Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ten Commandments as a Family Creed

Today’s post represents a change of pace. Yes, it is still the 2nd week of Lent; and, yes, the ongoing theme of more deliberate spiritual practices is still very much on my mind; but today I’m going to share a unique piece of writing I’ve been working on for the past few days.

I prepare a lot of "on-line content" for men with young families, and I’ve been thinking about some of the foundational principles of faith. And, while I am most certainly a “New Testament” child of God, I’ve been enjoying a lot of key readings from the Old Testament lately (I like to refer to Genesis-Malachi as “The journal of the Children of Israel’s on-again-off-again relationship with God”).

I’ve gone on record before regarding my disappointment with...
  •  Those who brandish Bible verses like an offensive weapon,
  • People who beat people over the head with holy scripture,
  • Christians who insist that the archaic/flawed King James translation is the only true Word of God. 
The “Ten Commandments” are a prime example. The “Big-10” are ubiquitous in today’s culture wars, posted all over the place and in an irrelevant dialect by religious people who don’t seem to be able to understand (or care to understand) that they are alienating the very people who need to know the great reach of God’s love.

The Ten Commandments are a basic building block in understanding the relationship between God’s law and a just society. But God’s purposes are not furthered when the narrow-minded confine the truth of scripture to the literary equivalent of an exclusive secret society!

So – respectful of the gravitas inherent in God’s Word to Moses and yet mindful that they were written to a specific people in a specific time and place – I have parsed the list in terms of a 21st Century Family Creed.

So here are The Ten Commandments, but expressed as a kind of “Family Statement of Foundational Values”. (The original text is reproduced below my signature, for reference).

Ten Commandments For the Family
  1. This is a family that is Grounded in Faith.
  2. We will keep our priorities in balance. That means that we do not and we will not worship the cultural "god of acquisitions and goods". Stuff will never become the core value of this family.
  3. There will be no cursing in this house, period.
  4. This family is committed to a balance of work and recreation that honors God’s natural rhythm of creation and rest. We will relax together as a family. We are a family defined by faith. This means that Sunday is qualitatively different to other days of the week, and worship attendance is always our priority.
  5. God is the final authority in this home… and we acknowledge that God has delegated much of that authority to the parent/s. Mom and/or Dad are committed to the practice of fairness and love, that is a promise; but disrespect will not be tolerated under any circumstance.
  6.  Physical violence is never an appropriate solution to conflict. Don’t hit your sister. Never strike your brother. Don’t kick the dog. Never raise your hand to your parent.
  7. We acknowledge the importance of an open conversation about faithfulness, and this includes pornography in all its forms. We understand the need to be clear regarding what is appropriate in this house.
  8. It is imperative that we respect one-another’s personal things. This principle is simple, and it includes a reverence for personal space.
  9. Honesty is a core value of this family. We recognize how critically important it is that we can trust one-another, and we embrace the power of the principle that “The Truth Will Set Us Free.”
  10. We will live each and every day in the understanding that we are blessed beyond measure. Mom and/or Dad do the best that they can, and this must be a household where gratitude is simply part of who we are. But this is also a home committed to generosity. We’d rather give stuff away than be jealous.
-       In this, and in all things, may we all be committed to God, guided by scripture, empowered by the Holy Spirit and equipped through our relationship to Jesus.

-    - DEREK 

Exodus 20 - The Ten Commandments (NIV):

 And God spoke all these words:

 1-  “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

 2 - “You shall have no other gods before[a] me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

 3 -  “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

 4 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

5 - “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

6 - “You shall not murder.

7 - “You shall not commit adultery.

8 - “You shall not steal.

9 - “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

10 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


Deborah said...

Love it!

fordman3551 said...

This is really timely. It should be published "abroad." Jackie