There is a reason for rules. In a world filled with hazards and threats, they define the approved course. They show the way that is safe. They mark the path we can trust.(Edward Fudge's complete article below)
|Grounded Costa Concordia|
I can imagine that under some specific factors there are even maritime rules that any boat Captain ,who does his work like art rather than in an unthoughtful rote manner, may need to vary from the general rule in order to save his boat and passengers. In such a case of varying from the normal rule it would only be done with a fully conscious awareness of the general rules, much practice at following them and the seriousness of taking an action that runs counter to those rules. (The Captain of the Costa Concordia was apparently not such a Captain in any of these ways. He apparently ignored the rules and flaunted his careless drunken behavior. That is not what I am describing. This is an example of a total
perversion of Following the Spirit.)
|Moses And Ten Commandments On Stone|
* So it must necessarily be with every category of highly conscious and competent levels of human living and working. Those who are welded to taking the general rules as the final guide for the moral life will be unable to make those essential life and death decisions where a path other than the consensus and conventional wisdom is required. Individual life is still often uncharted waters. Our human lives are every bit that unique. This in fact is the very difference implied in the 'Will of God' being imaged as a human incarnation of God. The Highest moral law is no longer words on stone or a page but requires a living, ever deciding consciousness of what is the 'more excellent' way rather than 'safely' always following the general rule.
Paul labors to make that very point regarding 'law' in numerous ways. That is not just the Hebrew Torah he speaks of as adherence to the 'letter kills' compared to that of the living and always adjusting Spirit being the source of 'life.' As you say, the actual Christ story teaches that the 'rules' are no longer written ones but ones that are written in the life of the incarnated one Jesus. This implies that incarnation began in Jesus and continues in us all. This surely is the meaning of Jesus' saying that,' the Kingdom of God is within you.' and the mind boggling , ' And you are gods.' This is the humble confidence that Jesus was teaching humans to have along with the courage to seek and follow the ultimate 'rules' within our own hearts as we live day by day, moment by moment.
Again, variations from rules and laws developed legitimately by sincere human consensus or past revelations, including morality ones, should never be ignored, or undervalued but neither can they ever be considered the final unique Will of God in any specific human situation. Every moment of life is unique and requires a fresh and present Word of the Spirit if we humans are to come into any greater harmony than we have yet found with the actual living Will of God on earth. This is precisely what the "Living Spirit of Christ' promises and provides without ever an exception of misguidance when it is relied on(trusted) as the primary moral guide and not second to any pre-written rules. How can you speak of what it means for a Christian to truly 'follow the rules' without talking about this kind of balance and feel you are telling the whole story? The moral life as describe by Jesus can never feel like a 'safe way' for Following the Spirit is an experience of 'trusting risk', though in the long run it surely must be the superior thus idealistically the 'safer' way. Another way that Following the Spirit is not the conventional 'safer way' is that when a Spirit following person chooses to not follow the public rule, whether it be a rule of good physical health, civil code or a moral rule s/he must be willing to accept the human judgment and punishment that is likely to come. Here we find examples of 'civil disobedience' which have been central to improving political conditions in cultures world wide.
|An Oldest Manuscript Of A 'Letter' Of Paul|
|Dove- Symbol Of The Living Holy Spirit|
* The reader may also want to read blog post 'Responsible Human Freedom' http://jhibbett.blogspot.com/2011/11/responsible-human-freedom-september-13.html
On Sun, 22 Jan 2012 03:59:00 -0500 "Edward Fudge" <email@example.com> writes:
Capt. Francesco Schettino was more than two miles off course when the 114,500-ton Costa Concordia hit a reef this January 2012. The impact sent more than 4,000 passengers on the luxury cruise ship into a panic. It sent a still-unknown number of them to their cold and lonely deaths. There is a reason for rules. In a world filled with hazards and threats, they define the approved course. They show the way that is safe. They mark the path we can trust.
Our confused society has given rules a bad rap. Torah, the Hebrew word for "law," means "instruction"--always given, by the way, for the recipients' well-being (Deut. 6:24). The author of Psalm 119 understood that, and wrote its 176 verses as an acrostic tribute to God's commands. The Psalm is divided into sections that move through the entire Hebrew alphabet. Within each section, every line begins with the same alphabet character. The longest chapter in the Bible celebrates God's law--yet it is anything but legalistic.
This positive way of thinking about God's commands brings a new appreciation for them, and for the God who provides us a lighted path through life's dark and dangerous trails (Psalm 119:105). Just as Torah, the general word for "law," brings to mind a picture of God's road-markers, so the root of the most common Hebrew word for "sin" suggests a deviation from the proper path. Straying is bad. Intentionally going off course is worse. Captain Schettino admits that he was off course intentionally.
The Jews were given God's Torah, but God has given us something better than that. He embodied his will in a person. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. "I am the way," said Jesus--the road, the path, the course (John 14:6). We can say to Jesus every day, "I am safe when by thy side." In that confidence, let us pray: "Savior, lead me lest I stray . . ."