12 March 2008

Heretic in Training

I've been writing this post in my head for over a week now. I have phrases and words, but I am not sure how it will all come together in the end. I have come head to head with the fact that I don't believe what I thought I believed anymore.

For clarification, I believe in God, but I don't see Him in the same "authoritative parent" frame anymore, but as loving, reconciling, and engaging. I don't feel the need to contrive a relationship of my own making, but know that He is a part of every breath I breathe, in all the life that I live.

I believe in Jesus, the Son of God who died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. He is that one great love. I was struck again recently with that awe of He died for me. Although, I am continually having my picture of Jesus repainted, as through the years, all the ungodly things done with His name slapped on them have really made a distortion of the picture I have of Jesus in my mind.

I used to be afraid to ask questions, feeling that either I should already know the answer, or thinking in my subconscious mind that I don't need to know, and can trust that others before me, either in church leadership or church history have already asked this question and figured it out. The few times that I had asked questions, I saw that it drew lines dividing the us from the them, so to speak, and this also caused me to shy away from such questions. Looking back to that girl from where I am now, I can't even believe she was me.

I am not afraid to think about universal reconciliation – I can't blindly believe that God made atonement for sin that some people may never be able to access based on location. If creation testifies to the Creator, I have to think in some places that must be enough. Of all things, we know that God is not unjust. Being destined for hell because you were born without the Bible or the gospel as westerners understand it does not jive with justice at all. It used to terrify me to question this – being taught that one needed the "sinner's prayer" and a brisk walk down the "Roman's Road to Salvation" in order to be right with God. I think there is more to it, and I'm not afraid to dig deeper.

I think we have gotten caught up in a lot of traditional thinking, and I am learning to question every single thing. Where did this come from? Why do we do that? I have just barely started to scratch the surface on this, but I am so excited at the ability to rightly divide what is of God and what is of man. Some of the things that I have attempted to address is where all the attitudes come from about dress, music, the rituals of communion, the obligation to attend church on Sunday, etc. Some of these deeply rooted Southern churches would have you believe that when God met Adam and Eve in the garden that he sewed them button front collared dress shirts and casual slacks for men, and a long floral skirt and blouse for women, and many missionaries set out to do the same. To go to the opposite extreme, we would all likely be wearing some fig leaf / animal skin combo. I don't know where we ever got the idea that to be Christian was synonymous with our culture, and say look like us on the outside and all is well on the inside.

A few weeks ago, I was watching a show where K.D. Lang was a guest. She was introduced and started to sing, and I suddenly became aware of something that was happening in my subconscious, the label "lesbian". It didn't allow me to appreciate her talent or her song. I was dumbfounded, and started to cry when I realized how beautiful, heart and soul she is. It was almost as if God allowed me to see her with His eyes. He doesn't see "lesbian" – He sees His beautiful girl. (More and more I would wonder if God even sees our gender.) This experience made me wonder how many other people I not allowed myself to enjoy or see beauty or value in, or for that matter love because my culture has assigned a specifically horrific value to certain types of sin, while shrugging at others. I can't live that way anymore.

I wonder about so many things. I'm not afraid to ask the hard questions, but I don't need you to answer them for me. Father and I will walk this out. I am not afraid to ask, to seek, to search, or to be called a heretic. In fact, wasn't Jesus called exactly that?

15 comments:

  1. I think you have hit the nail on the head! There are so many contradictions about Christianity,but it seems more "man-made" than "god-made". I don't, at the moment, attend church on Sundays, but I still pray and try to live my life according to God. I try to love everyone, because God created us all. Who am I to judge one of his creations?

    I also don't want to belong to a certain denomination and if I want to drink a glass of wine, I don't want to sneak, because someone from church might see me and judge me. I don't usually drink wine, but having one glass, to me, is not a sin. This is just one example of the many things that make it difficult to figure out a belief system.

    It's good to know that I'm not the only one who has lot's of questions, concerns and confusion about "what is"

    Great post! By the way, you have no idea how wonderful the chicken soup and bread sounds - I would die for that right now! YUM!

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  2. I am so pleased to read this. This is something that I grew up and struggled with. It wasn't until my parent's divorce that I really "got" what the problem was. It wasn't and isn't me, it's the dictates and the rules and the judgements.
    I love to live life free. In my own way, with my own personal relationship with Jesus. It also helps that one of my best friends is gay. I love him for who he is. And nothing less.

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  3. I think that when we keep Jesus the "main thing" and get into in His Word to find out what He is saying to us - not how we decide to translate it to fit our comfort zone, as many do,and when we spend time in prayer before our Creator, and open our hearts to learning from wise, mature Christians- I think then that the rules, the cultural prejudices will fall away, and we will become more like Jesus. (that was SUCH a run on sentence) This is what I I pray for the desire to do more everyday.

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  4. Once again you write things that I would love to but the words come out differently. I have been questioning for years now and haven't been to church in over 3 years now. I'm sick of churchianity and the judgments and the man made rules and the thou shalt nots. We need to have a relationship with our creator, so many people are turned away because of the negative stuff. Take the CA court case, these people mangaed to give homeschooling and Christianity a bad rap all in one. It was a case of abuse and a dominant father/submissive wife/the kids are suffering, a terrible situation but just because of one jerk everyone should not suffer.

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  5. Wow!! You go girl!! My heart leaps within! I can only ditto your sentiments; as I find myself at such a similar place. Here's to thinking for yourself, and trusting Father to get you where He wants you!! I, too am learning to question everything that was fed me on the silver platter of religion. And, WOW, the freedom it brings!! To hell with religion! - that's where it came from, after all. Bravo, you anarchist you!! Freedom awaits!!!!!! The barrier is broken!!!!

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  7. Here Here! Good stuff. I've found my own eyes glossed over by labels plenty of times and you put it so well. God sees his kids, plain and simple. Good stuff.

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  8. This, "I suddenly became aware of something that was happening in my subconscious, the label "lesbian". It didn't allow me to appreciate her talent or her song. I was dumbfounded, and started to cry when I realized how beautiful, heart and soul she is. It was almost as if God allowed me to see her with His eyes. He doesn't see "lesbian" – He sees His beautiful girl." is incredibly beautiful.

    You've said it so well, so clearly, I find it hard to believe that anyone reading this won't be bobbing their head in agreement. We miss so much through our judgments. Thank you for pointing it out in such a beautiful way.

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  9. amen Jewels! If this is heresy tie me to that stake right next to you sister!

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  10. High Five from me.

    No, make it High TEN.

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  11. "Seek and ye shall find." You've figured that out. You're getting there!

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  12. Do I have to be smart to visit you? This is an awesome, thought-provoking post. Thanks for putting all in words.

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Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥