About 8 years ago I discovered a new addition to the United Church of Christ website. The page is gone now. I don’t know if it was controversy that made it disappear. I don’t know if it was lack of interest, either. All I know is that this page has stuck with me. It was thought-provoking. It was controversial. It was a “turn it upside down and think about it” look at the 10 Commandments. It was. I think it still is. But it's not part of the UCC website anymore.
Well, the page may have disappeared in one area, but it hasn’t gone away completely.
I wrote about this page way back in 2004 and again in 2008. (If you’ve been reading the blog since those times, you may have read these before – I hope they stayed with you as they have with me.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do these “God is still speaking through the 10 C’s” commandment thoughts strike you today? What has changed in the last 8 years that makes them more (or less) provocative? What about them makes you angry? What about them gives you hope? What about them has you all twisted up inside? What about them makes you smile?
How is God still speaking through the 10 C’s today?
Here’s the 2003 list:
OUR CULTURE THINKS have no other Gods before me is "nice" unless it’s Super Bowl Sunday or the Final Four.
PERHAPS GOD says you shall neither worship your car, your "ice," or your wide-screen.
OUR CULTURE THINKS you shall not make for yourself an idol except for Madonna; Starbucks; X Box; Nike; Chief Wahoo, et al.; the American flag; and Wall Street.
MAYBE GOD says you shall not worship the idol of individualism that leads to the American dream of "success" only for some of God’s children.
OUR CULTURE THINKS you shall not take the Name of the Lord, thy God, in vain unless you lose something you thought was yours, you don’t get something you thought you deserved, or you smash your finger.
MAYBE GOD says you shall not take God’s Name in vain EVER, especially not as justification for the separation of peoples/cultures or to strip civil liberties or as justification for war on terrorism.
OUR CULTURE THINKS remember the Sabbath day means to keep it Holy by shopping or watching the kid’s soccer game instead of going to church.
PERHAPS GOD says spend some time with me, your family, and a community of faith.
OUR CULTURE THINKS the meaning of honor your father and mother expires when our parents reach the age of 75 or can’t care for themselves.
PERHAPS GOD says honor older parents with needed Medicare and affordable prescription drugs. Honor younger parents with affordable, available, quality child care so that they can earn a living.
OUR CULTURE BELIEVES you shall not commit adultery unless you know you won’t get caught.
POSSIBLY GOD says you should be faithful to the one you love no matter your sexual orientation.
OUR CULTURE THINKS you shall not steal unless you really, really want something and a) don’t have it; b) don’t want to pay the money; c) it’s a natural resource we need and another nation has; d) it’s for the protection of our national security.
MAYBE GOD SAYS you should not siphon oil from the Middle East, Africa, or Latin America in order to satisfy our industrial need for fossil fuel. You should not bankrupt small family farmers by disproportionately supporting corporate farms. You shall not mouth "high" academic expectations for our nation’s children and then steal money from schools to pay for war and huge tax cuts.
OUR CULTURE SAYS you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor unless your neighbor doesn’t look like you, doesn’t live like you, doesn’t speak the English language, or calls God by another name.
POSSIBLY GOD says tell the truth about our relationship with the Saudi government and with oppressive leaders around the world. Release dozens of Arabs and Muslims still in American jails since 9/11. Come clean about using the Patriot Act to regenerate a new brand of McCarthyism.
OUR CULTURE BELIEVES you shall not covet your Neighbor’s property unless your neighbor’s crib is bigger than yours or has more "toys" that bling-bling. Note: "neighbor" includes other countries and planets.
PERHAPS GOD SAYS you shall not covet another culture’s land or tax benefits obtained on the backs of the poor or global trade advantages . . . water . . . air . . . women . . . or immigrants . . . as personal property.
OUR CULTURE MAINTAINS you shall not kill unless you are one of the states with the death penalty, look different, talk different, think different or you’re trying to off Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. (Note: Collateral damage, maimings, casualties, and the like are unavoidable, regrettable, justifiable, and patriotic).
PROBABLY GOD SAYS you shall not kill, period. Not by lethal injection, not by surgical air strikes, or by endangering the lives of millions of Americans by failing to provide health insurance or food or AIDS meds.
Are we still listening?