Hearty Heresy

I Arrived at My Heresy the Old-Fashioned Way
April 23, 2007, 4:54 pm
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Theology

It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about why I believe the things I believe–about God, about Jesus, about Brand Xianity, etc. So I thought I’d just dig in and offer a few stray thoughts that I hope to develop further in the next week or so. First, about God. As I’ve mentioned before, the thing that really gets me about Brand Xians is their rather quaint notion that everyone has the same idea about who or what God is. Seems to me that what may very well be the largest concept in the Universe, God, would most likely have a lot of subtlety to it. And, indeed, it does. Which is why there are lots and lots of books about theology. Are these books in agreement about this concept we call “God”? No, not really. In fact, many of the books I’ve read lately seem to offer two distinct points of view when it comes to God.

Here’s just a few: Matthew Fox contrasts a God of Original Blessing as opposed to a God of Original Sin (see “Original Blessing, Not Original Sin“); Marcus Borg contrasts a God who works through Conventional Wisdom versus a God who works through Subversive Wisdom (See Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time); Michael Lerner contrasts the Right Hand of God with the Left Hand of God (see The Left Hand of God); and George Lakoff contrast a Strict Father God as opposed to a Nurturant Parent God (see “The Nation as Family” and “Two Models of Christianity“).

Now, when people assume that there’s only one way of looking at God and the only way to get close to that God is through accepting the blood sacrifice of His only Son our Lord Jesus Christ, I have to wonder, “Mightn’t there be just a little bit more to the story?” Take, for example, the GodSpeaks.com folks (their motto, by the way, is “Simple, Relevant, Life-Changing” [italics mine]). They’re the ones who promote those inane billboards I mentioned in my previous post. On their website they ask this question for the visitor: “How can I have a personal relationship with God?” And if you click on it, you get this answer:

“I stand at the door and knock.” Do you know who said that? It was Jesus. What door, you might be wondering. Well, that happens to be the door to your heart. Then Jesus said, “If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in.” Jesus is such a gentleman, such a compassionate Creator, that He will not force His way into your life. You have to want Him in your life, and if you don’t want Him in your life, you’ll keep the door to your heart closed. But before you make that decision, you should really ask yourself why you would close the door of your heart to Jesus Christ?

What? Jesus, the gentleman caller, is a compassionate Creator? But I thought we were talking about God. I mean, doesn’t one of those creeds start with “I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth?” Jesus comes after that, “begotten not made,” right? Come on, gang, get your story straight! Truth is, there are a whole lot of us who think that Jesus’ teachings were less about accepting him as God–please show me in the Gospels were Jesus actually says to the disciples, “Hey, guys, guess what…I’m God!”–and more about helping others have a personal relationship with God, now, today, on this earth.

At any rate, there’s two sides to this story. But the purveyors of Brand Xianity seem to think there’s only one. For my part, I arrived at my faith (heretical though it may be) the old-fashioned way…I studied, reflected, and prayed about how I might best discern the way of Jesus (as opposed to signing the last page of a Chick Tract).


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I am glad that you said, “I studied, reflected, and prayed about how I might best discern the way of Jesus). When I am witnessed to by Evangelical/Pentacostal/Fundamentalist friends and family they assume that there was no spiritual component to my decision to become liberal. In fact my spiritual life has been deeper ever since I quit taking myself too seriously.

By the way, I have always believed that the cruelest thing that you can do to an unsuspecting child is give them a Chick Tract when they are trick or treating.

Comment by pastorofdisaster

Those Chick Tracts are pretty nasty, aren’t they? Yeah, I don’t like the assumption that a lack of orthodox faith comes from ignorance on the part of the heretic. Seems to me that most of the great heretics in history really knew their stuff. And there is a huge spiritual component to it…after all, it’s about each individual’s relationship with God/cosmos/universe. My experience in this life tells me that I’ve got only one crack at making it a good one.

Comment by heartyheretic

Our church used to give us his full length Chick comics and I remember clearly one had a nurse on the cover screaming down a hospital hallway. “Doctor, all of the babies are missing!” That was my earliest exposure to dispensationalism.

Comment by pastorofdisaster

The world would be a freakin’ spooky place if all the things Chick Tracts say are going to happen would really happened. I’m still waiting for the UN Police Force to come to my house and take away all the Bibles!

Comment by heartyheretic

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