Friday, June 22, 2012

warnings and grace are so much better.....

Sweet round dreams. Of nothing that I can recall. And a new window screen. That is good too. Small mercies.

The long drive yesterday --to Rapid for his myesthenia doctor --was punctuated by two hitch hikers we picked up --a mother and her young man son. Turned out they were trying to get to Mobridge. Daughter having a baby. Their car had broken down. When we picked them, they were still about 140 miles from Mobridge --walking.

Of course, as soon as we entered the Reservation, and had entered a long stretch between the edge and the first town, a distance of about 25 miles, a cop going the opposite direction turned in his tracks and put his lights on.

Dang. I didn't know their radar systems worked in that direction....

So, I pulled over and waited... my second speeding ticket in my life....  Dang. He came up behind the window just like ya see on tv... him not knowing who or what was in the car... and I recognized him immediately --'hey,' I said. 'Didn't I baptize your son? Why haven't you been to church?'

And he blushed seven shades of crimson....

'I work weekends,' he said, and began the litany of excuses. Oh-hunh, I said.... and we shook hands. I didn't mean to get the upper hand so easily.... But he's young....

'How fast was I going?' I asked, knowing now that all the spirits in the area had taken all my guilty feelings and dumped them on him.

'73' he said.'The speed limit is 75 on the freeway only --back here, it's 65.'

'That's too fast,' I said.

'I'll give you a warning,' he said....

'What's that mean?'

'No fine, no court --just a warning,' he said.

Then, the talk inside the car ensued --the jurisdiction of each law enforcement agency --how one agency can stop us white folk, but not Natives --and other agencies can stop Natives, but not us.... It's historical and convoluted... and crazy.

What's really screwy is that I had been going under the speed limit all day... our new car has a little indicator with a gauge that tell you what your miles per gallon consumption is at the moment and for the entire trip. I'm trying to pop it up over 27 mpg and keep it there, which means going slowly for the most part --well, by slowly I mean under 65mph.... Once we picked up the hitch hikers, I wanted to get back to Eagle Butte before the sun went down so that they could continue their journey in day light.

See... it's their fault. (I say, laughing at myself, feeling like Eve caught with apple in my hand.)
Sigh....

There should only be one lawful jurisdiction on the Reservation... we should all be under the same law....

At prayer this morning (beginning at Romans 2:25)
Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.  
So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?  
Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 
For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical.  
Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart – it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.
Oh man... Paul had to really wring his hands and pace a lot and pull his beard to come up with those convolutions....

Grace --warnings and grace are so much better.... Law gets to be too much....

Amen.

7 comments:

susan s. said...

Snakes then Apples!

I guess Paul was either trying to get it worked out for himself or wanted to make sure everyone else understood. . . thus, confusion reigns., at least for me! :-)

Thanks, Margaret.

it's margaret said...

susan s. --that primal stoneage era Genesis stuff just sometimes still rings true, heh?!!!

susan s. said...

Yes, even if I don't think it's meant the way most people take it, with it being all Eve's fault, it still rings.

Small Farmer in The City said...

The actual responses to Paul's rhetorical flourishes are as follows:

"...but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision." No, it simply means you've sinned and have to make it right with God and your fellow man - it has no impact on your covenant status within Judaism.

"So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?" No. In Torah the commandments are only obligatory upon Jews...taking up Torah if you are a non-Jew is laudable but does not qualify you as a Jew.

Finally, "Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart – it is spiritual and not literal." No, Paul is consistently wrong and had he been preaching thus among Jews he would have been considered either a fool or a heretic - which is in fact the reception he often received.

And for the record, Margaret, God's chesed, what we Christians call grace and Jews call lovingkindness, the purpose of Torah was not to be LAW but to be halacha - literally The Way to Go (With God)....

Paul is at the heart of much that is wrong with the religion ABOUT Jesus as it misinforms folks of the religion OF Jesus...in my opinion...

it's margaret said...

Small Farmer in The City.... hmmmmmmmm.

I would write very different 'actual' responses to Paul's metaphorical descriptions of Law and lawlessness... and his pointing to Jesus as the Way, the Life, the Truth.

Plainly put, Torah is for my older sisters and brothers of Abraham. Torah is not for me. I am a child of God outside of the bounds Torah. I am an Outlaw. Thanks be to God. And there is nothing I can do to change that. Thanks be to God. Mostly because I trust Jesus....

And, I think I will stand with Paul in this. Yes, as a fool and a heretic. Thanks be to God. The Way of the Cross is seen as a fool's way... and because God's Covenant with the Jews is just and only that...

For we Christians, there is a New Covenant, a new relationship with God --the Kingdom is upon us right now in flesh and blood right here in this world. A Christian world-view is to be found in the Beatitudes. Our one commandment is to love one another as Christ loves us.

So, Yes. When you break the Law, circumcision become uncircumcision. And, Yes. For those who wish to keep the law and remain uncircumcised, that is as good as circumcision. And, Yes. If we are to talk about the cutting of flesh, we lose the essence of what Paul is actually talking about --in the same way the psalmist says that God does not want offerings of bulls and blood but instead wants a contrite heart --Paul is saying what God wants is not circumcision of the flesh, but a cutting to the quick of the heart. Not literally. But really and truly.

I am not interested in the religion ABOUT Jesus nor the religion OF Jesus. You will notice a three colorful boxes in the right column further down this page. The third one, the pink and lavender one reads "Blessed be God for Jesus who frees us from religion."

I believe that. Call me a heretic and a fool. I will be in good company. With Paul. Who got the same attention Our Lord received for many of the same reasons --politics and power and speaking truth to both....

Besides, Paul is a perfect ass in some things --but he totally rocks in most things, and in particular he is a rock star in my book when it comes to Grace. Which is NOT lovingkindness nor halacha, but IS the way Jesus crouched and drew a line in the sand when he saved those who wanted to stone a woman... saved them from the Law... set them free.... And we've always thought it was a story about saving the woman.... nope...

See... so there you are. Not my opinion... just the ground of my faith and well beingness. My forgiven-ness. Thanks be to God.

Small Farmer in The City said...

Well, that's an interesting perspective, Margaret...course it begs the question if Christians are outside Torah why the heck do they bash one another for upholding/failing to uphold what they think Torah says on a variety of issues?

And for that matter when folks say that Christians are obligated only to the moral commandments of the OT even if the ritual and ceremonial ordinances are no long binding they show astounding ignorance of Torah - ALL the commandments are moral and ethical....


And further, religion as you no doubt know comes from the Latin religare - that which one is bound to, so I believe Christians are every bit as religious as anyone else...

And while I get the Johanine Christology of Love one another as I have loved you, it seems a more impossible law than most of what is in Torah - at least based on the way most folks generally go about it...

I'm not saying you are wrong, Margaret, I'm saying that Paul trashing Torah to put the Jewish followers of Christ in their place is not the same as Jesus calling hypocritical scribes and Pharisees to account because of their failure to live Torah inasmuch as Jesus believed they could - else why call them to account?


Sorry for disturbing the peace...smile

it's margaret said...

You are not disturbing the peace Small Farmer in the City.

I do not understand why Christians bash each other with purity codes and the like. You won't see it around here. And I call it out every chance I get.

And, yes, all 613 of the commandments are moral and ethical. We are not bound by any of them.

Many Christians are religious. I strive very much not to be. That does not mean I ditch ceremony. That does not mean I am not bound to love. Let's just say it's not about codification and rigidity.

And, indeed. Love is a far more difficult task than the Law. You are right. And when done well, always leads to the cross. Always. As Christians, we are called to walk the way of the cross. And we will stumble and fall. And fail. And that's why we need each other, and why we need to gather to remember and share food for the journey.

Paul didn't trash Torah to put Christians in their place. Paul believed that Torah had been fulfilled, finished, perfected, completed --and we were free from it --a contract/covenant that had been paid off.

Jesus called many on the carpet --especially the disciples. And he wasn't calling the scribes, pharisees and sadducees down for their failure to live Torah inasmuch as he called them down for being blind to love, and sticking to the rules instead of following love.

So, Small Farmer, may I ask --are you a Christian, a Jew for Jesus? Do you follow Torah? I am trying to ask that as politely as I can over the intertubes. I am still not sure what the root of this conversation is!

If I were to 'label' myself, it would probably be something like a joyful radical incarnationalist in love with Jesus and all the poor and out cast in our society, who truly believes the Kingdom is already upon us, and one who has already experienced Resurrection --in this flesh.... just sayin'.