Dangerous Lines

Ever notice how some people delight in walking up to “the line,” examining its clarity and stepping over it? I’ve never given it much thought. Probably because I’m always looking for the next line to cross. That’s not something to boast in. I don’t think. Certainly, I’ve disappointed myself, my parents (and even my wife) on too many occasions because of my cheerful inclination to challenge the status quo. It’s seems that some people have a particular passion for this behavior. I suppose that some of us line chasers simply lack the moral compass that would point us in a more favorable direction. But for others (I hope to include myself in this category) it’s more of a desire to know why–why is that line placed in that location–instead of over there? Does it help me? Does it help someone else? Is it necessary? Does the line drawer doubt my ability to make an informed and responsible decision?–and then judge for ourselves if that line is worthy of our submissive obedience.

If you find this disregard for the line to be morally reprehensible or contemptuous, then you may belong to those who equally as cheerfully locate the line and set up a holy commune at least one mile away from it. For us chasers, the commune is fine–albeit a little strange, but fine nonetheless. We do seem to take exception when the commune elects a line sheriff and charges him or her with the responsibility of guarding that one mile radius like it’s a demilitarized zone that leads to very gates of hell.

Believe it or not, I have actually spent the past few hours contemplating this dichotomy. I’ve been considering the merits of each view and critically examining my own place in the discussion. On some points I have determined my attitude to be out of bounds and in need of repentance. On other points, I have become annoyed, if not upset, with some of the sheriffs that I know. One in particular has my attention at this moment.

A congregation with which I have become acquainted believes strongly that their assembly ought not worship with musical instruments. Good for them. While I do not share in their method or rationale for arriving at that conclusion, I nonetheless concur. So in that way, we have both identified the line, agreed that it ought to be there and that we all should give it due respect and attention. However, this congregation has nominated for themselves a few sheriffs that have determined to move their camp back about two miles on the subject. In doing so they have turned their property into the reincarnation of Israel’s Holy Temple and decreed that no musical instrument or recording of a musical instrument being played shall ever be brought into the building regardless of the occasion (including a wedding). Make that five miles back.

And you wonder why some of us ask why?

What is the point of this? I have learned the hard way not to make assumptions. That being said, it may be that their sheriffs are: ignorant of the Holy Scriptures, power hungry and desire to flex their muscles ¬†or prefer their traditions over the desires of people. Maybe it’s none of those or some combination of all three. I don’t know. I’m not sure if it even matters?

So what? That’s their church and their choice. Agreed.

It’s just so very disappointing that they have decided to condemn anyone who has violated their five mile wide demilitarized zone. I just want to make sure that instead of drawing lines, I’m spending my time looking for the ones that the Holy Spirit has already marked.

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