A line frequently attributed to Jesus went something like this…”You’ve heard it said, but I say to you…” And then he would proceed to deconstruct the listener’s ideas of what they believed the law to say and mean. It got him into trouble. Often. I’ve learned to read these passages as Jesus helping us to relocate into God’s story. There are all kinds of stories in our society…
Consumerism is the story that whatever I consume defines me.
Nationalism is the story that God is on the side of my nation.
Technology(ism) is the story that technology will save us, that is, the next version will save us!
Science(ism) is the story that only what is verifiable (e.g., counted, proved, defined, etc…) can be counted on.
There are lots and lots of stories floating around our culture. Jesus, again and again, relocates us in God’s story. His story is not hate, or exclusion, or violence or war. His story is love. (BTW, that doesn’t mean there’s not discipline involved. With regard to discipline, what it probably means is that we just haven’t even begun to imagine yet how when the fullness of God’s love comes, that justice will finally arrive.) So, yes, His story is love. He says, in so many words, “You’ve heard it said that Moses got it right, but someone greater than Moses is present now. The old has passed away, and the new has come.”
What story is defining you?
What story do you find yourself in?
Here are some suggested readings to help us live counter to what the current cultural stories are telling us. Dare you to copy and paste these titles into your browser, order some, and take a read…
Reading Revelation Responsibly, Michael Gorman
A More Christlike God, Bradley Jersak
Unapologetic, Francis Spufford
Atheist Delusions, David Bently Hart
iGods, Craig Detweiler
Hidden Power of Electronic Culture, Shane Hipps
The Year Without A Purchase, Scott Dannemiller