The First Failure
We don’t like rules. Not surprising, given we’re a nation of protesters – we were basically founded on a protest against taxes, and we’ve been protesting ever since. This desire for freedom, for a life of our own making, is deeply human. Today, I want to talk about rules, about our natural reluctance to embrace them and – surprisingly – I want to suggest that a life free from rules, from constriction, isn’t actually the best life.
You already know this if you’re a sports fan. Sports fans love rules because they make the sports we love possible. Of course we’ll get mad about a bad call – but we’re mad that it’s a bad call… not that it’s a call. We understand that for the game to make sense, we have to have order.
For the sport to function, for the players to thrive, we need rules.
If there’s one thing religion is famous for, it’s having rules. That’s not only a perception of people outside Church. I grew up in Church and I know plenty of religious people who make religion all about the rules. It would be sort of funny if it weren’t so sad. They think the rules of religion are basically not to have any fun. Let the sinners have the drugs, sex and rock’n’roll… for now. They’re content to follow the rules and be miserable because they’re sure they’ll go to Heaven when they die and all those partying sinners will have much less fun in Hell.
It’s a horrible perspective – one that assumes a life with God is fundamentally joyless and boring, that life with God isn’t really life. If we’re being honest, it’s hard to blame people who don’t want anything to do with that sort of religion.
When your understanding of God is joyless and lifeless, your perspective needs an overhaul.