My pastor's sermon today was on the second commandment; Thou shalt have no other gods before me. He explained that idolatry was anythint that came in between the person and God. God was alone to be worshipped, but so often we humans look at the "real world" and start to think of these things as God. And yet, I would suggest that Jesus said that humanity was the "face of God". Jesus, said that, "If you do it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me".
Jesus ministered to a specific group of people. He identified with the outcasts, and sinner. These were those who were outside the scope of the political (outcast) and religious (sinner) realms of power. Jesus, as a role model cannot be universal, either, otherwise, where would governmental leaders be? or educators? or any other "job" outside of charitable service?
It was a tipe rope of sorts for my pastor to stretch and walk between antinominism and nomism....the absolute and relative, context and standard. These questions are ones that plague the Church in addressing postmodernity. But, how does society, and society's social structures view this "gift of the law"?
Israel, according to the Scriptures, was not a nation at the time of the giving of the "law". Moses, according to the story, got the law from God. Therefore, Israel was known by her law and that made her "God's people". Today's modern nation-state is known by the government that rules that nation. Laws are the boundaries that define that government. Unfortunately, many nations do not have laws that protect the common person. Dictators, tribal chiefs and terrorists all seek power at the costs of others. Civilized nations have sought to come together and formulate interantional law. These laws are agreed upon to protect human rights.
But, as my pastor pointed out, absolutizing the law can bring atrocious acts of oppression and presumption, while not having law is not knowing how to distinguish between "godliness and worldliness". This is a holiness tradition within the Christian tradition, the Wesleyan Church. Their focus from Wesley's time was the question: Is there sin in your life? Wesley, the father of Methodism, started groups that were accountable to one another.
What is the purpose of accountability? Accountability helps us see clearly where we need to grow in our character. Others can help us know where our strengths and weaknesses are. The question is, what is uniquely "Christian" about this? Leadership courses that are taught all across the land are based on Character development. There has even been a move in education about character development in our public schools.
There is no unique Christian message, as the Christian message is the message of humanity. Humanity is made in God's image and though this is true, humanities' social structures are the instrucments that God uses to develop us. Today's social structures are broken in America. How do we resolve this problem? What do you think?
Arvo Pärt at St. Vladimir’s Seminary
3 hours ago