Thursday, February 7, 2013

Slipping The Leash

I feel a little like a hound that slipped it’s leash and I’m finding it hard to get back up on the porch. Having been raised in fairly fundamentalist churches, biblical inerrancy and all that, I find myself leaking out of that comfortable niche and wondering what’s happening in my walk with the Lord.

There are strains of public condemnation in today’s church that I find totally off putting, which is my code phrase  for “drives me bat crap crazy”.  How to put this…..Some parts of the bible make me cringe. Not many, at most a few hundred verses out of thirty thousand, but enough to make me , well, cringe.

And I find equally cringe worthy the way a lot of Christians use parts of the Bible. Parts of the Bible that by themselves don’t make me cringe. I no longer believe that the Bible was ever intended for use as a science text, in fact I get weirded out at the incredible contortions some go through to use the Bible to “scientifically” prove things that are just plain ignorant, like the age of the earth. Or how God chose to create stuff. Couldn’t an all powerful God create things any way He chose? Like by evolution? Can Christ worshipping gays really be an abomination? And don’t get me started on eminently learned scholars and theologians that can’t agree on the color of stop signs much less the meaning of scripture.

There was a time in my life that I used my credulous nature to separate myself from God. That didn’t work out too well. So about ten years ago I began doing something I should have done forty years ago, beginning my day with prayer and reading scripture, and curiously, that has been a huge part of my trip off the porch. But the fact that I’m off the porch doesn’t mean I’ve left the reservation. Today my questions don’t separate me from God, they’ve driven me to Jesus.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

There's Nothing New

There’s nothing new. I was just reading a blog post by a man leaning in his faith to Universalism. The idea that there are many paths to God. That if one leads a Christ like life, you have embraced Christ, whether you acknowledge Him as Savior or not.

 I remember wondering  50 years ago “How could it be possible for someone who had never heard of Christ through an accident of geography and birth, yet lived a good life, go to hell?” Or asking myself the question, “Do I really believe that Gandhi and Hitler ended up in the same place?” So really, there’s nothing new, each generation of believers has to struggle with the same questions their forbears grappled with.

It doesn’t help that, contrary to what my fundamentalist friends believe, on issue after issue the Bible is ambiguous, not black and white. Or that many fine Christians disagree on the purpose and relevance of many passages in the Bible for today’s culture. Not many would say that stoning adulterers to death is an appropriate penalty for adultery in today's society. Jesus said take care of the poor, Paul said unless they can work. So what’s the point? I’ve come to believe that scripture is the total revealed mind of God, that you cannot contain an infinite God in a finite text. So there’s going to be some lack of clarity and unanimity among believers.

Here’s how I feel about Universalism. I believe that Jesus meant it when He said that “No man comes to the Father except by me.”  That’s how I choose to witness. Many times I find people reject that teaching while embracing Christ, so I’ll leave it to God to decide if that’s good enough.  In the meantime if someone embraces the teachings of Christ as they would a great philosopher, the worlds a better place. So I settle for that.

All Jesus asked of me was to carry the message. I do that, albeit poorly, and know that all will be revealed, just not here on earth.