Monday, October 13, 2014

God, Teach Me What I'm For, Not Just What I'm Against

From the nakedpastor
Lord, you have seen my white knuckled hands holding onto a shred of faith amid insinuations from self-enthroned Christians claiming my faith isn't real because the God I believe in is not the one true God.

And you have seen my tear-stained face as I wept for how alone I felt
and how devastating it can be
when you look back to some of those on the other side
and all they have left to offer are there condolences
their condemnation
but no more conversation or confession.

You are El Roi, the God Who Sees Me, shattered piece of clay being held together by gossamer threads of divine gold, who has used her shards to lash out in anger
sometimes justly
but many times unmercifully, unjustly.

You are The One who has seen me paint myself with the full spectrum of color pouring from the prism of Your God's Eye,
yet painting those with whom I disagree with the stark, flat contrast of black and white.

You have seen me hurt and be hurt.

I want to to be the one You see bind,
to be an embodiment of Your
hundred proof grace.

I want it to be known,
that the religion I believe in
the God I follow
sends Her children into the word to bind up the brokenhearted
to bring justice to the oppressed
liberty to the captives
to be comforters to the devastated
and to build up what was ruined and pilfered
(hearts, bodies, souls, minds)
into a bounteous land
filled with tall,
mighty oaks.

My Father, My Mother, I know that I could most certainly be wrong, but I have chosen this path because if I am to err, I want to err on the side of inclusion, and if in this way I have erred I have full trust in your heart, that You Who Are Love is the safest place I can stand when I am wrong.

You Who Are Love is the safe place for all of us who are working out our faith with fear and trembling,
a scripture reference I didn't understand much when I was so pious and young and certain,
whose meaning I am still feeling reverberate, undefined and immeasurable, in my own life.
But I tremble and I pray
that I have the humility to model that safety for others.

I am for freedom, justice, grace, forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation,
and none of it cheaply won or fought for or only dreamt about in Your future kingdom
but championed for On Earth As It Is In Heaven, however feebly,
however imperfectly,
however haphazardly and fully human,
because when it is all said and done,
I want to be for You.

So when I am laid to rest,
they may say that I worshipped a God other than their own,
but they can never say I had any other gods before Her.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The No True Christian Fallacy

You cannot preach a Gospel of unconditional love and then proceed to lay ideological conditions on the Children of God. The moment you utter, "No true Christian would believe," you negate your commitment to preaching the Gospel.

The accusation that no true Christian would believe

in open theism
that marriage equality is not a sin
that it's okay to support lowering taxes
that it's right to go to war
that God is feminine as well as masculine

whatever ideological enemy you could substitute for that variable, you take away the Gospel from those people. You are telling them that you have figured out that being a true Christian is about who you vote for, how you think the world was created, and not about who you've been forgiven by.

It is painful to be on the receiving end of, "No true Christian would...," but not only does the pain it causes others make it wrong, it's also wrong because it betrays a deeply held sin: that of hubris. Of believing that you have separated the wheat from the chaff, you have sussed out the minutiae of God's law and how it should be applied today, you have reduced the Gospel to a set of doctrinal bullet points.

But there are republicans supping at the table. There are democrats, communists, anarchists, and independents. Same sex married couples, celibates, straight couples, people who oppose marriage equality and people who support it. Evolutionists and young earth creationists. Hardcore traditionalists and liberal revisionists.

To each and every one of them, Jesus says, "Take, and eat."

To think you're anything other than the lowly prostitute or corrupt tax collector who has to fall hard on the mercy of God, to think you're the ideological Puritan,
that is the antithesis to Gospel.

But I won't say no true Christian would do that, because true Christians commit that sin constantly as they fumble through their faith with fear and trembling.

True Christians falter and make mistakes.
True Christians hurt each other.
True Christians believe the wrong things.
True Christians need Jesus.

They need him like they need water because that's all that is left at the end of the partisan bickering and ideological lines in the sand and elevation of certainty over love.

All that's left is Jesus. So fall hard on his mercy, because he welcomes you openly, and we won't give you a test on right doctrine before doing so.