Peterson observes that we are uneasy in the presence of the unknown. We don’t like being kept in the dark. “And so we attempt to domesticate the mystery, explain it, probe it, name and use it. ‘Blasphemy’ is the term we use for these verbal transgressions of the sacred, these violations of the holy: taking God’s name in vain, dishonoring sacred time and place, reducing God to gossip and chatter.

The term “Fear-of-the-Lord” describes not some apprehension, but “a way of life in which human feelings and behavior are fused with God’s being and revelation.”

“A common and distressingly frequent way of answering the question, ‘So now, what do we do?’ but one that avoids prayerful involvement with God in the presence of God, is to come up with a Code of Conduct. The Ten Commandments is the usual place to start, supplemented by Proverbs, brought to a focus by Jesus’ summing up (Love God/Love your neighbor), salted by the Golden Rule, and then capped off by the Beattitudes. That might seem to be the simplest way to go about it, but religious communities that take this route have rarely, if ever, been able to let it go at that. They commonly find that the particular context in which they live requires special handling: rules are added, regulations enforced, and it isn’t long before the Code of Conduct grows into a formidable jungle of talmudic regulation.”

“The other and opposite way of doing the Code of Conduct thing is to make it as simple as possible; get it down to the bare bones of bumper sticker spirituality: ‘Follow your bliss. . . . Smell the roses. . . . Do no harm. . . .’ My favorite is the fragment of a poem sometimes attributed to W. H. Auden:

I love to sin; God loves to forgive;
The world is admirably arranged.”

The Fear-of-the-Lord requires us to live in a deeper relationship. Rules won’t encompass all of our behavior. We seek not to placate nor appease, but to live with.