Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nazarite vow?

Hello friends, sorry so long without a post.

As you may or may not know I am on a sabbatical, which basically means I am supposed to rest, recharge the batteries, sharpen the saw, and get ready for our next adventure. Now I prefer charging in with little preparation and even less forethought, so this is a new one for me, and to be honest, I am not really digging it. But since I knew I would be not involved in ministry, or working for three months I decided to try something that has been on my mind for atleast six months.

When I was reading through the old testament I came across the vows of the nazarite and the rules regarding it, and was for some strange reason fascinated by it. Now in my weird mind I usually think of extreme and different things to do so this didn't seem all that unusual. But what was unusual is that it didn't go away. I started to do a little research on the vow, spoke to a good friend of mine who is a Jewish scholar, and wondered what it all meant for me.

Well I decided to use my sabbatical as a chance to try out this vow business. So at the beginning of this month I started a three month nazarite vow. What exactly does that mean? Well I will explain what it is meaning for me, but in my studies I have learned that you can't really do it anymore, as you cannot break the vow because the temple and sacrifices are no longer offered, so it would be for life. I also learned that there was disagreements as to how some of these ideas are to be lived out. And lastly, I am firmly committed to the idea of grace, and I reject a strict legalism, I guessed that this vow was a way for me to draw closer to God, and to my brothers and sisters, not a rule to make me more holy.

I cannot touch anything dead, or be too near it. Which would mean missing a funeral. In my understanding of how this would be lived out I have decided to be vegetarian for this three month period, as meat is dead animal, (tasty, delicious dead animal).

I am not to eat or drink anything from the grape vine. Which technically means no wine, grape juice, grapes, raisins or grape leaves. But I decided that the spirit of the vow would include no alcohol at all.

And lastly I am not to cut the hair on my head, which I have taken to mean my beard as well, but have decided (and this may be cheating a bit) that this does not include my neck.

So far I have not really learned anything from the vow. Well, except that I have been reminded of how bad a beard itches, and how much my wife hates them. I am hoping I may learn more, but maybe this is just a time of obedience, and that is the point. Or more likely, I am just a weird dude who came upon something freaky to try and it doesn't mean much more than that. Not sure, but I will post some pics as we go along so you can seem my grizzledness.