Chuck Gutenson of Imitatio Christi has a great post on the Ten Commandments. While discussing his discomfort with recent arguments for displaying the Ten Commandments, he argues that the commandments lose any grounded meaning when they are taken out of the larger overarching context of scripture in which they are found. He writes that God is not a cosmic killjoy and instead,
God is more analogous to the parent whose love for his child leads him/her to give instructions that will prevent them from being hurt. God, knowing all the details of our having been created, gives instructions aimed to maximize, not minimize, our longer term well-being.”
Some folks who come from strongly fundamentalist backgrounds tend to undertsand GOd’s commands in a far different way. It seems to me they understand the commandments more as tests of our obedience rather than as life-giving instructions designed to teach us how to be truly human. I hope that we can extend the teachings of scripture as grace-giving and life-filled instead of merely casuistic guidelines meant to test our ability to obey God.