Posted: 24 Jun 2011 12:00 AM PDT
By Jon Walker
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. Colossians 2:16 (NIV)
During World War II, a common practice among U.S. military guards was to ask questions that, presumably, only someone from the U.S. would know (in the days before the Internet and worldwide television).
They’d ask a question like, “What league do the Chicago Cubs play in?” One legitimate U.S. general was held for several hours by security officers because he put the Cubbies in the American League instead of the National.
Comedian John Belushi, in the early days of Saturday Night Live, spoofed this kind of question in a skit where he was leading an American combat patrol and they came upon a man who was clearly German. Yet, Belushi asked him something like, “Who plays shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers?”
The German couldn’t answer, so Belushi put him at gunpoint. And the skit continued something like this:
One of the soldiers in Belushi’s squad asked, “Hey, Sarge, who does play shortstop for the Dodgers?”
Belushi jumps, saying, “Walters, if you don’t know the answer to that, you must be a German spy, too.” And he orders Walters to stand with the German prisoner.
“Jordan, tell them who plays shortstop for the Dodgers,” Belushi says.
“Gee, Sarge, I don’t know who plays shortstop for the Dodgers.” And so it goes until the only one left on the trigger side of the rifle is Belushi.
Then, one of the soldiers says, “Hey Sarge, at least tell us, who does play shortstop for the Dodgers?” Belushi thinks for a moment and then gets a panicked look on his face.
He says, “Oh man, I don’t know. I must be a German spy, too!” And he joins the others.
The apostle Paul says this is the problem with the law: We keep excluding people based on jot-and-tittle questions, such as what they eat or drink, how they celebrate a holiday, or if they wear a tie on Sunday (Colossians 2:16).
God comes in grace, saying, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6 NIV).