Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rattle Some Cages

I’ve had a long few weeks with things rattling around in my head. There is so much to sort out about faith, religion, and truth. I’m trying to make sense of some of the things people have recently told me. I know that religion and church together or separate can screw up a person. I think there is value in being a Christian, but I think it’s the totally different sort of Christian. I think we are so missing the mark here. I enjoy the big church and all it offers in the sense of community programs and building friendships, but I think that really isn’t what being a Christian or living a Christian life is all about. To be a Christian is a lot more about who you chose to be and how you chose to behave in the world around you.

Our sermon was about judging. My thinking is about relationships. It is all so very complicated. Current day Christians seem to base a lot of their life on judgment and denial. We seem to spend an awful lot of time “knowing” how right we are and how we can prove it. I’m sure that isn’t what it’s all about. Of course, this writing sounds a lot like judgment. I’m really just sorting things out. I think in words on paper. Always have.

Side step religion and church here for just a minute. Those are different and separate from what I’m actually talking about. I think that around the world there are people like me. Maybe not a ton, but I believe that we are out there. We have read and understand the principles that are in the Bible. The instructions on how to live. We are humble and see our own faults—we like to call them sin. We try our best to live lives that are focused on others, loving them, serving them, not judging them, being good stewards of what’s been given to us—including the Earth. We’re certainly not perfect, but no one is. Do we have moments of hypocrisy? You bet. The difference is that we recognize them and are later sorry for them and want to live lives where that isn’t repeated. Do we fail? Yes. Do we keep trying to be better? Yes.

What about this hope in having an eternal afterlife with God? Sounds a bit insane doesn’t it? It does, but so does the idea that some of us will turn the tide of thinking on the globe and cause a turn around in behavior that will ultimately repair the damage we’ve done and prolong the life of the Earth. Even the Bible tells us that the Earth will ultimately be destroyed by man. And is having hope of something better later bad? Especially if it is the reward for a hard life? Is it wrong for me to comfort myself with a hope in something better later when I spend every moment of every day facing the depressing horror that is our world? The destruction we cause, the way we brutalize each other, the way we trample what is precious and beautiful, the way we abuse each other, and on and on it goes. Just in the last week I’ve been confided in by friends and family about the abuses they suffered from their own family members or spouses, all of whom claimed to be Christians.

The label is almost worthless. So many people are running around calling themselves one thing or another and yet really not meaning anything by it. My experience is that I’ve met and known hundreds of people all claiming to be “believers”, Christians, good moral people, or whatever their chosen label is, but in reality they aren’t. I say that because they choose to be believers or followers or Christians only when the circumstance fits. Depending on whose dinner party you are at, it’s cool to talk about your Bible study group, completely ignoring the fact that you are learning nothing at it. And certainly you will be at that party doing all kinds of non-Christian (meaning Biblical Christian) behaviors. Lets try on drinking to excess, eating too much, what about stewarding the resources of the planet, how about showing off, dressing to be desirable even though you’re not on the market, what about discussing topics that should be private, a lack of modesty, flaunting wealth, coveting other’s lives or things, lusting after someone else, gossiping. I could go on and on. All of this at a dinner party of supposed Christians!!

Now, being a Christian doesn’t mean that you live under a rock, are miserable and never crack a smile. We were intended to have joy, to have parties and friends and even a few drinks.

Being a Christian is not easy, but it isn’t bad either.

And so let’s jump off the ledge. Let’s just blaspheme and say there is no God. If reading the Bible, choosing to believe it and acting in a respectable way because of it the outcome, is it bad?

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