Let the Madness Begin!
March 15, 2016
What is up, my dawgs?
Here’s what’s up in my house: me. At night. With a baby.
March Madness starts this week!! Theo and I will be watching the nonstop upsets of this beautiful tournament starting on Thursday. He can’t wait.
This weekend we are going out to Vancouver Island to visit Andrew’s sister and her family and enjoy the warm weather. I’m scared to travel with Theo — he’s older now and antsy and bigger and louder. At least he’s not on the move yet. Also, how does a tiny baby have so much stuff? I now have to drag around strollers and car seats and sleepsacks and tiny socks and wipes and thousands of pacifiers. Babies are high maintenance.
How is everyone feeling about Ben the Bachelor’s choice? I feel good about it. Know what I did not feel good about? Jo Jo’s final rose dress color. The cut was amazing, but the color was Peptorific.
OK, here’s a warning. I have a rant coming. I just want to warn you, because it’s kind of long and boring. But I’ll intersperse it with pictures of my baby, so maybe that will help? Probs not. It’s pretty boring.
Over on the Facebooks lately, you know the best place for thoughtful political and theological discussions, I’ve noticed a few statements that I find interesting. I’ve seen, in a few different discussions about different things, people saying that the best way to be a Christian is to focus solely on what Jesus said and either ignore, throw out or redefine the Old Testament. So, for example, to be a Christian one must love God and love your neighbor because that’s what Jesus said are the most important commandments. Or Christians would be better off focusing on just the New Testament (or even just Jesus’ words) and getting rid of the Old Testament altogether. I have a couple of thoughts. (Surprised?) Here they are (after this pic of Theo):
Now, as we all know, I love me some Shema. Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor — the law is summed up in these commandments. Love it. However, I do not believe that Jesus was saying that those commands were the only important ones or that the rest of the Scriptures were not important. (Keep in mind that the Scriptures at this time were solely the Old Testament, and solely what Jesus draws on in His teachings, prayer life, synagogue time, etc.) Jesus, first of all, is weighing in on an argument that was going on around Him — was the second greatest commandment to love your neighbor or to observe the Sabbath? Jesus says, love your neighbor. In saying this, He is affirming that as His followers thought about, interpreted and obeyed every aspect of God’s law, they should do it through that filter. Not ignore it or condemn it or fight against it. In the Jewish culture Jesus was a part of, if He had gone around not following the law or obeying God’s instructions in the Old Testament, no one would have listened to Him for more than a second.
Speaking of culture, I think that’s where a lot of misunderstanding comes in. The Old Testament is hard for us to grapple with. There’s a lot that seems harsh and weird and mean. There are really difficult things to understand in the Old Testament. However, just because we don’t understand something doesn’t mean we should ignore it or call it irrelevant. It may be easier to dismiss something that is confusing, but that might just make us lazy. There’s actually a lot that can be explained and understood when we look into the culture of the time — I have been amazed by the compassion, evangelism, love and purpose in the Old Testament as I began to understand it better. (This is not to say that it’s still not hard or confusing sometimes!)
This focusing solely on what Jesus said as a way to live out Christianity is nothing new. Marcion, a heretic in early Christianity, believed the same thing. He liked Jesus but disliked Yahweh in the Old Testament, and thought they were not compatible. So, he rejected the Old Testament, found one of the Gospels that he liked and patched in a few of Paul’s letters (all with his editing, of course). This, he said, was the acceptable way to be a Christian — by cutting and pasting and making the Bible fit what you want to believe about God.
What makes me sad about this resurgence of Marcionism is that it takes so much away from the big story God is telling about Himself all throughout Scripture. The New Testament doesn’t mean much without the Old. The Old Testament needs the New to bring about its full meaning. There are not two different Gods in these Scriptures — there’s a God full of compassion and justice in the Old and New Testaments. There are reasons for the things God does in the Old Testament and there are ways of understanding what Jesus said or didn’t say in the New. This big story is about God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is all necessary to understand Him, praise Him and trust Him. The Scripture gives us a beautiful story that leads to repentance and salvation. It compels us to worship this great, mysterious, loving, powerful, just God who fully revealed Himself in Jesus. We need to understand, believe, and follow all of it. (I know there are lots of details and questions and and nitpicking about what that looks like or how we do it or what we do or don’t still practice, etc. Maybe I will do an OT series about some of those difficulties and questions someday soon. Maybe I can call it, “OT with the OT.” (I’m in a March Madness mood.)
OK, rant done.
Sorry this post wasn’t very funny or filled with my usual fascinating updates on our flu symptoms. (Although, I got some new xylitol (a sugar substitute) and after eating some last night I can tell you that it did not agree with my stomach.) There, now you have an update on my episodes, so you may go in peace.