Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I believe

In the spirit of the impending end to 2006 and the birth of a new year, I believe I’ll begin a new page in the tomb of “My Faith.” I stated in an earlier post that so many Christians spend more time talking about what they are against rather than what they are. Because of this, we’ve neglected to show the true essence of our faith and the character of Him in whom we believe. Therefore, with this post, I shall try to clarify what I believe and why:

- I believe God is complex and cannot be summarized in a paragraph or a book. He can’t be explained, predicted or manipulated. To do so is foolishness.
- But even in the mystery of God, there are certain facts to which we can cling: God is love, He is good, He is faithful, He is compassionate, He is merciful, He is able, and He is powerful.
- I believe God would rather us spend time ministering to the poor than debating the pros or cons of homosexual marriage. I believe He’s more concerned with our spiritual state than with what sins we’ve committed. Jesus’ time on earth wasn’t spent condemning the wealthy of their penchant for sex slaves, nor did He argue for religious freedom in politics or schools. Jesus cared for the people and did all He could to remove whatever barriers separated man from God.
- I know God desires for us to talk with Him on a regular basis, and He isn’t keeping track of the times we forget to do so.
- I believe Jesus entrusted to us the responsibility to represent Him and His love on earth. His anointing wasn’t given to us to hog the glory, money, or health but to spread the love.
- Along those lines, though, I believe God doesn’t want us to assume all power and ability belongs to us. We still need Him and should never think we have it all figured out and can do anything on our own.
- I’m all for saving the planet (because it’s God’s creation), separation of church and state (because I’ve seen what happens when the church tries to rule a country), caring for the poor (because we’re commanded to do so) and for fewer laws that interfere with individuals’ rights to choose personal matters. This doesn’t mean I support those personal choices, but I don’t see how me telling someone else they can’t do something is going to bring them any closer to seeing God’s love through me.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Love Goes

A colleague once said his motto is, "Love goes." He explained some Christians operate by the philosophy that "truth goes" - meaning they believe the most important thing is to speak truth whether it brings injury or healing. An example of this would be a person who feels justified in criticizing someone's attire because it's their responsibility to truthfully describe the outfit.

Recently, Mike purchased a book written by a non-Christian who spent years interviewing fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Jews. Her conclusion was that a Christian who believes they are justified in waging holy war against the heathen is no different than the Muslim who straps a bomb to his body to punish the infidels. She found that too many religious ideologists were so focused on propagating their religion that they resorted to any methods to prove their religion was right and everyone else was wrong.

Also, while visiting Harvard, I saw a new book called "God Delusion" in which the author attempts to succinctly eliminate any notion of God. One of his chapters focused on the idea that religion has fueled more wars than any other philosophy or cause.

So what does this all mean? Seems many wars are waged in the name of Christianity because we're more concerned about truth going rather than love. In the name of truth, a Christian stands across from an abortion clinic and yells at the women who enter. For truth's sake we initiate arguments with Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and Muslims to argue our points. Because of truth we draw battle lines between fellow Christians based on worship styles, theologies or Bible translations.

I wonder what would happen if we were more concerned about love going rather than truth?