By: Dennis Bates
As early as I can remember, I never liked rules. To some of you that comes as no shock. I went to school when rules were the norm. No talking during the lunch hour, no blue jeans, all boys wore a belt, hair had to be above the ears. You get the picture. I hated all of them, and challenged just about everyone.
But for my academic record, my participation in sports, band, the school newspaper and almost every other extracurricular activity, I would have been in trouble constantly. As it was, it was just most of the time. Harmless stuff for the most part, but still not the stuff model citizens are usually made from. The majority of the time my discomfort was caused by my own actions and as a result of challenging authority just because it was in charge.
To make matters worse I am a Boomer who went to college during the 60’s, so you might say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time for someone with a contentious attitude who was looking for every opportunity to hone his already well sharpened skills. I’m just sayin’. You are who you are and I knew what I was like.
Religion was no different. I was raised in the Presbyterian church and we went every Sunday morning and evening. Evening was youth group for me. Since then I’ve gone to just about every kind of church including a few Masses mainly because of my interest in the young lady who drug me along. Just so you know, I liked going to Mass a lot more than some of the Protestant churches I have attended since then, but that’s another topic.
I have at one time or another been a member of a Presbyterian church, a Baptist church, a Methodist church and a United Church of Christ. I’ve attended just about every other denomination out there and some that are really out there, if you know what I mean. They all have their good points, and those that aren’t so good, even though there are devout members in just about all of them.
But here’s the thing. Almost every one of those churches puts a premium on calling themselves by their denominational name and following the rules they have adopted as some sort of litmus test for “real” Christianity. Even the so-called non denominational churches have a denominational bias even if they try to hide it. Look at their rules and you will know what it is.
And that’s why I hate rules. In my opinion there’s only one rule that matters. Do you or do you not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? John 3:16 says that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. Period, end of story, turn out the lights, the party is over. All the other stuff is not necessary to call yourself a Christian.
Maybe you have to accept certain beliefs to be a Catholic or a Methodist, or a Presbyterian, but those beliefs don’t make you a Christian or keep you from being one. Only Jesus Christ matters, and in my opinion the rules only do one thing in the last result. They keep us from being effective in a world that needs us to speak with one voice now more than ever before.
So, I don’t need them, don’t want them, and I’m not going to put up with them anymore…but then again, I never really did. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…there’s just something about that name.
Just so you know, some of the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the management. You would expect something different?