My wife and I were joking recently about bending the rules. She had inadvertently made herself a ham sandwich for lunch on Friday during lent. For her, being raised in the Catholic church, she enjoys participating in Lenten fasting in which everything but fish is not permissible for consumption on Fridays. I quickly Googled "pig fish" and found the following link. PIG FISH As if some how ham could ever be legal on a Lenten Friday!
Most churches have lots of rules. Actually every religion seems to have a set of rules. Rules are not bad or good in themselves. Biblically rules were described in two ways, those mandated by God; laws, and those mandated by men; customs. Godly laws were created to show what is right and what is wrong. More so, they highlight our inability to do them perfectly. There is no one that has ever obeyed God's laws perfectly except Jesus. Thus the whole reason for grace and salvation through Jesus.
That part that makes me chuckle is the customs. Customs tend to identify the way a certain group of Christians worship. It allows their expression to be the same in many places. It is sometimes called a liturgy. Having grown up in the Episcopal church as a believer, we had lots of customs. I actually liked some of them. They made me feel closer to God. There were others though, that honestly seemed kind of funny to me.
I remember the first time I took my decidedly protestant kids to a Catholic wedding. One pulled out the missal and proclaimed, "there is no book of John in here." The other one cackled on about what the kneelers were for as it unfolded onto the Spanish tile with a crash. They were defiantly outside their realm in terms of customs. Even those sitting closest to us giggled when the little one asked why the pastor was wearing a dress and carrying smoke?
The important thing to see here is that customs and laws apart from the Spirit of God are really killers. If your customs don't bring you closer to God and the laws never cause you to repent, then something is really really wrong. Being good isn't what God is after. He is after a relationship with you and me. I hear the phrase so-and-so is a "good person." What the hell does that mean, they haven't killed anyone? How good is good? At what point are you bad? What is the criteria for being bad anyway? I know some Christians that think you can lose your salvation? How? The eternal God gives us eternal life. So at what point are we kicked out of eternity? Which sin is it that blows it for us? How much is Murder 1 worth in comparison to say, shoplifting? Do we get good and bad points for sinning and not sinning? I think not.
There is a story in the Bible about some pig herders. When Jesus casts the demons out of a man, they went into the pigs which drowned themselves in the lake. The Jews had a law about even touching pigs. What were they doing breaking the law herding pigs? I believe that they were trying to make a living as farmers. Eating is not a bad thing. However; this was illegal for a Jew at that time. There was not way around it. I think the illustration of how the demons chose the pigs was a great way to say that this wasn't God's way for these folks to provide for them and their families.
The moral of the story is that is this, laws are hard to keep and that's why we need Jesus to forgives us. And no, this is not how Pig Fish evolved!