By Curtis Shelburne: Religion columnist
There oughta be a law!
No, probably there shouldn’t.
But I know why we say it.
1) Stuff bugs us.
You can’t have a complete meal in peace because you or the people around you don’t have enough sense to turn off cell phones for ten minutes. Let’s make a law!
You’re driving down the highway but suddenly you find the artery of wheeled commerce clogged by some slow-moving moron camping in the passing lane. There oughta be a law! (Actually, there is.)
2) Legislators like to legislate. Which is why the wise man observed that no man’s life or property is ever safe while the legislature is in session.
People do mean nasty things. So, though we already had plenty of fine laws against crimes like assault and murder, now we have laws against “hate” crimes making it against the law to commit assault and murder while you’re thinking mean nasty thoughts. I wish people didn’t think mean nasty thoughts, but I think having laws against mean nasty thinking is, for a slew of reasons, incredibly bad thinking.
A good many kids are pudgy. So we need laws threatening gray-haired grandmas who bring birthday cakes to school. Ten to fifteen in state prison if it’s a pound cake; fifteen to twenty in federal prison if it’s iced. Granny gets to share a cell with the fellow who brought an assault rifle to school. (And the food Nazis? I think we’re just seeing the tip of the ice cream cone. They’re on a roll! I mean, a rice cake.)
But the mantra is, there oughta be a law!
Okay. May I suggest . . .
There oughta be a law that Christians must attend church more than half of the time. (We’ll start out at a ridiculously lenient level.)
And there oughta be a law stating that, though tithing is a law-predating principle, the new law is that Christians must give at least 7 percent (it’s a sale!) of their income to God’s work (through that church they attend more than half the time).
If, seriously, all Christians attended and gave as if they were really committed to the Lord, it’s hard to imagine the good, the encouragement, the blessings that would flow!
But . . .
I really think a great law for the land would be that no new law or regulation could ever be enacted without an old law or regulation coming off the books. We have enough laws.
And for Christians? Actually, the way of law has already been tried and found to be seriously flawed. It seems that a law that is only written on tables of stone is no cure at all for hardening of the heart. It seems that real life, real joy, delightfully warm hearts, loving deeds, and lives of genuine faith only come by the grace of a Savior and his Spirit living inside.
There oughta be a law!
Actually, no, probably not.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org