Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Yesterday I quoted unfashionably from the Bible. In college I'd taken a course on the Bible as Literature, but didn't do very well in it, in part because at that time I was not able to separate the writing from the religious aspects of it with which I was raised. I am Christian, and I'm certainly not embarrassed about God but would be very embarrassed to be associated with a great number of people who call themselves Christian.

I remember finding it a little shocking that one of the songs on a Bible Song tape I used to play with the kids included the chorus, "Everybody talking about heaven ain't going there." It plays through my head though, when I am around certain self-proclaimed Christians who attempt to enlighten everyone around them. That makes about as much sense to me as going to another country and quoting the Constitution to its citizens. The general response would be a blank look that clearly asks "And...?"

There are people in the Church who realize this isn't Christlike behavior. I once heard Paul Sheppard teach on the idea that people are out there in the world trying to correct people according to biblical lights who are not believers in them. It doesn't make sense and is frankly offensive. Gandhi once said that after reading the Bible, he would have considered becoming Christian "if I didn't know so many Christians." I don't want to be one of those.

One of the problems I observe in promoting a dogmatic Christian religion to the world is that the promoters aren't even free to love because they are too busy trying to determine whether the people who need it, deserve it. It becomes much simpler when we remember all of us need it, while none of us really deserve it. I don't mean that I think we are all worthless, but only that we all have in us the pettiness, spite and even violence that are part of human nature. We all deserve love from each other, or don't deserve it, pretty equally.

Tidy Christianity with all answers given is easier than one which reaches out to the wild wonder of God's love, a love we don't even have to earn. --Madeleine L'Engle
I have no skill with Christian Apologetics. I can't argue anyone into faith in God, let alone God as I understand Him. I am no better able to understand or explain how electricity is generated and shared through power lines. The inability doesn't stop me from using electricity, though. I don't pretend to be a model follower of my God, but I have a relationship with God as I understand Him that underlies everything in my life. I respect every other person's search to know God, a higher power, the Source of light and of life - under whatever name - according to your own experience, trusting that truth will be revealed according to its own purpose and not mine.

Do you need proof of God? Does one light a torch to see the sun? --Chinese proverb

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