in new and more modern language – inter-mingled with Greco-Roman thought (maybe even exile type remnant thought).

    But I can see where Christianity can go all wrong when looking at ‘rules’ and ‘laws’. Fred Phelps would be the prime example of bad rules – but there are many other minor examples across the world in Christendom. My hope is that people will be able to recognize the bad rules for what they are – or at least be open to discussion on the whole thing (highly unlikely but we need to try).

  3. “I am not that concerned about “taking the Lord’s name in vain” whatever that means” (Wolf)

    I think this has some interest to it also. One needs to remember the structure of the day saw humans looking up to God (ie: Sinai experience). If you could take the Lord’s name in ‘vain’ (ie: using it liberally to show God is on your side) – then you can almost re-write anything and slap God’s name on it.

  4. Sabio hit it on the head.

    we run the ethical problem of how best to order life and proceed as a group or individual. how shall we govern? totalitarian or anarchy? shall we let each person do their own thing without concern for the group, or have the group dictate things to the individual? these are the extreme examples, but you’ll find us living in the tension.

    i think the bible lays out some really good concepts on how to live as a people in convenant with others and with a higher power (call it existence or God.. which ever your belief dictates) as well as in autonomy. balance is key!

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