Thursday, May 12, 2011

#132 / Not As The Scribes

I went to theological seminary after law school, and so I have done a fair share of Bible study.

I do recommend reading the Bible, and I do it myself, though my readings lead me, sometimes, to what a regular churchgoer might think are iconoclastic conclusions.

Matthew 7, contains some of the most famous of Jesus' sayings, including his admonition, "whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

This saying is also called the "categorical imperative," and the Golden Rule. References to the law and the prophets aside, it's a practical way to think about how we should conduct ourselves in the world, and it's a radical requirement if applied literally. In the realm of politics, particularly international politics, it leads to the program best stated by A.J. Muste: "There is no way to peace, peace is the way."

The phrase from Matthew 7 that I find myself thinking about most often, though, is probably the final line: "When Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

So often, we attempt to understand the "reality" of our existence by studying the facts we find, the written down and inscribed, and received wisdom of the age (whatever that wisdom currently is). In fact, we do pursue the truth of the scribes, the pollsters and the pundits. But we are the "authors" of the reality we most immediately inhabit. Therefore, we create the world ourselves, and we need to speak with authority as we do so, and not as the scribes.

In that way - and only in that way - can we do something truly new, by assuming to ourselves the authority of creation in our human world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!