faith

how not to shove God down people’s throats

[Editor’s Note: well, I’m the editor and i just like calling myself that. Please read this blog before, or after, or both, the blog previous titled “I pray that you not know God” which goes along with many of the ideas presented in this one. I tend to ramble a bit and will publish a blog before I’m really done with it, but instead of editing and possibly having lots of people read the “wrong” version, I’ll just continue… dankeshon. darling dankeshon.]

Partly mulling over the blog and comments made by John Shore, my new favorite blogger/writer (read the blog and comments, when you have a few hours to spare… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shore/how-is-convert-sinner-lov_b_609410.html)

For the busy reader: so, the key point he makes is that Christians often forget the Great Commandment in lieu of the Great Commission – meaning they forget to love and are just about converting. As if they are column A and column B kinds of choices. I agree mostly with what he wrote but I did have a few things that kinda made me go, wait a sec. Thus the blog that says more than “hey go read this blog.”

CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN!

For one thing, telling people to change is EXACTLY what Jesus did and therefore is, in a way, what we should do. But here’s the thing – Jesus loved the CRAP outta people and was compassionate and wanted so desperately for them to know and love and understand. He reached out to some of the socially lowest tier people of the day and basically said, listen, you aren’t happy. You know it, I know it. What are you going to do about it? Your life sucks. You’re miserable. You need to either jump off a high building (oh wait, no skyscrapers yet, so you’re outta luck there) or give your life to me.

But seriously, with all due respect, Jesus was in tune with where people were at and he LISTENED and he QUESTIONED and he brought them along to a place where they KNEW they needed him. It wasnt about a well defined argument or a bashing over the head. He saved the bashing heads routine for the uber religious folk who thought they had it all together. He really didnt have time for them. He didnt make time for them, or the ones who wanted to just stand around and argue or poke holes in his ideas. He wanted to be with the ones who were ALREADY SEEKING and in pain. He wanted to give words of encouragement and teaching and life skills to the ones who recognized he knew what he was talking about. Or at the very least were open and curious enough to listen for awhile. Who knows what most of them did with it? We dont. We only know what we read and can just guess that here we are thousands of years later with more followers of the Way and a faith that has stood the test of time. More or less.

FORGET GOD

The other point was that whole thing I just posted before about forgetting what it is like to NOT know God, to NOT believe. If you’re a strict Calvinist, you understand that we had so little to do with CHOOSING to believe, and the sooner we relinquish the idea that “we” are right and “they” are wrong, the better. There is nothing right about us, we are dead in sin and deceit. Like the adoption analogy, we were not His and now we are His, and that is not an act we can claim any ability for. So telling someone all they have to do is say a prayer and give their life to Christ is a joke really. It isn’t about you really much at all, and regardless of what words are said, the question of belonging to God is one that is answered for the rest of our lives every day as we learn to take up our cross and follow Him daily.

CHRISTIANS ARE COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL

And then, there’s the question of rationality. What IS rational after all? Is it the opposite of hysterical? Remember for a moment with me that historically speaking, “hysterical” comes from the idea that hysteria affected women because of their uterus and stuff. I only bring this up because I’d like you to consider the fact that like it or not, hysteria and rationality are mostly subjective and a moving target. The common tactic for people frustrated with Christians is to blame some kind of mass insanity like Marx who claimed religion is the opiate of the people.  And vice versa Christians like to label nonbelievers as emotionally cut off and “if they would only open their minds…”

Well I find both sides of the equation to be senseless at times and find it equally frustrating when the debate boils down to pointless name calling and insults, and lumping “all christians” and “all atheists/agnostics” into one big team. The human mind is a fascinating and complex place and when we let others in it becomes such a huge task to explain and to lead them through. For either side and all sides of the debate. words do fail us and sometimes our egos or our emotions or our uteruses get in the way. That’s when we need to step back and go have a beer or something.

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