Friday, February 8, 2008

Abstaining from Meat (2)

My response on the subject elicited a rejoinder, here goes:

"Good to hear from you again, Willy.

During the old testament, the law only prescribed fasting on the Day of Atonement, that's once a year. All other fasts were supposed to be voluntary, for specific reasons such as penitence and earnest prayer. Fasting is good, but when required, it becomes legalistic. People tend to do the law by the letter and not by the spirit. Jesus rebuked the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-18) who did more than is required by any biblical standard. Legalism is commanding what should be voluntary. Not even the Holy Spirit forces one to be spiritual let alone the church with its own canon laws. The passage in First Timothy should put this pagan practice to rest.


My reply:


How I wish people learned laws by themselves without anyone commanding them, that they learn to assume doing what is right voluntarily - "by the spirit and not by the letter". This reminds me of the time when I was a kid. My father (now deceased) used to enact a lot of strict rules around the house. I never fully understood most of these rules and so I deliberately disobeyed some of them. After a few run-ins with those rules my father made me understand he meant business, and I toed the line grudgingly. With respect to discipline, he left no rooms for options and volunteerism. I resented some of them, although initially, I followed most of them anyway in fear of consequences. One gets used to rules later on in life, and eventually I followed all of my father's rules out of understanding, respect, and love. I realized those rules were meant to protect me and to mold my character as a person, in preparation to being a responsible individual in the larger sphere of society. Now, being a parent myself, I have enacted similar rules for my own kids. The family is where one first learns to interact, to love, to know God, and yes - to recognize authority and follow rules. Now I know why the family, the basic unit of society, is also called a Domestic Church.

- Willy

1 comment:

Kevin - "pax tecum" said...

Good post Willy...funny how those rules make sense later in life...