Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not the way it's supposed to be

The most-quoted movie in recent history when illustrating original sin...

In the 1991 film Grand Canyon, an immigration attorney breaks out of a traffic jam and tries to drive around it. He doesn’t know where he’s going and he’s alarmed to note that each street seems darker and more deserted than the last. Then, a nightmare. His fancy sports car stalls. He manages to call for a tow truck, but before it arrives, five local toughs surround his car and threaten him. Just in time, the tow truck shows up and its driver—an earnest, genial man—begins to hook up to the sports car. The toughs protest: the driver is interrupting their meal. So the driver takes the group leader aside and gives him a five-sentence introduction to sin:

Man, the world ain’t s’pposed to work like this. Maybe you don’t know that, but this ain’t the way it’s s’pposed to be. I’m s’pposed to be able to do my job without askin’ you if I can. And that dude is s’pposed to be able to wait with his car without you rippin’ him off. Everything’s s’pposed to be different than what it is here.

The driver’s summary of the human predicament is just about perfect.

The Law of God

Those who attack Christianity often use the Leviticus strategy, listing some of the harsh and (to our modern perception) strange laws listed there. What they assume by so doing is that every biblical command is a universal law. The Law of God can be divided as such: Moral Law, Civil and Ceremonial Law, and Laws governing the occupation of Palestine. There are also practices alluded to such as primogeniture, the giving of the first-born a double inheritance (since he will take care of the extended, agrarian family). What a New Testament perspective takes away from this is the moral obligations to love God and one’s neighbor, embodied in the Ten Commandments. Besides those, we have principles of conduct, especially in the Book of Proverbs that help us live wisely. What is most important to know is that we do not live under the Law as a means of salvation. No one could meet the standard. Rather (and just as in the Old Covenant), we come to God through sacrifice. Atonement must be made, since God does not overlook our sin. Every sin must be paid for—and was—upon the Cross. When we receive pardon, we desire to live lawfully, not as a way to gain Heaven, but because we’re citizens of the place, and our lives have been transformed by God’s grace.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

To the terrorist

You who would hold the sky captive, The sea prisoner, The land in chains… You who hide in caves, Retreat to the wilderness, Disappear behind false names and forged papers… You who smuggle guns and arms, Hide rockets in cities and bombs in homes, Build weapons against the innocent and the bystander… You whose designs are destruction, Whose plans are fear, Whose joy is hate… You who harden your hearts And wrap yourselves in death… What evil has robbed you of your love, Your compassion, Your goodness, Your humanity? What lies have invaded your minds So that you choose to die in order to kill? We who love our lives and liberty Stand firm and strong against terror. We will defend our nation and our people. We will protect our land and our homes. And we pray for you to find hope and comfort In lives of peace. (Anonymous)