notty religion | Romans 13.8-10
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Romans 13:8-10 | ESV
Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don’t sleep with another person’s spouse, don’t take someone’s life, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love. Romans 13:8-10 | MSG
Belonging to the Church of Christ – and therefore, being a Christian – mostly meant being really good at not doing things. Not drinking, obviously, not being snarky and sarcastic, not having sex outside of marriage, not smoking, not dancing, not swearing, not dating people outside the church, and, of course, perhaps most important of all, no mixed bathing. The better you were at not doing these things, the better Christian you were. It did not seem to me, even back then, that God’s grace or the radical love of Jesus is what united people in the Church of Christ; it was their ability to be good. Or at least their ability to appear to be good. And not everyone can pull that off. ~ Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix
How we do collect the nots.
How we tie ourselves and everyone else up in them.
How we define ourselves by them.
How we include and exclude each other on the basis of all our assembled, quantified, defined, nots.
Nadia’s observation from her upbringing in the Church of Christ is probably not too far afield from that of any of us with a religious upbringing – or of the perception of religion from the rest of us who grew up without one.
Religion majors in the minors.
Subtraction is our primary religious/irreligious/human operation – with division as a close runner-up.
Jesus in his Creed would carry us over to a new world of addition, and on its heels, multiplication.
All of our nots are absorbed, funneled, channeled into a new equation yielding an ever expanding, mind blowing sum total of love.
Love God, Love Others isn’t mere platitude or over-simplification by those who don’t want to think or who are soft on morality; it is the game-changing operation by which all the rules we can think of are not changed, but absorbed, transformed, morphed into a divinely expanding universe of Yes, and…
What are the primary “nots” of religion for you? How would Love divinely empower you today to say and be Yes in life-giving ways?
Abba, make my life a loud Yes and Amen of Love that none can miss and all around me will be touched and impacted by. Let the loud Yes of Jesus reverberate through my life today – and bring your kingdom through it. Through Christ.