Permissions and Prohibitions
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How do you feel about rules?
It might surprise you to learn that I love rules. (I know, I know… hear me out.)
When I was a kid, teachers gave out those “follow the instructions” worksheets – there’d be a list of 10 instructions where number 1 would say something like, “Draw a sun”, so you’d drop down to the space at the bottom and draw a sun. But when you got to number six, it would say, “Don’t do number 1. Draw a moon instead.”
Which was supposed to teach you to read all the instructions first or whatever.
So anyway, rules.
I have developed something of a personal brand for not being a rule-follower (pastor with tattoos and all). But honestly – and maybe this has to do with growing up – I really appreciate rules.
I love board games. Like love them. And you can’t play games without rules. Even tag has rules. Otherwise it’s just running. Some of my favorite games have a pretty complex rule set. And I didn’t understand how the game worked, let alone why it was fun, until I understood all the rules.
I love to cook. When I try a new recipe, I always stick closely to the rules. Because the rules provide structure. They help me understand how the final product – a complex combination of chemical reactions and complementary flavors – comes together.
Learning the rules actually enables us to understand the big picture. They help us achieve the end goal.
Religion is sort of infamous for rules. Plenty of people reduce religion to a list of rules – dos and don’ts that measure how good we are.
But what if we’re missing the purpose of God’s instructions?