Friday, June 12, 2009

Something I had to re-post

Just because you guys might be interested. Don't forget to check below to see my other post from yesterday in case you guys missed it. I don't send cool emails when I update...maybe Mel will take pity on me and send one for me.

I've been trying to boil down my faith to something that I can easily explain that doesn't rely on Christian-ese. When I'm surrounded every day by people who literally laugh at the thought of a God that has a relationship with people...referencing the Bible to explain why Christianity is my "world view of choice" just doesn't seem to work well. Go figure.

So when you're not allowed to reference the Bible...what does Christianity boil down to. And if there is a God, why bother following Him? If He cared, wouldn't he let you know? Why hide, right? And why in the world would you wake up on Sunday morning to listen to some crazy guy read from an old, error prone book, just to tell you that the world came into being over 6 days, and is less than 10,000 years old?

Valid questions, I've got to admit.

Sure, we know that Jesus died for our sins, and we know that God loves us, and we don't want the people around us to burn in h-e-double hockey sticks, right? The bible says that we shouldn't lie, shouldn't kill, and it definitely gives us the responsibility to go into Iraq and bomb Sadaam out of power, right? He was a bad guy! Maybe these are all true, maybe they aren't...but the point is that those are all hot button issues that will get you ignored if you assert them with evidence that starts with "The Bible says that..."

As Christians, we've got to quit talking to each other so much. Fellowship is important, I get that. But when Fellowship Halls are more used than the altars...we have a problem. When Fellowship halls are only used for Christians to get together, and not for communities, "unsaved" friends, and people wether or not they belong to the church, why are we meeting on Sundays again?

Now don't get me wrong...I love learning about Jesus on Sunday morning, and Jesus taught in the synagogue "as was his custom" so we know that the Big Guy thought that church and meeting as believers was important. But I think that Jesus spent far more effort on the sick than the healthy...and I bet he didn't quote the Law to the Gentiles. Not because it didn't apply, but probably because He knew better than today's church does that the people who don't respect God already won't respect that old book that is supposedly "written" by him.

I think we need to simplify our view of Christianity. It's not about systematic theology, excatalogical speculation, and certainly not dogmatic teachings of one denomination over another. I wonder if Jesus would head over to the Playboy Mansion to try to chat with Heff about God. I wonder how many churches today would condemn any public evangelist who went into the Playboy mansion. I wonder how concerned Jesus was with "avoiding the very appearance of Evil." Yes, to clarify that one a bit. I don't think Jesus engaged in sinful activity...but that doesn't mean that he didn't go to a (likely shady) party with tax collectors that got him severely judged by the religious establishment of the day.

Jesus was simple. Jesus was clear. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We want to get to The Father, we go through Him. God isn't into this whole complicated business...we live His way, we go to heaven. No debates over Eternal Security, Denominations, whose church condoned slavery 150 years ago...none of it matters.

So here's my take on Christianity. You may feel like I left something out, but I challenge anyone to find something wrong with it.

1) God made us for a relationship with Him
2) We (as humans in general) ran off
3) God sacrificed Jesus to restore our relationship
4) EVERY rule in the Bible is there for our benefit, because He knows what we need better than we do.
5) Our job is to follow those rules, because it's in Him and in fulfilling our purpose that we are truly happy.

Not lying, not coveting, not stealing, killing, or being a jerk to the cashier in line in front of us. It's all for our benefit. Jesus put it well. "Love God with everything you've got. Love people as much as you love yourself." (the Kevin Paraphrased Translation) It's that simple, and I'm sick of people getting wrapped up in the details.

So you want to know how to talk to an unsaved person about God? Tell your own story. I guarantee that we all have a story about that time that we committed a sin and it screwed us over. Tell them about a God that loves us enough to give us all the answers we need. He made us for a relationship with him. We messed up, so he made a huge sacrifice to fix it. If we want to, we can live His way and be happy.

Who wouldn't want that?

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