Asking Better Questions
Thoughts on religion, perspective and God;
I did not grow up in the church, and thank God for that. I am in no way knocking the value that being brought up in the faith has (and I desire that for my future kiddos)- but I’ve come to realize that choosing to enter into the story of grace later in life has given me an entirely different perspective than those who grew up attending Sunday services.
There is this strange undercurrent in mainstream religious circles that seems to believe that unless you check boxes a, b and c on the “I’m a Christian,” checklist, you aren’t really a believer. But what the hell does that even mean. Why are we so obsessed with shiny testimonies instead of the grime and muck that leads to these testimonies? Jesus is present in all of it- not just the shiny parts.
By choosing to only praise those who have overcome sin instead of standing with those who are walking through it- we are creating a culture of fear that only leaves room for deception.
I find myself yearning to experience the Christianity that Jesus carried with Him- one full of love, grace and overflowing with compassion. He sat with those on the fringes of society- He was quick to throw out the religiosity that was pervasive among the Pharisees and Sadducees, because the message He was carrying with Him was all inclusive. He tore down the pillars that man built to contain God. He was radical. I’m sure there are a lot more reasons than we can comprehend why God put on flesh, dwelt among us and ultimately died as the final sacrifice- but I think one of the reasons is because we missed it the first time God spoke- and a lot of us have continued to miss it. Why are we so quick to judge both those inside and outside of our Christian bubbles? Did we just decide to skip over the parts where Jesus forgave and ushered in new life? Were we just too busy looking for someone to make us feel better about our own sin? It seems that along the way a lot of us forget that we are broken people trying to follow a perfect God.
The most detrimental thing that Western Christianity has done is put God in a box. We exist in a society that bends God, uses His name to promote our image, we put Him on bumper stickers, we kill in His name and then we sit down and pray for our will to be done. Enough’s enough. If you want to know God, stop trying to possess Him.Can we please stop making it about us? God doesn’t love you anymore or any less just because you did or didn’t use spiritual language to make others think you have reached the peak of your spirituality.
Is it simply that we are all deeply afraid of being wrong? I believe in a living God. A God FULL of mercy and grace. A God who literally just loves being with us. Who gave us the choice to choose Him. I don’t believe in God because I’m afraid of going to hell- or because I think there is a bucket of gold awaiting me up there. I believe in God because I feel Him in everything that I perceive. I don’t think the concept of hell is even worth delving into and if that’s your main contention for worship- you may want to reassess your motives. Hell is being completely separated from relationship with God.
Instead of asking, are they believers, are we going to hell, is there a hell, let’s start asking better questions. Like how can we love those who are different than us better, how can we love ourselves better, what does it look like to emulate the traits of Jesus? Being human isn’t easy but we can make it a lot easier by choosing to love one another.