November 16, 2010

thinking 'bout the decalogue

The Ten Commandments (or Decalogue) often get a pretty bad rap. A couple years ago, I had a conversation with Matt Reece from Blvd. Abbey that really made me start thinking about them differently. In essence, Matt pointed out that we often fail to see the positive, life giving side of what appear to be negative laws. Not long after that, I saw Chris Hedges book on the Decalogue and picked it up. But never read it.

Recently over at First Pres', Jerry has been preaching through the Ten Commandments. Jerry's a smart guy and I've appreciated his insights. I also decided to read through Chris Hedges, Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America at the same time. I think it's safe to say that Jerry and Hedges have significantly different socio-political leanings. But both are intelligent, articulate guys. It's been interesting to get both of their perspectives on the Decalogue. The Hawthon House spent some time discussing the Decalogue a while back and through these three refreshing encounters I've a new found appreciation for these ten commands. While I can't agree with all the connections Hedges makes between contemporary scenarios and the Ten Commandments, I do appreciate where he starts with these ten commands. In his prologue, Hedges writes:

"The commandments call us to reject and defy powerful forces that can rule our lives and to live instead for others, even if this costs us status and prestige and wealth. The commandments show us how to avoid being enslaved, how to save us from ourselves. They lead us to love, the essence of life."

When read in this light, I tend to think about the Jesus' Sermon on the Mount or Paul's fruit of the Spirit (See P. Kenneson's exposition on the fruit in Life on the Vine). Are they all commentary on the same theme? A Spirit-breathed theme in which God attempts to, as Hedges puts it, "lay down rules and guidelines to sustain community... rules that, when honored, hold us together and when dishonored lead to alienation, discord and violence."

With this in mind- and taking Matt's lead, I've been meditating on the positive nature of the Decalogue. In brief, here are some of phrases I've come up to coincide with the ten:

I. Serve God Alone
II. Renounce All Addictions
III. Honor God In All I Say
IV. Practice Rest
V.Cherish Those That Have Gone Ahead of Me
VI. Cherish Life
VII. Practice Devotion
VII. Compensate Others Fairly
IX. Speak Well of your Community
X. Practice Contentment

What do you think? Is this a fair summation? What do you think of when the Ten Commandments come up?

Posted via email from jason evans

No comments :

Post a Comment