Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Two R's

Good thing Pharisees only existed in Biblical times.  And that they are Jewish teachers of the Law.  So stands to reason, there cannot be any pharisees in the Christian church.  Because they don't wear robes and have long gray beards.  Haven't seen any of those in the pews.

Now what I have seen are some people more focused on rules than relationship.  In other words, it's more important to not drop the "s bomb" than to actually have a relationship with God.  This person is on a crusade to make sure the world is free from what they consider to be a foul mouth.  Too bad they're so busy on their quest, they don't take much time to talk with the Master, or study the words He left behind.

I wrote and filmed a movie called "The Imposter."  We had a wonderful screening for a radio station at a theater.  It was sold out.  Afterwards we shook hands and talked to people.  One lady, husband and kids in tow came up to me.  She shook my hands and told me what a great movie it was.  Then she stamered... "but why did you have to ruin it with language?"  I chuckled and asked what do you mean?  "The character, the rock singer... he said... ummm.. he said 'sucks.'"

Johnny C says, while singing on a new album in the movie "These lyrics... they suck."

So I smiled and looked her in the eye and said, "if you show me in scripture where it's wrong, I'll gladly pull it out."  I really anticipated her bring out "Whatever things pure..." or Ephesians about foul mouth... I was ready to debate what those passages meant.  I thought as a long shot, easily defended, would be the commandment "Thou shall not take the Lord's name in vain."  I have a whole sermonette ready to go on that one.

But her reply was to stammer and say that her, ummm, her church... they wouldn't like it.  I replied, "I'm okay with that."  Which was not what she was looking for.  Then I asked again, "just tell me the scipture."  But this pharisee didn't even know her Bible enough to pull out the two verses mentioned above or even any verse.  She just knew the other pharisees back at the barn would not approve of such a foul word.

Rules without Relationship.

So then I got the email one day from someone *extremely* short and mean.  He wrote:

Throughout all the preparation for, writing of, and producing of this film, why has no one bothered to look up the word "impostor" for its correct spelling? Please, please, please do better than this for Christ's Kingdom!"

Here's God's Nazi Grammar Police (the GNGP) ready for action!  People are playing games with their faith and heading to hell, but oh no!  The title was misspelled!  Forget the awful masks that church attendees are wearing that leads to bondage and burdens.  We've got to do better spelling for Christ's Kingdom!

For the record, both spelling variants are accepted according to Oxford.  The "or" is more common, but the "er" is acceptable.  But c'mon, even if it wasn't...

Also for the record, for all those I've just offended,  the word "piss" is used in the King James (more accurate "pisseth").

Another story... when about to go shoot a movie, on Sunday morning, across the fellowship hall, I told the associate pastor I'd be gone for awhile, shooting.  He called back, "don't forget to make it PG-13 or under!"  I replied, "what would you rate the Bible?"  He thought for a second and replied accurately. "NC-17." I smiled and nodded at him.

Now I've had discussions about this whole issue with other filmmakers.  The word "hypocrite" usually comes up.  But I don't think hypocrite and pharisee are necessarily synonymous.  I know of a few pharisees who follow what they teach.  But hypocrisy doesn't matter.  A pharisee is still a pharisee, whether they're hypocritical about their rules or not.

People who cling to rules, forgetting the principles behind them, with a Nazi-ish dedication, are compensating for some fairly large shortcomings in their own life.  The guy above, the badge carrying member of the GNGP, has some seriously misguided priorities.  If he had a strong relationship with God (one where it's not just token one way prayers), he'd have heard from Him, and I don't think it would be a calling to misguidedly correct grammar everywhere.  If ever a classic example of "Strain a gnat..."

Rules without Relationship.

I wonder how many people will stop following this blog now?


  1. Dude. Duuuuude. I'm gonna START following this blog because of this. Thanks!

  2. Couldn't have said it better.

  3. Uh, excuse me. If you've been in any church for more then five years, you'll have met many Pharisees, and have lots of stories... even acted like one yourself or myself a time or two... whatever that means. Why do you think that with all the wonderful Christians teachings over the last thirty years- America has gotten worse? It's because of the Christians! That's why I'm now a Jewish Believer... at least in that respect I'm more like Jesus than a Christian is... whoa.. let's talk about that subject for a little controversy! Suzanne