I set the tripod up. The hill overlooking the lake giving me a perfect view of the moon. I look through the viewfinder composing the shot. The in camera meter blinking. Warning me that the image will be underexposed. The camera taking in the entire view to determine the proper settings. But those settings are deceiving. The moon comes out too bright. No detail to be seen. So I ignore the warning and my instincts. I experiment and take each shot with different settings.
In photography or any type of creative endeavor you are taught certain rules. In writing we learn grammatical rules. In photography you learn rules of composition, how to meter for proper exposure so that the photo isn’t too dark or too bright and many others. In most situations you learn to trust these rules. You learn to trust the settings your camera tells you will make a proper exposure.
Eventually, though, you encounter situations and you have to ignore the ingrained pull to trust the rules. Artists learn when the rules need to be broken to achieve the effect they desire.
Or perhaps the rules that always worked for you begin to suffocate you and you realize they do not bring about the image you visualize for your art.
Rules and Laws
What about rules made by humans? I’m not speaking of government laws or even guidelines such as school dress codes. There are reasons those are in place especially for our safety.
Perhaps a better way to define these would be the unspoken yet understood rules a community or organization has. I wonder if perhaps we would do well to measure these unspoken rules against what Christ says sums up the law.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40 NIV)
There are people who allow man made rules to completely define their worth. They may shun you if you break their rules.
There are those who have listened and followed rules defined by others for so long they can’t understand why you would break the rules. They aren’t sure what to make of your rebelliousness.
Then there are those who God uses to work within those rules yet they aren’t defined by the rules. These will understand and support you.
There are rules God wants us to live by. There are laws of the cities, states and country where we live that we have to follow for our well being and the well being of others.
Then there are rules that reek of pharasiacal judgement. Rules that seek to destroy our value instead of giving life. Rules that pounce judgement on the offender when one is broken. If we measure each of our actions against the first and greatest commandment and the second then we no longer have to be defined by rules we cannot hope to keep.
Sometimes we have to know when rules need to be broken.