Life Without Boundaries or Standards….
As never before, many cultures and societies have lost their sense of boundaries. We all know of the opposite side of the spectrum — so many boundaries that it seems incomprehensible to those who have never experienced: the total shrouding of women from head to toe lest one square centimeter of skin be exposed, men and women not allowed to pray together in the same room, same-sex relationships prohibited, certain foods allowed and others forbidden, etc. If you sense that all of these restrictions stem from religious ideologies, in general, you would be correct.
Is it time to throw off the constraints of religion, viewing them as oppressive?
It all depends.
Religion, in and of itself, will never bring us into right relationship with God. For that we need a savior, a redeemer, a messiah who can span the gulf between sinful humanity and a holy God. If you feel that you are not sinful, all I can say is that I’m a pretty good person, always putting others before myself, trying to help the oppressed, reaching out to those in need— but I’m not holy. I fall short, if even in attitudes, which no one would know but Him.
While some religions try to create more and more boundaries to almost a ridiculous extent, I would postulate that they do this precisely because their religion offers no hope for change on the inside. In my mind, men and women can freely mix in society when they are truly controlled by their Creator— there will be no fear of rape nor reprisals nor any other ugly outcome.
However, life without boundaries, I would also argue, relegates the holy to the mundane. If “everything” is holy— all days of the week, all types of food, all kinds of interaction, nothing is “set apart”. One would not wear special clothing to court or a holiday gathering, one would not reserve sex for the confines of marriage, one would not celebrate a birthday with a cake….
Don’t we eat cake at other times of the year? Why is this a “birthday cake”? Because it might have candles, we might sing a song with its presentation, it might have someone’s name on top. It’s set apart, it’s special, it’s not an everyday occurrence. It’s… holy… because there are boundaries associated with it.
The Bible speaks of all sorts of relationships— how to treat neighbors, how to live in peace with your family, how to take care of animals, how to ensure the poor are fed. The idea of “doing whatever you want, whenever you want” is unknown to civilized society.
Some of that is good. Some of that is not.
Last night, our girls wondered if they could wear pants for our Passover Seder because we were at home with only our nuclear family in attendance. I had to explain that no, this was a special night when we speak of God’s goodness, His faithfulness, His deliverance to those who put their trust in Him. We were celebrating Him… and us… that once we were slaves, but now we are free. Slaves don’t have dress clothes, but we do, and to wear them for a couple of hours on a Monday night makes it special.
Because we choose to make it holy by the boundaries that we honor. And true to form, life lived up to our preparations and expectations, and a wonderful time was had by all.
—————Tags: are boundaries good?, different kinds of clothes for different events, holiness stems from boundaries, is everything holy?, life without boundaries, oppressive religions, Passover 2017, relationship rules from the Bible, religions with too many prohibitions, set apart and special, sex outside of marriage?, throw off constraints of religion?, why is this night different?