A badge of honour or disgrace



The other week I put our young grandson to bed in his Mum and Dad’s house.  I have always done a little rocking and singing with all of our children when putting a wee one to bed. It’s a gentle way to share love as the wee one drifts into a peaceful slumber.

So with the room blacked out and the young chap in his cot, I stood at the end already singing and … Nothing Moved!  The usual jiggling was like jiggling a giant tree: nothing moved!  A more assertive jiggling had the same effect: zilch movement of this (rapidly reassessed) cot.

I found out later than Mum and Dad were horrified that I had even tried to jiggle it!   This was an expensive cot-cum-bed and was not intended to be so disrespected!

‘But woe to you Pharisees!  For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practised, without neglecting the others.  Woe to you Pharisees!  For you love to have the seat of honour in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the market-places.  Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.’ One of the lawyers answered him, ‘Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us too.’ And he said, ‘Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them. “ Luke 11:42-46

I see a lot of the “About Me” pages on these blogs with short “Curriculum Vitae”s …  qualifications … positions held … ministry experience gained … reasons to take me seriously … here is my standing and stature in the theological world.

And it confuses me.

Is all of that meant for me to take the posts and words more seriously?  And if so – more seriously than what … ?   Or does the “track record” define the blogger … and if so how does that defining help me (or them)?

I mention it because the charge of “Pharisaical” and/or “Legalism” or all the other “labels of conviction” (or preference) in the theological world today seem either a badge of honour or of disgrace – like the bible: to be defended or attacked.

I think this misses the point.

The cot I am familiar with jiggling is flexible.  The cot I cannot isn’t.  Both are cots. Both are perfectly suited for a sleeping Oliver.  The choice of which is less to do with Oliver and everything to do with us parents and/or grandparents.  Our choice is which one  WE buy, which one WE have in OUR home and which one suits US better.

I think we are all Pharisees to someone else.

I am to some and some are to me.

I think that the “label” of anything is irrelevant to God AND irrelevant to a “child of God” so long as …

That child is safe, is warm, is loved, is kept safe, is kept not too warm, is loved more than that child deserves …

Isn’t THAT the point of these verses?

Just as the point of the cots is that I can love Oliver in any cot because the cot is NOT  important.

Oliver is.



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