I was thinking back to a time when I couldn’t stop making out.
Like, I had a new girlfriend and whenever we were together our lips and bodies crashed into each other like slobbery black holes.
And we found it very hard to stop at a place where we didn’t feel guilty afterwards. We were in danger of falling into the very easy rut of spending all our time using each others’ bodies for kicks.
So, we reluctantly set up some rules. Basically on a mental map of our bodies we agreed on the off-limit acre-age, and we agreed that we’re not going to find ourselves near any soft, broad surfaces when no one else was around.
And I realized we were setting RULES. Just like religion has a tendency to do, and which we abhor it for. But it wasn’t like God had drawn certain lines on our bodies that, if we crossed them, would burst into sin. It's not like God has this big game of operation that will buzz when we cross a boundary.
These rules were made BY us, to help us keep tabs on our hearts, and keep ourselves from messing stuff up. We realized that we had the power to sour a very good thing if we didn’t take care of it. And our own rules, that we set up, would help us prevent that.
Rules were our own invented way to help us be what our hearts really wanted to be for God.
So, it started to become clearer to me that rules made by church may not be so bad. We tend to think the church’s dictates are coming to us as God’s dictates, but maybe not all of them are. Maybe church has the cumulative wisdom of a community, including the generations that have been doing this longer than me. And the church as a wise body does its best to set up a system to help all of its members thrive the most– the community comes up with the best practices in many areas of life which aren't explicitly stated in the Bible.
So, maybe next time I find myself in a situation where I’m pushing against certain general rules about tithing, or dating, how to treat a homeless person, or just making out, and I begin to abhor religion for assaulting my conscience with a set of rules, or start to think God is just a big stupid killjoy, I should instead remember I am not in this alone, this is not all just for me, and I am part of a cloud of witnesses that have ridden this rodeo many times before, and know the ropes better than me.
Raw Spoon, 3-24-16