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RULES    4'?m2f Legalism: majoring in the minors

AMY -- (enters carrying bible)

LIZ -- (follows carrying Bible, shouts) Amy. Wait up.

AMY -- (turns) Good morning.

LIZ -- (approaches) I see you're on your way to church. (points
to Bible)

AMY -- (raises Bible slightly) Yes. But I...

LIZ -- Well, did you have a chance to sign your membership
agreement?

AMY -- Well, I.... (pulls folded paper from Bible)

LIZ -- (takes paper without having it offered) I hope you read
this thing before you signed it.

AMY -- Well, yes, I read it... But...

LIZ -- You know our church has pretty high standards for
membership.

AMY -- Actually, I'm not so sure about that.

LIZ -- (unfolds paper, points) I think we're the only church in
town with these rules (reads) "No smoking tobacco, no chewing
tobacco, no fermented wine, beer, liquor or other alcoholic
beverages, no going to the movies or plays, no gambling,
including the state lottery and charity bingo games, no playing
of card games and no secular music." I'd say that's pretty high
standards.

AMY -- As I said, I'm not so sure...

LIZ -- Wait a minute. You didn't sign this.

AMY -- No, I didn't.

LIZ -- You are going to sign this, aren't you?

AMY -- I don't think so. I was on my way to another church this
morning.

LIZ -- Another church?!

AMY -- Yes.

LIZ -- Why?

AMY -- Well, frankly, your standards are too low.

LIZ -- Too low?!

AMY -- Yes.

LIZ -- I can't think of any other church in town where you can
get kicked out for playing charity bingo. Can you?

AMY -- Well, no, but...

LIZ -- But what? Lots of people in town think our church is a
little too strict. They accuse us of being legalistic.

AMY -- Well, you are. But...

LIZ -- ...But you don't think our standards are high enough?

AMY -- No, I don't.

LIZ -- I don't get it. What did we leave off?

AMY -- I listed some of them on the back. (points)

LIZ -- (turns paper over, reads) "no jealousy, no gossip, no
slander, no hypocrisy, no pride, no self-indulgence, no holding
a grudge, no petty quarrels" You've got to be kidding!

AMY -- No. (points) Your church also omitted the ten
commandments.

LIZ -- Well, yes, but...

AMY -- And in addition to the list of DON'Ts, your church forgot 
to list some important "DOs". (points)

LIZ -- (reads) Do evangelism, do missionary work, do give to the
poor, do practice hospitality... You've got to be kidding!

AMY -- Why would I kid you about a thing like that?

LIZ -- Well, if we were to kick people out of our church for
breaking these rules, there wouldn't be anybody left in church.

AMY -- But all the rules I listed are from the Bible.

LIZ -- Well, you can't kick people out of church for... for...
(reads) failing to practice hospitality!

AMY -- Why not? The Book of James says that anyone who knows
what he ought to do but doesn't do it sins.

LIZ -- Well, I know. But... But that's ridiculous!

AMY -- Let me ask you. What's more ridiculous? Kicking people
out of church for committing sins listed in the Bible or
for infractions that are not even mentioned in the Bible?

LIZ -- What infractions are not mentioned in the Bible?

AMY -- Tobacco, liquor, movies, plays, gambling,...

LIZ -- ...you mean none of those things are listed in the Bible?

AMY -- (takes paper) That reminds me. I have to add one more to
the DO list.

LIZ -- What's that?

AMY -- Read the Bible. (writes) The Bereans read the Bible every
day to make sure that what their leaders were telling them was
true.

LIZ -- Oh. Yeah. But you don't really think that a church should
kick people out for... for...

AMY -- Sinning? No. Actually, a church should be a refuge for
sinners, not a place where you can be isolated from sinners. We
all need the support of each other.

LIZ -- Oh. No wonder our church is shrinking.

AMY -- Why?

LIZ -- We kick out the people who need us the most. So, all we 
have left are people who keep rules that aren't even listed in 
the Bible.

AMY -- That's legalism. (exiting) And that's why I'm going to
find another church.

LIZ -- (follows) Hey, take me with you!

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