I always say I am very much a rule follower. I think rules are in place for a reason. I think they show respect for others and for a group. I think they often represent common courtesy. Some of our best rules we learned in preschool or kindergarten, and they remain good reminders for adults. Listen carefully. Respect others. Play safely. Use kind words.
But, sometimes I get frustrated when the rules just don't make any sense. I don't like when rules apply to one person but not another. I don't like when leaders don't have rules but expect others to follow "what they say not what they do." I don't like when it has "just always been done this way." I recently read an article called "Dumb Rules are Frustrating Your Best People." That makes sense to me - even as a rule follower.
But fair is a place where they sell cotton candy, as the phrase goes. And what I have learned is that people pick the rules they like best for themselves, and often apply different rules to others. Whether it is personal, professional, parenting, or political, it happens - and it deserves our attention.
Unfortunately, cherry picking the rules also often applies to the Bible. So much time and attention can be focused on one or two random verses, without knowing the wider context of a passage, the spin of a particular translation, or the historical understanding. The Bible wasn't made for just pretty quotes to be printed on bookmarks. Careful Dear Reader - you may want to look up the whole chapter - or better yet - the whole book.
Coming September 18, I invite you to join me for one Sunday morning for a mini-retreat to take a look at a whole lot of biblical rules. In particular, let's dive not just into the more familiar 10 commandments, but what scholars consider The 613. There are 613 estimated commandments in the Hebrew Bible, which also means these were the rules that Jesus and his followers were expected to know. It is so insightful to see which ones people ignore today, and which ones they will argue about all day long. We have a responsibility to take a good hard look.
You're invited to a safe, fun space to discover The 613. Come have some laughs and maybe some tears, along with a good dose of humility, as we explore a necessary part of our faith. I'd love to have you as part of this perspective giving conversation.