Back to blogging about the book my sister, Paula, and I are reading. We took a little Christmas break but we are winding down to the end of the book by Joan Chittister. The chapter I am “in charge” of this week is the chapter that deals with the 10th commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.” Exodus 20:17
Chittister relates several stories in this chapter to illustrate her points and even though I felt that she was a little repetitive in this chapter I was able to get a few of her points. She presents the argument that has been going on for generations as to whether the commandments are more action centered than idea centered and if they are concerned more toward ethical behavior or the development of right attitudes. I would like to think that perhaps they are a little of both??? But obviously we cannot “obey” them without actually taking action. I mean really—-you can talk about something endlessly but if you don’t take action what good is it?
The chapter outlines the difference of the interpretation of the last two commandments in different cultures and perhaps the easiest for me to understand was the definition that we as Christians should have of these commandments. To put it simply we need to be separate from the material aspects of life in order to appreciate the spiritual aspects.
Summed up in the following words I can make sense of this chapter: “The essence of the ninth and tenth commandments is, in the end, really the substance, the embodiment of the first commandment: It is the putting away of idols, the melting into God, the awareness there there is only one thing in life that matters. Finally.” I love that visual—melting into God!!!! I need to remember that one!
I wasn’t taken by this chapter as I was with some of the earlier ones and I am not sure why. Maybe my attentions are elsewhere (like with those in Haiti) but I did not get too many ah ha moments in this chapter. Maybe Paula got more out of it than i did. I did think it was a bit repetitive of earlier chapters. Once again the author reminds us that it is not wealth or having things that is the issue here—it is what we choose to do with what we have that makes the difference. True, true!