07 November 1996

Parish Bylaws

There are 613 Commandments (Mitzvot) in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), of which a normal person keeps less than the first Ten.
Most folks even fall short of the spirit of the Law as summarized by Jesus and Rabbi Hillel:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your resources, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

So a few more rules are unlikely to do any good, but they probably won't do any harm either. Forthwith, in addition to the Biblical Commandments, we adopt the following Bylaws:
  1. Hold your beliefs firmly, but gently. You are not your beliefs. Ultimately, it is you that God loves and judges, rather than merely your beliefs. Beliefs are only a way of verbalizing about religion, not its content. The experience of God's presence is the content.

  2. Be gentle with the beliefs of others. Otherwise you may miss an opportunity to gain a new perspective on your own faith which, if your faith is genuine, will only broaden and deepen it. Moreover, you will drive away people who may need to partake of the spritual gifts you have to offer, if you insist on only your own terms.

  3. Every once in a while, when you assert, "I believe ..." ask yourself just exactly who is believing. After all, if you don't even know who you are, you should be very cautious in making assertions about who God is. This exercise may help you refrain from projecting your inner demons onto God when you are witnessing to others.

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