Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mayans and Hobbits and Baptists

Many are worried about the Mayan calendar stopping at the end of 2012.  Please, don't.  When they weren't busy sacrificing humans to the sun and building those neat-o jaggedy pyramids, they somehow figured out when the first installment of The Hobbit films was to be released.  They marked their calendar accordingly.  That's all it is.

And it is that I worry about.  Being the giant Hobbit nerd I am, I've been keeping track of a few things and am greatly troubled by what I have seen.  For example, Legolas was not, I repeat, was not in The Hobbit.  Yet who is going to be in the movie?  His name begins with "Lego" and he has pointy ears.
There may also be an arc of romance included.  Romance of all things!  When I want romance I'll go home, or watch The Notebook, a film I have been saving for such a time in my life when I get a hankering for some anabolic-stacker level romance.  There is no romance in The Hobbit.  Do you see that little dot at the end of the previous sentence?  That is a period, end of the line.  Peter Jackson what are you thinking?
And it's not just the big things I worry over.  Consider when the dwarves escape the Elvin cellar-jails.  They did so packed in barrels floating down a river.  The only member of their party not packed in a barrel was good Mr. Bilbo.  Yet I fear even something so slight as that will be deviated.  I am envisioning some cutesy-tootsie hyperbolic adaptation with holes and big dwarf eyes and noses peeking out of Hollywood hogsheads.
Why mess with the original?  This is the question of the ages.  It applies to cookies as well.  How I long for the days of the simple cookie, pure in an undiluted single flavor.  Chocolate chip cookies are magical, as are peanut-butter, and oatmeal.  The chocolate-craisin-butterscotch-bran cookie loses much in the translation; too busy in intent; the malediction of messing with perfection.
Now, take all these concerns of mine and tilt your head.  When the wind is blowing just right and all else is very still, my worries can be heard on the roaring voice of the great bull mouse from his secret lair somewhere over by the acorn tree.
But here is, I guess, what makes me a Baptist.  I will see The Hobbit films.  And such is the cookie-impoverished state of my existance that I will eat nearly any concoction placed before me.  And I'll like it, by golly!  But I will not compromise on the oft-overlooked idea, yea and verily some might say outdated concept, of doctrine.
Using the trusty KJV, the words 'doctrine' and 'doctrines' appear in fifty-five verses throughout scripture.  Compare this to the fifty-four verses mentioning 'hell'.  As Nigel Tufnel said, "Well, it's one louder, isn't it?"  Indeed it is Nigel, indeed it is.
Basing salvation as a starting line, doctrines are the lane markers.  And no, doctrines don't replace the grace or the love or the compassion Christ has for us or that we are to have for others.  Though an argument could be made that without doctrines things like grace and love and compassion are diluted.  And no, I'm not going into specific doctrines right now.  I'll save those particular eyeball glazing discussions for later because, really, it is the rare person who hangs on long enough to learn specific doctrines.
But do you remember when God gave the instructions to Moses on how to build the tabernacle?   I'm sure it's right on the tip of your brain.  You probably woke up this morning thinking about just that...  Anyway, those instructions were incredibly specific, like down to colors and materials, and lengths and widths and stuff.  And what did Moses do?  He did what he was told and the temple was made according to God's will and not his.  And yeah, I'm sure, it was a pain coming up with all that scarlet fine twined linen.  But if God wants scarlet fine twined linen, who are we to say orange rayon is just as good?  We are not making a movie here and we're not at liberty to clean out the shelves with odds and ends of ingredients.
This is getting a little long so I'll end by giving some homework.  Read Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7.  I'm going to have a lot (a couple of semi-trailer loads at least) to answer for when the time comes, but as a pastor I really want to avoid this being one of them.

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