As a teen I was very distant from the faith of my father. I thought all Christians were boring, joyless and lifeless. I hated church music and was bored with every aspect of church. Nothing about Christianity reached my soul. After a week of camp, I came back home ready to give my faith a very serious try. I went to a youth event at my little Baptist church. I took a bible along with me. I had received this bible at camp and I actually enjoyed reading the bible. However it was a Living Bible, a new thing at that time. I did not know that certain Christians disliked the very bible I loved to read. At the youth rally an unknown man reached over my shoulder and grabbed my bible and told me that this was an awful book and stole my living Bible. I was shocked and angry and I was very convinced that all Christians were idiots!
I still hate all forms of legalism! The rules were merely a way for one Christian to hate other Christian and still get approval from God. I have seen rules over music, clothes, translations of bibles, dresses, wearing ties to church, hair length, wire-rim glasses(because John Lennon wore them so we canít) etc.
I love the writings of Brennan Manning and this section by him sums up my thoughts. ďThis is the way of Pharisees. They follow the Law flawlessly in order to provoke Godís love. Where necessary, they rewrite the Law to emphasize things they werenít planning to do anyway. No Dancing Allowed; No Smoking; No Drinking. Or things they prefer: Commitment to Church Programs Equals Commitment to God; Voting (Write Your Political Affiliation Here) Is What Jesus Would Do. Their image of God locks them into a theology of working in exchange for approval from on high. If God is the meticulous bookkeeper, eager to find fault with anybody and everybody, the Pharisee must pursue a lifestyle that minimizes mistakes. Then on Judgment Day, he can present God with a perfect slate and God will be bound to accept it. What an impossible burden! The ordeal of making oneself presentable to a distant, perfectionist God is exhausting.Ē
Please e-mail me at Tim@soulrehab.org I want to collect a collection of the most crazy, legalistic rules every given by man for other men.