What’s the Rules?

Pool Rules
Pool Rules (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

A baby is born into a family and immediately there are expectations. There are rules imposed upon him. Only he has no idea. If he’s born in the United States, he’ll likely be in a hospital and there’ll be immunizations and tests. Since he’s a boy, we’ll wrap him in blue. And if he is born in a religious environment he might be circumcised. These are rules and processes that we rarely think about but will follow religiously.

When we’re born we inherit a set of rules. They’re your parents’ rules, but they are also your culture’s rules. Your friends and associates. The church and local bar. The store, the coffee shop, the park, and even the mall have policies and rules. The unfortunate part is that no one thinks about them. They aren’t always written and if you walked up to someone they’d probably deny having rules. We don’t see the rules, the rules sometimes change, and no one talks about them. What kind of crazy game are we playing?

Can you imagine a playing a game and you’re not told the rules. They throw you a ball and you don’t know if you can kick it or toss it or run with it. Which direction? Then they yell when you are wrong? We are sometimes left guessing. Madness. That’s our world. Here are a few examples:

  • Don’t brag about your accomplishments
  • Be friendly and extroverted
  • Don’t be too friendly
  • Never mention bodily functions
  • Never be too needy
  • Don’t be pushy
  • Don’t cut in line
  • Wear black or boring colors to work and funerals
  • Bright colors are for summer or islands

My favorites:

  • Don’t tug on Superman’s cape
  • Don’t spit into the wind
  • Don’t pull the mask of the ol’ Lone Ranger
  • Don’t mess around with Jim.

Here’s an article with an interesting list, Unwritten Rules Everyone Needs To Follow 

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Society Changes

Society adapts over the years. Styles change like the seasons. Hemlines, sleeve lengths, fabric weights, these are all expressions we allow ourselves as humans.

Religion constrains. The Bible has strict guidelines, laws not generalizations . The rules don’t adapt. They are like a Polaroid snapshot that over time loses its relevance. 20 years ago that was a crisp photo of you in front of your first car. The memory is forever etched in your mind as well as on the photo. The car however is not as relevant. If you have it still today, it’s taken some work to keep it looking new. And if you compare it to the cars on the highway, no matter how good of shape it’s in, it’s not a current model.

Here are a few misquoted and misunderstood “truths”

  • Jesus taught us to love our neighbors. He was referring to the old testament’s teaching of taking care of your own family and tribe.  Under Jewish customs, you never charged usury or interest to your people, the Jews.
  • Jesus taught others to walk the extra mile as a way to get along in society. His homeland was overrun by multiple armies. To stay alive, it was better to swallow your pride and walk the extra mile. It wasn’t about love for a foreigner. And it wasn’t about loving your neighbor.
  • Religion meets the need of governing people to build society. It’s an infrastructure of the people. That was its original purpose, as well as to explain all the unexplained. Thunder is a god bowling.
  • I once believed that Christianity was God reaching out to man instead of man reaching God. We have the only divine word and the only instance of God reaching out to man.  All religions claim this.  In Judaism,  God spoke to Abram. And Mohammed. And Oral Roberts. And the crazy lady that drowned her children.
  • God doesn’t change. But I can read many times over that God changes his mind. If he keeps changing his mind, then who’s to know what to believe? Paul’s teachings don’t match those of most Christians today, but they are still considered the words of God. So who is wrong? Society, modern Christianity or the older teachings?
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