A couple weeks ago I found a website that offers free audio files. Not music, just sounds you might encounter in everyday life. I’ve used their sounds on my “Play Ball!” and “Tuning to True A440” posts. What I most appreciate about this site is how they spell out the terms of use.

If ever you’ve installed any kind of software or signed up for a web service, like paperless billing from your electric company, then you’ve encountered the EULA—End User License Agreement. The EULA describes in painstaking detail what you, the user, are allowed to do. I don’t know anyone, except for maybe a lawyer with time on his hands, who has read the EULA. We just click the “Agree” button and move on.

Here is what thefreesoundproject presented on their site: a regular, old “Creative Commons Legal Code” and a “Human Readable Creative Commons License.” In the simple, “human readable” license it shows that I am free:

  • “To sample, mash-up, or otherwise creatively transform this work for commercial or noncommercial purposes.”
  • “To perform, display, and distribute copies of this whole work for noncommercial purposes (e.g., file-sharing or noncommercial webcasting).”

Just as lawyers and doctors tend speak in their own trade language, so do many Christians. We call it Christianese. It’s something church growth conferences have discouraged, saying that newcomers need to be able to understand us. I wholeheartedly agree, which is why at my church, since I’m still a bit of a newcomer, I keep asking questions and advocating for visitors.

Jesus also advocated for newcomers. Not only was the Law of Moses entirely complex for the average Jewish person, but people like the Pharisees managed to compound the issue with a plethora of nitpicky rules.

Once Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, and here is his reply:

“The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” —Mark 12:29-31 ESV

You could read the entire Old Testament, which many Christians are apt to avoid, and memorize all the laws, but it still comes down to love. Love God and love your neighbor. If you only looked at the Ten Commandments, you’d find that all ten are related to loving God first and loving others.

It’s so simple, yet none of us has been able to do it. It’s why Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. No one has succeeded at loving God first and loving others above even himself until Jesus. But as we grow closer to him, our hearts beat with a stronger love for God and a compelling love for people.

There’s the simple, human readable version of the law.


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