Modern Pharisees in the I-15 Corridor?

Mogs is back!

This is news.

I just read her post, Pharisees, Scribes, and Modern Disciples.

I have been thinking about Pharisees today, too, while reading Richard Neitzel Holzapfel’s book (and Gaye Strathearn), He Will Give You Rest (Deseret, 2010).

The book is about trying to obtain rest in the midst of works righteousness, the Sermon on the Mount, and emotional/spiritual/physical exhaustion. (“Matthew’s report of the Savior’s ministry emphasizes works-righteousness, which, as we have said, are the things we must do to gain salvation” – p. 101.)

So what is the answer for Holzapfel?  Well, try to distinguish the difference between a Pharisee’s yoke and God’s yoke.  One made by human hands versus one carved by Christ.

What would a modern pharisee look like and his yoke?  Holzapfel suggests,

Today, we do not expect a group of Pharisees to come from Jerusalem to see if we are observing the traditions of the elders.  Instead, modern society and popular culture have created a new set of traditions, obligations, and expectations that can weigh us down.  These include the pursuit of perpetual youth and the never-ending need to be popular, admired, and envied.  They also include the need to conform to political correctness–to accept what society declares right instead of allowing people to vote their conscience.  Diversity, a much-touted slogan, is unacceptable when it diverges from what popular culture accepts and promotes.  As a result, society points a proverbial finger and attempts to shame, belittle, challenge, pressure, and condemn us for the way we live, adding to our burdens the weight of public disapproval just as heavy as the Pharisees’s self-righteous condemnation of Jesus in these stories.

On a basic level, the commandments of men or traditions of the elders include the pressure to live in the right neighborhood, to drive the right car, and to own the right wardrobe.  Elder Bruce C. Hafen captured the essence of the spirit of our times when he wrote: “Every day we hear messages of indulgence from today’s culture of self-absorption and personal entitlement: you are entitled to a life of pleasure; go ahead, pamper yourself–you deserve it.”

Could it be then that the contributors to things like the Salt Lake Magazine are the Pharisees in the I-15 Corridor?

I don’t quite follow this.

But I can quite clearly understand the words, “Confessions of a Recovering Legalist” by my friend, Bob Gonzales, because I was once in that trap, too.

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