Catacomb Resident Blog

Principles over People

12 June 2022

If you become acquainted with the Person of God, the facts no longer matter much. Viewed from His throne room, human past or present is nothing more than the background against which His glory is played out. What matters is your Covenant commitment to Him.

It took him a while, but Abraham eventually understood this. He gained a closeness to the God who called him, a closeness that was totally outside of the customary understanding of people and their gods. It was a familial closeness that wasn't part of other religions.

So, as you might expect, it was the loss of this familial closeness that characterized the failure of faith throughout Old Testament history, and ever since then. God is that close to us, but we must carry out the obligations that come with it. It's not a set of static boundary lines, but a relationship that grows and changes with each new challenge. Our perception of reality should move with it.

It's hard to figure the Sadducees, since there are scant records of what drove them before they faded from history. But Pharisaism is now Judaism itself. It was built on a commitment to some static understanding of God as an ideology. It was all about principles, quite foreign to the ancient Hebrew ways. This is something for which white Europeans in particular are suckers. We evolved to prefer principle and ideology over personal relations. We tend to suck at relationships, because we prefer ideas over people. Thus, the Pharisaical obsession with principles and ideology traps us easily.

This is why American politics really suck. We put the "rule of law" over the relationships we have with people. People don't matter. We assume that our basic underlying philosophical tenets are the basis for reality. People who don't follow our assumptions are being irrational, and probably evil.

This is also why western churches stink. If your commitments and faith are invested in principles and institutions, then it's easy to make religion just a compartment in your head. It's part of the smorgasbord of you life, each partition fungible. You can add or drop as the situation warrants.

That's not faith. Faith is not an ideology; it's a relationship with someone very real and very alive.

This tendency of building a religion on ideology is from the flesh, a matter of animal breeding. Only the Holy Spirit can overcome the flesh. Trust Him.

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