Saturday, November 08, 2008

Reflections on Grace and the culture wars

Grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, kindness. gentleness...

These come from a place of understanding, of not mere compassion but from empathy.

It's tragic that some of the people who least practice the American ideals embodied in the Declaration and the Preamble are the most nationalistic and pumped full of what they imagine to be patriotism. Just as some of the most zealously claiming to be Christian are so often the least Christ-like. Ever since I attended a Lutheran College, I've seen that some of the least Lutheran people are Lutherans.

Maybe this is what Ghandi meant when he said that it is necessary to be a non-Christian to see the true beauty of Christ.

The problem with the chosen, is that like the good brother who stayed home in the story of the prodigal, we become resentful. Christians want (desire) to understand a simple, clean, black and white universe. And (like adolescents) insist on our understanding of justice. In short, we desire to be in control. In essence, Christians want to be God.

The Irony is that the very people who claim to have God on their side, are even MORE under the rule of sin than all the so-called "sinners," whom they wish to change, control, punish, or eliminate. Because the original sin is thinking that we know better than God, that we are His equal.

Isn't that sad? We judge the Pharisees in the Bible when we read stories about Jesus and think, at least I'm not like THEM- but we do the same thing that they did. So busy shouting God's message that we fail to hear Him speaking, so busy administering His justice for Him that we don't see Him applying mercy. So busy building walls and turrets to defend His kingdom that we miss His call to work in His kingdom.

So busy telling people that God hates homosexuality that we forget He hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors, lepers and the demon possessed, gays and illegal immigrants. So busy arguing that abortion is the commission murder that we allow murder by sins of omission to multiply exponentiation without a care.

Like Jonah, we're all incensed that God doesn't smite all these evil-doers.

The point of this blog is often to try to explain to Christians that hey, many so called liberal values are God's values too. And sometimes when we think our moral issues are ones that God want us to force on others, we might need to reconsider.

I don't think it's wrong to doubt or question. If anything, it makes our faith stronger. But obviously, not every Christian agrees and they like to tell me so.

The Bible says to let your light shine before all men, but Elaenor Roosevelt warns that "What is to give light must endure the burning."

Sometimes being salt and light, means rusting the fancy paint job that they were so proud of and then exposing that corrosion so they can see it better.

I have no doubt that God has definitive opinions, that there are absolutes in the universe- however, how dare I (or anyone) be so arrogant as to assume that I/we/they have the unarguable, inerrant, monopoly on knowing what His absolutes are 100% of the time on 100% of the issues! THAT is one of my problems with the religious right, we all have logs in our own eyes, so how dare we dig for the specks in the eyes of others. Is this relativism? Then I guess you'll have to excommunicate me and assume I'm damned. But God's love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, mercy, and desire that people on the left not be alienated and chased away from His family by people on the right burns in my bones like fire. I want to keep silent, but I can not.

If you don't like it, then by all means, stop reading my blogs.

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