Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An Eternity with Morons

Recently, I was asked if I was sure I was even saved. And not in the “I am deeply concerned for your spiritual well being and eternal residence” kind of way. It was more in the “You disrupted my theology, I don’t like the way that feels, so I will attack you personally in a manner that makes me feel superior to you” kind of way.

At the time I laughed it off. I was rather amused, because the only thing in this life that I am certain of is that I have a real relationship with my God. It is everything else that can be kind of shaky.

But later, the question began to bug me. And not the “Oh my God, could she possibly be right?” convicted kind of way. It was more of the “How dare she even insinuate such a thing” kind of way. Conviction followed shortly after some rather uncharitable thoughts about the person, me questioning her salvation, planning on how I was going to be a great tool - first, in her enlightenment and secondly, her repentance for doubting my dazzling theological intellect.

It is amazing how un-Christians can be when we talk about our Christianity. We get all self righteous, and convinced that we are the only ones who truly know who God is and how He does things. We begin to believe that only those who agree with us can possible be saved and everyone else is going to hell. And I am not so sure that that feeling isn’t accompanied by some sense of relief – as in the “Oh good, I didn’t want to spend eternity with that moron anyway” kind of way.

The essence of the conversation that led to this anger provoking question was God had to conform to certain ideology that provided this person with absolute confidence that God would never do something they did not approve of. I countered with God is absolutely capable of doing whatever He pleases and should He choose to upset your paradigm than He will – and it would not be out of his character or not in keeping with His nature. It is one of the perks of being God, you get to have it your way all the time, except when you chose not to – and then it’s called grace.

Somewhere in the midst of the conversation, I got the “shut up” message from God. He sends them more than I receive them, but sometimes, when He shouts, I get a clue. So I tried to extricate myself from the situation with a little grace, end on a note we could all agree on. It went like this (if you know me then you have heard me say it, so no it probably isn’t you I am writing about.)

“Maybe we should leave it at agreeing to disagree. After all there is so much that we do agree on, right?” I say nodding my head until she began to parrot me.

“God loves us and created us to have relationship.” Agreement was given.

“Jesus fully God, fully man, lived, died and rose again for our sins.” Again we had agreement.

“And we can only experience salvation through him.” Once again, agreement.

We parted warily, liked two armed gun men both aware that the other could turn and shoot us in the back while we retreated. There was no sense of community that arose from the conversation, nor do I think that we fostered any type of relationship, but that could just be me and my wounded feelings.

Theological debate and arguments can be good things. They help us clarify what we believe, and make us articulate ideas and concepts that float around in our heads like fog. They help us weed out heresy, and force us keep some sort of coherence in our thoughts about God, but too often our thoughts about God become our image of God.

There was a reason that the second commandment says we should not create a graven image of God, and most of us don’t break this one – at least not literally. But maybe it is time that we extracted the principle for use in our day, because everyone I know, including me, has an image of God. It is my favorite idea of who and what he is. He is the God I like, and his parameters are well defined.

I have come to believe that our walk of faith is less about knowing God, and more about realizing what we don’t know about him. It is about tearing down the image of him I carry around in my mind and can defend so well.

Maybe this is why we get so crazed when we talk about the God we believe in, and someone disagrees. We know they aren’t tearing down God, we know they have walked up to our idol and smacked it with a baseball bat. It tends to set us off, but I have discovered something – only an idol needs our defense, only an image we have made needs us to use dirty tactics to preserve their dignity. God, the real God, is pretty good at taking care of himself. Defense is not our job, loving each other is. And when we get too busy protecting our image of him, it’s the one thing we just can’t do.

And by the way, we should all prepare for an eternity with morons, I am pretty sure I will make it, and I hope you do too.

1 comment:

amy :) said...

"only an idol needs our defense".. digging it. maybe I should rethink my plan of action involving a certain health and wealth leader.. ;)