I do not mean to offer an exhaustive discussion about this but thought that I might offer a few things that bug me about the Old Testament imagery that I often see in the church these days. With that in mind I offer these words that are often used in church circles and my rants about them:
- altar: I grew up in the Episcopal church where we had an altar located at the front of the building. Looking back I think that it is an odd carry over from the days of animal sacrifices. Not sure but I think that it was probably initiated by Roman Catholics who see communion as a re-sacrificing of Christ in communion.
- priest: In my childhood church leaders were priests and we addressed them by "father". This idea is such a throwback to a Levitical order. Why do church folks continue to be so infatuated with titles like reverend, pastor or bishop when Jesus seemed to indicate that we should not be all about titles?
- tithe: The idea that God is owed ten percent is an interesting idea. My thinking is that Moses had to give the Israelis a number because of the hardness of their hearts. Even so, I cannot imagine why anyone would mention such a limiting idea to folks who are called to generosity and loving charity.
- prophet: Over the years I have witnessed strange things spoken by so-called prophets. My reading of the verses that speak about spiritual gifts doesn't leave me with the idea that God wanted to establish the position of prophet but rather raise up prophetic people. We limit this idea when we call people by a gift.
- law: My life was been a convoluted mess when I embraced the idea that the bible was all about rules for living. Could it be that our desire for rules or laws is a sign that something is broken? It seems to me that Jesus spoke to this brokenness in the Sermon on the Mount when he contrasted internal brokenness and ineffective external laws.
- sabbath: I am not thinking so much about the idea that humans need a day of rest but more about the idea that one specific day should be designated as that day that we go to a religious building. This idea seems to be rooted in Judaism where people worshiped on the Sabbath. Seems to me that worship is more of a lifestyle than a day.