So when you perceive unwritten rules unwittingly applied to you, the gut response is an anxious grab to fix it. The Rules draw you in. You know enough to know that people are talking about you, writing it down (in pen!), passing it around, and, in the end, ignoring you. Still we desperately need help, and we reason the only way to get the help is to comply. We wear those dreadful paper gowns that the Rules make us don and even pretend we like them.
The deal is — that anxiety turns easily into a stifling obsession — a nihilistic show . . . about nothing.
And that’s not the point either.
Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives,
face my family Jacob with their sins!
They’re busy, busy, busy at worship,
and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people—
They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’
and love having me on their side.
But they also complain,
‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way?
Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’