Pastor's Corner Sep 23 2017

Do we have a religion full of rules? In a way, yes! And in a way, no!

The world has rules about everything. "Never use a screwdriver to hammer a nail." If I ignore this 'rule' I will waste my time and break the screwdriver. If I use my tools only as they were intended, my work will be done well, and the tools remain in good shape. The 'rule' about screwdrivers doesn't come from God, or the State of Virginia, but from wisdom. Wisdom is acquired from life experience. Experience teaches us the proper nature of each thing. The nature of a screwdriver determines how to use it. If a thing's nature is respected, a happy outcome can be anticipated.

Our culture is a little schizophrenic about rules. Sometimes they're accepted without controversy, even in their smallest details. For instance, a rule in tennis says that if the ball lands on a line—if only one bit of fuzz—the ball's in play. Since the nature of the game is a human construct, we accept the rules we've created to fit our creation.

At other times, our culture denies the proper rules when it denies the proper nature of a thing. Our culture says, "A thing is whatever I say it is," which translates into: "A woman is no different than a man," or, "I can change my gender by my choice," or, "Marriage can be between any two whatever," or, "Animals are people too," or, "Abortion is a sacred right." An attempt to impose my will on the nature of the ‘other' is, psychologically speaking, insane. It will get you kicked off the tennis court. Morally speaking it's evil; and theologically speaking, satanic. Satan's "non serviam" is a rejection of God's true nature, and by extension, the natures of his creation. Satan prefers to use his screwdrivers as hammers. Even so, there's no consistency: the "I was born this way" mantra is lip-service that one's nature is important.

If I knew the nature of a thing perfectly, and was able to treat it accordingly, then I would have no need for any external, 3rd party instruction to guide my interaction. If I were able to do this, then all rules become superfluous. This is what heaven is like. Or, can you imagine arriving in heaven just to hear over the PA system: "Be sure to obey all posted signs and placards, and crew members instructions"?! As St. Augustine says, "Love God, and do what you want."

The people in heaven do exactly what they want to.

God gives us rules while we need them. We need them. The rules of God help us treat each person or thing according to their proper nature. This is temporary, only until we learn to live perfectly in accordance with the truth. Let us persevere in the learning.

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