Monday, February 2, 2009

I do bad things, or maybe not

Back home, we never studied or discussed the ten commandments. My family was middle-class suburban Lutheran, and the expression of our religion started and ended with Christmas lights.

According to our limited knowledge of the ancient texts, hell was painful, but heaven -- singularly unattractive -- what with harps, and no skis or athletics of any kind. So for our family, there had been generations of religious indifference (we were probably pagan anyway).

But the ten commandments is an interesting list of rules. And variable, if you do some research. No one in the world could come out 100% clean, so I figure this must be judged on a bell curve. I personally wouldn't have chosen some these rules above all others, but face it, even on my very best days, no one's worshipping me (Much. Oh but now I blush).

But back to the top ten. I'd take out the "shalt not covet" one (because everyone bloody covets something every day of their life), and replace it with Thou shall be generous. Hard one to keep perhaps, but worthwhile in effort.

In fact, I suggest taking out all the shalt nots, and looking at the shall side of life. "Thou shalt not commit adultery," becomes Thou shall treasure thy spouse.

I have some other suggestions, but well, you know, it's a work in progress. I've got another five or six days, right?


  1. "Thou shall be laid back driver and let others merge into your lane." That's the one I try to live by.

    Btw, are you of Norvegian descent? Aren't all Lutherans?


  2. Interesting concept that "Thou Shall" ..... I am working on some ideas. Good one KB! We may not be coming from the same angle but your idea has great merit my friend.

    PS I might have to pass on the ADULTERY one. I been having a hard time letting go of that one since 1976 to be exact. Maybe 2009 will be the year I can move on.V

  3. Thou shall let others get the last word once in awhile.

  4. thou shalt not curse one's own ignorance, but thank thy friends and replace the inappropriate shalts with shalls on thy blog.

  5. I always thought the ideology of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure pretty much beat the 10 Commandments as an ideal way to lead a good, philanthropic, honorable, joyous life:

    "Be excellent to each other.
    And party on, dude!"

    Then again, I'm kinda blasphemous.

  6. Oh goody, a new post. An excellent one, too, I might add. Shalls. Norman Vincent Peale would be proud of you.

  7. As I grew up in then Communist Yugoslavia, I had minimal religious education...It all came later, more intellectually based. I like your approach - but much to benevolent for a deity.
    My word verification is berwomfl - now that's a great combo of letters.
    Did you ever notice that Sequoia uses all 5 vowels?

  8. Christ said if you break one commandment you break them all. So no one is pure, no one is without sin, hence the blood of Christ as the only way to cleanse and achieve oneness with God. I was born Catholic, then born again southern Baptist...then I moved to NYC!

  9. Thou shalt be thyself, and others shall be themselves, too.

  10. Yes, Bill & Ted's excellent adventurous rules of life!

    Bill Clinton & Teddy Kennedy.

  11. Ken Mac's "I was born Catholic, then born again southern Baptist...then I moved to NYC!" is a great reply! kudos to K Mac

    "Ramona" was big on hellfire. It was a mainstay in her repertory of child rearing techniques. Anyhow, sin spelled backwards (phonetically) sounds like nice.

  12. If my distant memory of it is accurate, The 10 Commandments were not a big issue in Catholic grade school, it was always the Gospels - and just now I had to check if the Gospels are actually in the Bible* or were they a stand alone item?

    And that brings me to my second point - do people really need to know that to kill and to steal is just not right?

    The Sermon on the Mount seems to be much tougher in terms of personal conduct and therefore has been pushed to the side for, oh, two thousand years.

    *yes, per wikipedia.
    [crude as it may be, I believe this is the first annotated comment in the history of blogdom.]

  13. I think I'm counting three lapsed Catholics here? Or perhaps I'm being assumptive.

    I do have a bible, but it's in Norwegian, so I can be excused for not reading it.

    K, you may be right.

  14. The 10 Commandments hung on my bedroom wall all the time I was growing up and also in classrooms. How times have changed!

  15. My father was a sociologist of religion, therefore we were given a religious education, as opposed to "gettin' religion." My religion, if I had one, would be empiricism. I keep a bible for reference but I never refer to it.

  16. I very much want to hear your other amendments to the list. I like Petrea's very much. You know, the golden rule is a pretty good shalt: Do onto others...

  17. I was born in Oklahoma on and Indian reservation, but parents were Baptist.
    I think that’s all they had in them thar days.
    11 years in Catholic school with the holy nuns, but never became Joined the church
    Wanted to be a priest in 8th grade, but they didn’t take Baptists
    Attended the Baptist Church a block from my house until I entered the Air Force
    While in the Air Force I was minister of music in a couple of Protestant Churches, but don’t remember which demonization
    I joined those churches, because I thought I should if I was going to direct their choirs
    I have been Agnostic with Atheist rising since late teen years
    One of my sisters continues to try and convert me
    My mother finally admonished her to leave me alone. I was OK!
    I can still recite the Ten Commandments and the first four questions of the Catechism
    I once wanted to join the Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints. My voice teacher was a member. He informed me that we were not allowed membership. That was cool. I probably dodged a bullet on that one.
    I figure, if there’s something over there, I’ll get it anyway (unless what is over there is Catholic)
    Then I have to do the Limbo thang for eternity.
    I hope they have good chardonnay over thar.

  18. Oh this is interesting...I drop back into this blog to see if you had any more success catching mice, and stumble onto this post.

    I too was raised Catholic. And got over it, though I still have a psychological thing about nuns.

    And I read Norwegian, oddly enough.

    But most strange of all is that I was just yesterday having a discussion about the 10 commandments with a rabbinical scholar who also said that they were best understood in the positive. Not because it makes them easier to do, but because it more clearly presents them for what they were intended to be...not legal restrictions, but rather wedding vows. It was a very interesting position, I thought. It did make a lot of sense too, considering the section right before the 10 commandments where God has the Israelites do all sorts of preparatory stuff like washing their best clothes, abstaining from sex...things that they would normally do for wedding prep.

  19. Where are you Jonderson? I'll try to find you here. Norwegian too?

    That mouse was the only one in the house proper, but there is something in the black hole of Calcutta -- ie., my basement. But I think it's a squirrel. There are acorn nut remnants, that's all. Don't want to zap a squirrel (and was too smart for the chamber anyway). Suggestions? Or is it ok to share the space with a squirrel?

  20. And, apropos to this post, thou shall let live, so I don't want to kill it.