Sunday, October 17, 2004

Extreme Righteousness

I'm just about finished with this excellent book by Tom Hovestol. As I said in a previous blog entry, I started this book hoping to further justify my frustration with the fundamentalist movement. That frustration in itself puzzles me, because I've been away from it for almost ten years now, yet I still feel a need to understand how it affected my thinking. Anyways, what I found in Hovestol's book has been little more than a mirror that reflects my own sense of prideful self-righteousness.

These religious leaders were some of the most spiritual men alive in that day, yet Christ directed some of the most deprecating judgments towards them. Who can find fault with their motives: to uphold and preserve the law of God? Yet in their efforts to live righteously, they lost sight of the righteous One. And their motives blurred their perspective. So enamored were they with their adherence to the law, they failed to see the condition of their hearts.

Before reading this book, I approached the Gospel accounts with an assumption that the Pharisees and I had little in common. This book has convinced me of two things: 1) a need to keep my eyes on Christ and 2) an awareness of my own sinful condition.

It's so easy for me to think I'm always right, and worse, to not consider how I come across to others. Perhaps the greatest thing Christ did for the Pharisees was give them a picture of themselves as they really were.

I highly recommend this book; it will revolutionize the way you read the Gospels as well as give you a greater understanding into the life of the apostle Paul. Just don't be surprised if you bump into yourself in its pages!


Donna said...

Hi Dianne~
Sounds like a good book. I've always viewed the pharasees from a distance as well. Maybe they're closer to me than I think?!


poetpete said...

Gday Dianne,
For the first time I have been reading your blog, and with some encouragement in my faith for which I thank you. (I was referred here from Debra = As I See it.)

Years ago I dropped out of an Aussie version of fundamentalism, with all its legalism, and I still wonder about the negative impact it had on me. One good thing it did was to give me a respect for the Word of God as the final arbiter of truth and holy living (as long as you don't quote the Bible to them). Well, they went too far, as you have said, and I with them. God was merciful to the world in bundling us idiots all together in one place so we wouldn't hurt anyone else. What a bunch of knot-heads we were, to be sure.

It's all past now and I am a survivor of good intentions badly informed. God is so gracious and continuing to do what he does best with me. One thing is to enjoy all that he has set before me, from the mundane to the profound. It is such a treat to delight in the things in which he has taken such pleasure with.

May his peace continue to be with you.