Monday, August 31, 2009

RDM #9 – My Idiot Brother Keeps putting his foot on My Side.


Monday again, and thankfully it’s not really raining.  (At least not when I am writing this.)

One of the blogs I follow is The Church of No People.  I like the premise, and the name, which derives from the fact that, in the words of the author Matt “in the real world, I pastor a church. People show up on Sundays to hear the brilliant thoughts pour out of my mind. This blog is kind of like a church. Except that there are no people. It's the Church of No People.”  His theory is that since no one comes to the church, he can say what he really thinks, without having to worry about it being “fit for Sunday consumption” 

Unfortunately this theory is rather destroyed by the fact that he has over 200 followers. 

However, once upon a time, he had none.  And back in the distant past (last November) he posted a pretty cool post called My Idiot Brother Keeps putting his foot on My Side.  It’s very similar to the sermon we had in church this week, and is still fresh in my mind as I type this.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

My Idiot Brother Keeps Putting His Foot on My Side

Today, I was contemplating the great times I had with my family when my brother and I were kids and we went on family vacations. Mostly, these vacations consisted of going to see the grandparents, who lived several hours away. We went on only a couple of real vacations, but those are another story.

Now, with two boys sitting in the back seat of a car (no minivan, something I'm very proud of my parents for in hindsight) with a small dog and several items to keep us occupied, space was at a premium. There wasn't a lot of room for stretching out. Naturally, we did what any civilized eight year olds would do. We drew an imaginary line down the middle of the car, which neither of us was allowed to cross or allow our stuff to cross on threat of severe penalty.

And naturally, the line was always crossed. One of us would feel the need to stretch out, or my brother's stupid stuff would fall over the line into enemy territory. This breach of personal space was always quickly met with a punch in the arm. Then a quarrel would briefly break out, causing Dad to yell at us. He always addressed us as 'boys,' although I always contended that he should be addressing just my brother, as he was the always the culprit.

So we'd return to our sides, not touching each other. One would go back to his book or game. But something would stir in the corner of his eye. He would turn to find a finger pointed at him, less than two inches from his face.

"Not touching. Can't get mad."

Of course, the phrase 'can't get mad' never really seemed to work, as this phrase always incited carnal rage. We'd pull this on each other, following the letter of the law our Dad had laid down but not the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law was to sit down, shut up, and keep your mitts to yourself for the rest of the trip. We chose to simply 'not touch each other.'

Thus we felt we were righteous for following instructions, even while inflicting delicious suffering on each other. Jesus chided the Pharisees for trying ever so hard to follow the letter of the law, but always missing the spirit of the law. Now Christians are under the New Covenant, where there is no law, but we find ourselves often in a similar situation on the other side of the fence. It is easy to throw out the law, but what we forget is that many of God's laws still have relevant life applications today. We ignore the spirit of the law, because we believe we are not under the letter of the law.

What rules have I throw out in my lust to 'assert' myself as a free man of Christ?

Please leave a comment here, or go visit Matt’s blog.  If you are taking part in Rainy Day Monday, collect the badge, and put your link in Mister Linky.  (Assuming Mister Linky is working today.)



  1. Having raised 3 sons, I can say I think I raised 3 Pharisees! This is spot on!

  2. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14)

    My kids are onto all this nonsense and even ask me for rules sometimes. As if I didn't know their motive of wanting to know where the letter of the law ends! Easy enough for me to see their intent. But like too many other of their annoying behaviors, I suspect they learned from yours truly. *sigh*

    Thanks for a great post. I'll head on over to Matt's blog and tell him his words are appreciated.

  3. LOL! My brother and I STILL occasionally drive each other crazy on purpose and we're in our 30's!

    Seriously, it saddens me to see in churches where we get so focused on "the rules" that we forget to love and minister to each other. We say: "If you want to be ministered to here, you must wear a suit/tie/dress, etc. And you can't do/say this, that, or the other. And if you can't follow these rules, we will not minister to you." *Sigh* Very sad.

  4. Hi Sharkbait. Just letting you know I was here. I have nothing to add to the conversation..

  5. "Of course, the phrase 'can't get mad' never really seemed to work, as this phrase always incited carnal rage. "

    Oh Lord....this is SPOT ON with my boys. I think I got a slight case of TMJ from clenching my teeth and threatening my boys on our 8 hour trip to Canada.....yeah, three of them pulling those stunts and a baby girl who hated being in a carseat and screamed the whole way. good times.


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