clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Playing the 'There Should Be a Rule' with religion

I have golf buddies who play a little game called “There Should Be a Rule.”

If the ball ends up in a footprint in the sand, they’ll drop it out because “there should be a rule.”

I also have friends who play the game with religion.

A friend once told me he only watched NFL games on Sundays if one of the quarterbacks graduated from Brigham Young University.

It's not in the scriptures, but he thought it should be. He felt it made perfect sense.

Another friend, with a habit of yo-yoing in and out of activity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he enjoyed assisting with confirmations, as long as his hands weren’t the ones against the person’s head. He liked a little insulation.

In his mind, it was very reasonable.

And then there was my missionary companion who believed the Sabbath should start after sundown on Saturday night, kind of like the Jewish Sabbath. It made for some spiritual Saturday evenings, but it also made for rowdy Sabbath nights as his “Diversion Day” kicked in around 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Many of us have our own little book of Leviticus, written by us, with us in mind.

We say it’s OK to attend a baseball game on Sunday now and then, but never on back-to-back Sundays and, of course, a Sunday double-header was out of the question.

If you're like me, your first impulse is to chuckle and call people out for being silly. The problem, of course, is when you do, somebody will unmask one your own “silly” compromises. You end up like the fellow who strains to swallow gnats but gulps down a camel. The truth is hypercritical people are often hypocritical people.

Besides, the world already has an abundance of “ark steadiers.” The last thing we need is somebody new trying to heat up — or cool down — everyone's lukewarm water.

No, the best approach is to just keep mum; keep mum and see the moment as a lesson in human frailty. Bite your lip, smile, and take some notes. Life, as a textbook, is more fascinating when you try to learn from it instead of teach it.

In the Bible, the apostle Peter spent a lot of time playing the game “There Should Be a Rule,” whether he was keeping children from getting close to Jesus or lopping off the ears of Romans. He once tried to get Jesus to wash his whole body instead of just his feet, a rule he invented on the spot. But it’s in those moments of pure humanity where we learn the most about Peter, and learn the most about ourselves as well.

So, when some guy in the ward drops a quarter into the fast offering packet because, he says, he only eats celery for breakfast; or when the gentle sister up the street claims when she shops on Saturday night, the time she spends after midnight still counts as Saturday, just wink and let it pass.

They are just trying to wobble through life like everyone else.

They’re playing “There Should Be a Rule” to help them get by.

Like you and I do.