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The Baby and the Wash

I am always amazed at the diverse opinion and the easily aroused passion among those in the Christian faith, particularly when it comes to the Canon of scriptures.

“A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative scripture by a particular religious community. The word “canon” comes from the Greek κανών, meaning “rule” or “measuring stick”.1

Yesterday, I posted a comment from Richard Rohr on Facebook, a representative community that I have carefully selected for its diversity and frankly its politics. No one is safe among my “friends” yet the conversation is amazing! “Representing” on line are those whom I highly respect for the faith journey they have lived out, as well as those highly educated in the faith, and those who teeter on heresy (a loaded word).

Rohr’s comment in the devotional cited below was: “You do realize, I hope, that every time God forgives, God is breaking God’s own rules, and saying relationship with YOU matters more than God being right! I would base my life on that assertion.”2

One has to admit that the idea that God would violate His own rules is quite thought provoking. I assume that was the very intent of this modern day contemplative. The underlying error in those provoked was the thought that the Law that was given was God’s rules. Yet, one only has to engage in the New Testament conversation with Jesus, directed most often at those most skilled in the law, to know that something was awry in their understanding of the “why” behind the “rules.” Not only did they not get the why, they added to the rules!

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ “You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?”3

His point perhaps was Rohr’s, which is more important the rules or the people for whom the rules were provided? We overly guard the text at times and miss the spirit behind it. The baby is the main thing, not the wash!

“So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.…” 4


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