Extravagance Is Not Shalom

Cruising the Christian News sites, I see the current big money items.

1. Vanity toys: Can you take him seriously? I prayed for a bicycle, and before that a used car for my working wife. That doesn’t make me holier, but I can guarantee that there’s no way we would use money for such things as personal luxury aircraft, even if it was offered. I’m not worried about the demons on mass transportation, but the bogus security theater called TSA.

2. Anti-abortion campaigns: I agree abortion is taking a human life, and it’s typically done for sinful reasons. However, I don’t approach it from Anglo-Saxon tribal law, as America does. I approach it from Biblical Law, which is radically different. A woman is responsible to God and her husband for her child’s welfare until it’s weaned and other people start having to invest care and resources in that young life. Yes, the Bible presumes an extended-family household, but God never granted the clan-tribal authority to any secular state. The issue is that only folks related by DNA or covenant have any say in the matter. So a child’s survival up through weaning is by no means the state’s business, nor that of strangers with no vested interest (that’s not just a financial interest, either).

3. Lawsuits: By the same token, we shouldn’t fight every little thing the state demands that we don’t like. It’s like poking a stick in an ogre’s eye — get ready for the bludgeon. All the more so when you live in a near-communist state like Oregon, it’s foolish to make trouble by rejecting government/community demands when you are engaging in public commerce. A lot of Christian activist money and resources were wasted on a lost cause; there’s nothing noble about that.

There is some better news, though. New collections of fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been turned over to scholars. An effort to decipher some of the encrypted Hebrew among these recent finds reaffirms something in Scripture (Leviticus 26:3-12 defining shalom) and in our teaching with perhaps an older version of the text. Also noteworthy was fresh support for Nehemiah, something lacking among the Dead Sea Scrolls previously.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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4 Responses to Extravagance Is Not Shalom

  1. Jay DiNitto says:

    Call me stupid, but I didn’t know the DSS were still being analyzed like that.


  2. Ed Hurst says:

    I recall being told that some of those scrolls took decades of glacially slow unrolling to prevent them fragmenting outright. They weren’t even readable until recent times. On top of this, quite a few bits and pieces slipped away into private collectors’ hands during the time they were discovered, so I think this story is drawn from the latter collections returning to the museum.


  3. larryzb says:

    As to point 2 above: The state does need to step in to protect human life. You speak of family members, but in many of these cases of abortion there are no family members stepping up and/or the fathers are not to be found ( a reason to keep sex within marriage for sure). Try to see the spirit of the law and not just the letter of it. As well, old Hebrew tribal law is not the final moral arbiter in matters any longer.


  4. Ed Hurst says:

    I disagree, Larry; you my be disaffected by my take on this. Old Hebrew tribal law reflects the very nature of reality itself, albeit imperfectly. All of Creation is feudal and tribal in essence. Humanity cannot do justice outside of that system (Ancient Near Eastern feudalism, not the Western perversion we saw in the Middle Ages). We see divine justice by gazing through Hebrew Covenant Law as a window onto the ineffable truth of God’s divine moral character. The state is morally unfit; it cannot do justice except by accident, because it is fundamentally immoral, an assault on the created order of things. The idea of the state arose from rejecting Biblical Law and revelation. We put up with it because we don’t take the Fallen Realm too seriously, and we never imagine that this world can be fixed. It’s doomed to destruction in the End. Our best hope is to ameliorate the Curse of the Fall on mankind via Biblical Law, and all of it presumes ANE feudalism as the starting point. We can embrace it individually; we hope to demonstrate its power by our faith and obedience, but we know from the Word that there’s little chance mankind at large, or even significant local portions, will take much interest in Biblical Law.


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