Are you a rule maker or a rule breaker?
When I was a teenager, rules were a big deal. Especially in the youth group. My group of friends were usually aware of the rules we were following and the ones we were breaking at any given moment.
A few of the big ones: no short shorts, no rated R movies, and listening to Madonna would be frowned upon, as would two piece bathing suits. And that’s just for starters.
These things became a big deal to me when I was 14, 15, & 16 year old (by 17 I stopped caring). It was as if you could judge someone’s entire character based on whether or not they came to youth group wearing short shorts or a pair of Lee jeans.
I’m sure the rules have evolved since then. I mean come on, Material Girl is probably the theme song for a sermon series in a youth group somewhere.
In every culture, there are worldly things that begin infiltrating the church. Might have to do with the fact the Jesus welcomes us as sinners first. But none the less, the already discipled Christians begin to squirm about the negative influence these “sinners” could potentially have on others. The squirms turn in to concerns and the concerns give way to new rules. Rules that make church people feel good, feel protected against the world.
But just like the rules in churches today are probably much different than the rules when I was a teenager, I’m sure the rules 50 years ago were drastically different too. As were the rules 500 years ago. I wonder what kids got in trouble for during Martin Luther’s day or John Calvin’s for that matter.
Think about what was going on in the Church when Jesus stepped onto the scene. Wasn’t the Church the one who had a problem with Jesus? And why?! Because He wasn’t following the rules!
The problem with rules is they separate “us” from “them”, and make “us” feel good while “them” feels bad.
I often wonder how Jesus would respond if he were to step onto our scene.
How would he embrace the culture we live in?
How would He respond to the rules we (the Church) have created?
Maybe the same way He did when He was here when asked what the most important rule was.
” ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40