December 2008


“You want to make Christians look bad?

Ask them to explain what happened to a person like Mahatma Gandhi — a kind, non-violent, respected, revolutionary, non-Christian man — after he died.

Honest Evangelical Christians will tell you what they believe: He’s currently rotting in hell.

Atheists and Jews and gay people will suffer the same fate, too — unless they convert. (And since these Christians ‘love’ you, they’ll do whatever it takes to ‘save’ you from the misery.)

It doesn’t make them very popular, of course, but if accepting Jesus’ divinity is the only path to heaven, then those who don’t believe in it have to suffer forever… Right?

That seems downright cruel and unusual for anyone with a decent moral sense… and yet, it’s supposed to be a cornerstone principle for Bible-believing Christians.”

Friendly Atheist

This is why I may be leaving my faith. Not my faith in a loving God by my faith in christian religion; the conservative, evangelical faith; even the traditional, orthodox faith.

In reality most Evangelical Christians will tell you what they want to believe: Only God knows. But their interpretation of the bible calls for an honest and couragous answer: I don’t know only God knows BUT he is probably rotting in hell.

This IS downright cruel and unusual for anyone with a decent moral sense. And it is a cornerstone principle for “Bible-believing” Christians.

My problem is that this immoral act of eternal damnation is at odds with my view of a God of Love as portrayed and embodied in Jesus. So what is a person to do?

to be continued

As this year comes to a close, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on what has been a turbulent and yet remarkably fulfilling year. A year of great doctrinal stretching that has followed a number of years of dormancy.

Up until a year ago I could have been called a conservative, mildly charismatic evangelical. I held loosely to six day creationism and had recently rejected the Hal Lindsay end times scenario, however, both these sets of beliefs are outlined in the margins of my first bible. I’m not saying that I accepted every thing that was taught to me, I have always been like Doug Pagitt describes himself in A Christianity Worth Believing: “I am a contratian.” I have had both my wife and mother-in-law in tears because I destroyed long held beliefs that they held, so I have not been adverse to change.

However, this past year my faith has been re-wakened and all the filters that I used to viewed my world and to interpret scripture have been torn down. I no longer look at life through a conservative filter, nor a charismatic or evangelical filter. I’m not naive enough to think that I don’t still have filters but I am at least aware that they are there. I have in my arsonal a wide range of filters that I can knowingly pick up and look at the facts that are presented to me (including the old ones that I layed aside).

So what are the issuses that I have wrestled with?

  • I would now call my self an evolutionary creationist.
  • I am currently a strict pacifist. (Violence and the threat of violence is only valid for a political entity which the kingdom of God is not.)
  • I believe that church should be a communitas and not an institution.
  • I believe in Jesus’ definition of church leadership – that of a child or a slave (one without authority). Leadership in the kingdom should be leadership by example of character and of sound doctrine. Not lording doctrine but living it.
  • I am post-charismatic.
  • I have come to believe in a cross of cure not punishment. The cross was not the substitute for my punishment but the cure for my sin. This describes the God of love far better.
  • And I am currently wrestling with the morality of a God that would create us with freewill set us up for failure; create a place of endless torment for those who fail; and send the majority of humanity to this eternal hell. If that is God then I am ready to walk away. If I, an evil man would not even submit an Adolf Hitler to such a destiny, then how much more a Heavenly Father.

I have been influence by:

My goal for this new year is to blog regularly. Not to add yet another voice to the conversation, though that may happen, but to be a record of the process I hope will continue into the coming year.

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Don’t believe every thing you think!

In a recent post, Bill Easums called for us to drop buzzwords.

“missional, incarnational, attractional, organic, externally driven, purpose driven, and the ever present emergent”

I realize that these words can have the possibility of having some confusion as different people and groups use them differently, however, they are descriptive and thus can help us understand one another. After all, would we also want to drop the other buzz words? – evangelical, charismatic, protestant, or orthodox. Or how about right wing/ left wing, conservative/ liberal, or modern/ post-modern? Should we drop them all? Or should we work at coming up with some standard definitions?

I don’t necessarily like buzz words either but we do need some way to set up markers that help others understand were we are coming from. So with that said, I will label myself post-charismatic, missional, maybe even a liberal conservative.