Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned

As the formula goes, forgive me, for I have sinned.

I posted a comment on a controversial subject on Facebook.

“Let’s have a good, rational, reasonable discussion on Facebook…” said no one, ever.

But it reminded me of a thought I have pondered too long.

There are two ways of reading the Bible (or many other types of books):

  1. Look for phrases or sentences I agree with, compile a list, measure other people by how much they uphold that list;
  2. Look for the broad view of meaning of the whole and apply the core teachings.

Practitioners of 1 are discussed in the gospels. They are even named. Pharisees. They are not the heroes of the gospels. They are the bad guys. In the end, they killed Jesus.

The practitioner of 2 had his story also told in the gospels. He was named. It was Jesus. In the end he won by losing. He returned from the execution. His followers grew so numerous that they took over the Roman Empire 300 years later.

The Pharisees? Nothing is heard of them after 70 AD (or CE depending upon your politics).

Jesus left one measure by which we know if we have the correct interpretation of scripture. I follow this line of reasoning. “Love one another as I have loved you,” he said. “By this everyone will know that you are my followers.”

There was a discussion recently about who has authority over whom—in a contemporary church and in a family. One writer missed an important sentence in the story of the last days of Jesus’ life. The story where he talked about love. He also said, “All authority has been given to me…” By all, it’s pretty obvious he means, well, all. There is none left over for me. None for you.

Roman and Judaic social structures were all about authority. Defining who had authority over whom to the minute degree. Jesus turned that all upside down when he washed his friends’ feet in the upper room. And he said that he had all authority. Love one another.

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