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12 November 2004 @ 10:04 am
The key fact I was missing  

I must have been fuzzy with tired last night when I made my previous post, How was I to know?, because it appears I palmed a card without even noticing I did so. That is to say, yes, Paul wasn't referring to the prevailing civil law of his time but to the Law = Torah and laws = mitzvot (the 613 commandments found in the Torah).

Still, I can't help but wonder if this teaching regarding one set of laws doesn't encourage a disrespect for all laws. Kind of, "Hey, I have faith—I don't need no stinkin' laws…." It would certainly explain the attitudes and behaviors of any number of people.

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Grateful Dead: Wake Of The Flood
Laurel Krahnlaurel on November 12th, 2004 08:18 am (UTC)
The reason my parents cited for switching from a LCA Lutheran church (the LCA was changing to ELCA at that time or soon after) to a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church (much more conservative) was because at the first church we had a pastor who gave super short sermons whose messages always basically seemed to be "do whatever you want, so long as you ask for forgiveness and/or have faith, you'll get into heaven."

Needless to say, that pastor was popular with the congregation. Told people what they wanted to hear and got them out of church in plenty of time to get home for lunch and/or to watch football.

[I know more things went into my parents decision, but the whole "faith as a sort of cosmic get out of jail free card" thing really bugged 'em. And I totally understand that.]
gomeza on November 12th, 2004 08:46 am (UTC)
As far as explaining a lot of attitudes and behaviors of the unwashed masses: "hey, I have faith (or any other set of formalized limits on behavior, such as civil law), I don't need to think".
ask mevorona on November 12th, 2004 09:08 am (UTC)
I see the element of unquestioning obedience as a much more troublesome aspect of Christian culture than civil laws - to make a broad, sweeping generalization which will probably provoke all kinds of stuff. But really, I should tell you about the Goth Club Purim Incident sometime, in which people were left going "but we always ask questions about everything" and "but if we had questioned anything we would have been in trouble" and staring at each other, puzzled, drinks in hand. It was also St. Patrick's Day. Bicycle horns were involved. It had started out seeming simple enough.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on November 12th, 2004 09:20 am (UTC)
Re: contrariwise

I should tell you about the Goth Club Purim Incident sometime…

Yes, please do. Sounds … fascinating. "Bicycle horns," you say? Hmmmmm.

ask me: Esthervorona on November 12th, 2004 10:20 am (UTC)
Re: contrariwise
Here's what happened a couple of years ago. It was Purim, and a few of us got dressed up and went over to the huge synagogue on Mercer Island for the Purimspiel.

I was a crow, and spent the entire time having my beak and wings petted by little kids and their parents. I also almost choked on a hamantasch when domestinatrix put a whole one down my proportionately appropriate crow beak. It was loud and chaotic and all the kids were screaming and grogging at all times, and the theme was some kind of '50s musical drag show. It's a Conservative synagogue. We didn't get to hear the whole megillah in English, because of all the chaos and noise and the fancy theme going on. So...

We came back to Seattle and ran off a copy of Megillas Esther from the computer, and took it to The Mercury, a private goth club. It was Ska Night there. I still had my bicycle horn with me. It hadn't seemed loud with hundreds of hyped-up kids echoing in the big synagogue, but it sounded a little loud at the club. But then we started seriously drinking. There were four of us. Two graggers, one tambourine, one bicycle horn. We were sitting at a table away from everyone else, reading the Megillah, drinking, just making noise when Haman's (yemach shemo) name came up. I guess it was sorta loud.

Oh, and I had changed out of the crow costume and into faded blue jeans and a pale blue Madonna bra, the concept being "Not Myself."

Someone came over from one of the other tables, and said "heyyy, what's going on?" By that time, we were laughing quite a bit. E said, cracking up, "oh, it's a religious holiday! We had to print something off the computer and get drunk and read it and make noise."

The response was a smiling, neutral, "oh, that's cool." That's all.

Ska music, and St. Patrick's Day, and Purim, and alcohol, happened.

Next day, a few rants were posted on the Goth board and around LJ. The incident had been misinterpreted as some kind of very solemn religious rite, and people had been afraid to tell us that the bike horn was too loud, and ask us (me) not to honk it. So they waited silently and had gotten really angry about it. It blew up into a huge fuss, and it went on and on.

The key misunderstanding seems to have been that the people most upset by it, who'd been brought up Catholic, saw religion as something very serious and felt uneasy asking us what the hell was going on. We didn't understand why they just didn't SAY SOMETHING, ask a question, etc. But as someone put it: "I was trained not to ask questions about religious things." They felt deeply uncomfortable with it, and at the same time didn't want to be rude about someone else's religion. It's all understandable, but it really caused a mess. It was eventually explained well enough that this wasn't like Yom Kippur or anything, and that's why we were drunk and being weird and looking unusual and reading computerized scrolls on Ska Night. We all apologized to each other, and we're all getting along again.

If only people would just talk about these things on the spot.
Carol Kennedy: mecakmpls on November 12th, 2004 12:56 pm (UTC)
Re: contrariwise
Whether or not one who was raised Roman Catholic was trained not to ask questions depends entirely on who did the training. Trust me on this one.
Stephen Leighsleigh on November 13th, 2004 07:42 am (UTC)
Re: contrariwise
Indeed. Those with any Jesuit contact or influence, for instance, are very comfortable asking questions.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on November 16th, 2004 02:31 am (UTC)
Re: contrariwise

Yup. Trust you. You're in a position to know after all.

A question, though. Does it depend on who did the teaching or who the student was? Or perhaps even some subtle combination of the two? 'cause, knowing you, I can't imagine that you were ever an "average" or "normal" student.

Carol Kennedycakmpls on November 16th, 2004 07:58 am (UTC)
Re: contrariwise
Definitely the teacher, but probably the student, too. There are both highly intellectual and anti-intellectual threads in Catholicism, as well as the variants in between.

Catholic schoolkids have a long tradition of making up convoluted situations to ask "Father" about when he comes to visit their classroom. "Father, if you're stranded on an island . . ." is the way many of them begin. From these scenarios I learned that while hard cases may make bad law, they can make good moral guides.
Fred A Levy Haskell: eyes of the Fredcritterfredcritter on November 16th, 2004 02:26 am (UTC)
Re: contrariwise
Thanks for sharing the story. I enjoyed it a lot, except for the part where everybody was upset.
ask mevorona on November 16th, 2004 08:23 am (UTC)
Re: contrariwise
Well, the eventual outcome was that some of us who hadn't been "introduced" actually started talking. We... know each other, now. And we're friendly, rather than just Those People At The Other Table. See, it's all good.