Obsessive (Denim Faith #5, 2015-0906)

. 4 min read

Christ Church, Mountain Top (Commune, Labor Day)
Faith: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Lunch Pail Crowd, and Leviticus
Children, Mark 10.17-27 (rich man, eye of the needle,
Leviticus 4.27-31, 5.1-6, 20.7-8,
others; Galatians 3.1-18
Gritty Dirt Band song, “Life’s Railway
to Heaven”
            “Step on a crack …”
            Baseball players and their dirty
            Lock the door, unplug the curling
            Hand washing
      Related behaviors
            Blame – scapegoat (Geico ad), peanut
butter factory
                  “If something goes wrong, you
find a scapegoat.
                  That’s what you do”
the blame”
            Stunted relationships
                  Misplaced desire, unsatisfied
                  Walls raised to protect us
from pain, unconnected
& Caleb and the toy box
      All of us have some obsessive stuff going
      Including Leviticus …
High performance people – Larry Bird

good things we have learned in Lev
      Giving God our BEST
      Creating community and the ethics of the
      Unity of the vulnerable
      Holiness of the excluded
      Holiness that is holistic – all of
creation, all of human existence
            (economy, ecology, slavery, immigration,
obsession in Leviticus comes as a GIFT because it teaches us
      Sin offerings are for unintentional sin
            Anyone else more concerned about
your intentional sin?
      Unintentional sin in the Leviticus list
            Failure to testify when you know
something (not speaking up)
            Making a promise without really
thinking about it
anything unclean, including human uncleanness
are subject to punishment. You are guilty” (Lev 5.1-6)
      Uncleanness – contamination fears
            Animals that cannot be eaten
            Women after childbirth
            Skin diseases, mold, mildew
            Bodily discharges associated with
human sexuality (chapt 15)
                  Complex relationship with
            Can you get through a day without
becoming unclean?
      Day of Atonement (chapter 16)
            Gift to Israel to cover sins not
otherwise covered
of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel, and because of their
transgressions, all their sins … all the iniquities of the people of Israel,
and all their transgressions, all their sins (Leviticus 16.16, 21)
            Goat as sin offering, goat as
“scapegoat” (traditional word)
            Gift to the priests to keep them
from dying! (16.1-2)
                  Loss control
holiness built on our performance is full of gaps at best and entirely bankrupt
at best. In the traditional song, we are told to “never falter, never fail”.
Really? Is that the religious secret? Now, I still like the song. I like the
reminder to keep looking forward, even when times are tough; the call to
bravery throughout life; the recognition that there are many obstacles before
us. But any perfection, even limited to focus, that is performance-based is
      Mark 10:25-27   It is easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of
God.”  26 They were
greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be
saved?”  27 Jesus looked
at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God
all things are possible.”
      Holiness, in as much as it is tied to
salvation, is not achievable through performance. This is the great gift of the
obsession of Leviticus. It can’t be done! We need the day of atonement, or
something, or someone, even better. Instead of holiness that is Performance-based,
we need holiness that is Promise-based.
      Leviticus 20:7-8  Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy;
for I am the LORD your God.  8
Keep my statutes, and observe them; I am the LORD; I sanctify you.
      Galatians 3:2  Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works
of the law or by believing what you heard? 
Galatians 3:18  For if the
inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God
granted it to Abraham through the promise.

      The Lord’s Table