We have a dog who is deaf and maintaining a “connection” out walking when she is off the lead is challenging – she loves to absorb every molecule of scent and is visually very nosy. So she is easily “disconnected” from our “pack”. There have been times when she wanders off or heads home alone. And – despite being the equivalent of 35-40 in “human” – she has no concept of “staying safe” when out and about.
Remove our bricks and mortar, our roads and highways, our shops where no animals are allowed, our vehicles and fast-moving traffic … and she would be safe anywhere.
But we have made it unsafe for our dog because we are safe in all the stuff we have built and she is not. Is that evolution at work?
“As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.’ And they were greatly distressed. When they reached Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, ‘Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?’ He said, ‘Yes, he does.’ And when he came home, Jesus spoke of it first, asking, ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their children or from others?’ When Peter said, ‘From others’, Jesus said to him, ‘Then the children are free. However, so that we do not give offence to them, go to the lake and cast a hook; take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a coin; take that and give it to them for you and me.’” Matthew 17:22-27
It seems to me that Christianity has evolved to want it both ways.
God and Jesus “agree” we are ALL “born into sin” even today. Judge if we have been good or bad every day. Will separate the sheep and goats on a certain day. Will send unbelievers to hell and believers to heaven for all eternity. And to prove it?
We have a bible from God and Jesus. Either inerrant and infallible, or God-breathed and God-inspired – take your pick. Either way that’s how God says it must be and is.
Which, I think, is both vindictive and self-centred. But more than that – hypocritical.
“Grace freely given” (with a few “not freely given” conditions) … Unconditional love (with quite a few conditions thrown in) … “Living in faith” (with a bible the most established text-book ever) … ?
What about Jesus in that same bible who said Love is where it’s ALL at … who mixed with those who never darkened the temple doors because they were excluded from doing so … who overturned the tables of the temple blackmail industry … who compared the institution of God to very uncharitable things …
And then these verses.
A tax applied by the temple peeps. The temple peeps who, in the name of God, decide who can and who cannot enter – because God and Jesus did the deciding and all “we” can do is enforce the rules … Keep God safe from the “the unclean” … Like “gay” people … Like “really bad people” … Like really “self-centred people” … Like really rich people and famous people and world leaders who power has not just corrupted but corrupted totally. No wait …
Those people are welcomed with open arms! State funerals. State celebrations. State occasions where God is an endorsement of our “I’m okay Jack” fine Christian country – AND we still have a temple tax.
Today it is called “charitable status”.
So we all pay it whether we want to or not. And because of charitable status the “books” have to be done and audited. Trustees and committees have to be in place and act as “appropriate officers”. All because “the temple” prefers not to fund itself.
“Then the children are free.”
Our dog isn’t free. The temple isn’t free nor the church today. And nor are “the children”. All because we say God says that is how it must be – and we have His bible to prove it – either inerrant and infallible or God-breathed and inspired – take your pick.
And I wonder …
Is THAT the way “God” wants it?