Rule Books

I am not a rule follower by nature.  There are those who would see this as a character flaw that needs correction.  I on the other hand have always viewed this particular trait as a way to challenge the status quo.   After all Jesus wasn’t much of a rule follower himself.  He spoke with a Samaritan woman, breaking two laws – 1) talking to a woman in public and 2) associating with a Samaritan.  He broke the Sabbath rules when he cured a man with withered hands, a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years, and a man who had been ill for 38 years.  Just read the gospel stories, Jesus seemed to have a loose and flexible arrangement with the Old Testament laws. What drives our desire to turn Scripture into a rule book?  Turning the Bible into a rule book only gives us the illusion that leading a good Christian life is a simple undertaking and that the Christian world exits in a black and white universe.  Quite frankly I don’t know why God didn’t hand out a clear-cut rule book.  The truth is that Scripture at its best helps us to function in the grey.

From what I can tell the major problem with the grey is that it leaves very little room for “I am right and you are wrong.”  If anything Scripture calls us to unity regardless of our differences.  This isn’t always easy or simple.  Many in the Christian community have been taught that difference equals sin.  When someone has a different political or social position than us the temptation is to label the other as a sinner.  Maybe it is time to let difference just be difference even when that difference seems to go against our particular understanding of Scripture.