Hearty Heresy


Love is All I Know About God
August 23, 2007, 11:47 am
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Faith, God, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Spirituality, Theology

Emphasis on love. One of the first posts I wrote for this blog included this response from Stephen Mitchell to the question “What is the Gospel According to Jesus?”: “Simply this: that the love we all long for in our innermost heart is already present, beyond longing.” I mention this now because for some time I’ve been meaning to write a post about my experience of God, and I have to say that all I have ever known about God has always been love.

Emphasis on know. You see, the God that I know, the God that Mitchell’s quote points to, is the only God that I have ever experienced in my life. Sure, I’ve been told lots of things about God, from people who think that God can be found in the “common storyline, common theme, and common message” of the Christian Scriptures. That God is what I like to call the “Bad Dad” God, the God who acts like a petty tyrant lording over his household, whose every action (no matter how indefensible) is an expression of his perfect will and must not be questioned, and who enforces submission to that will through violence. Oh, and he loves you, too. How do you know? Because “the Bible tells you so,” so you’ll just have to believe that it’s true.

In all honesty, I’ve never experienced that God. I’ve experienced petty tyrants who could easily be human models for such a being, but I’ve never truly had a sense that the real God–the God I know in my innermost heart–is anything like this Bad Dad. No, the God of my innermost heart is a loving God, pure and simple. And my belief in that God doesn’t come from “66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents,” but my from own personal experience, as confirmed by what I believe to be the true teachings of Jesus, summarized repeatedly by Jesus himself: “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

So when I read the Christian Scriptures, I can’t help but understand them based on what has been my experience of the holy and the divine. And when I look at the teachings of Jesus, it’s pretty clear to me that he, too, experienced the holy and divine in a similar way. That experience is what informs the most beautiful and compassionate parts of his teachings. All the other stuff attributed to Jesus just sounds too much like the same old Bad Dad story to be the authentic teachings of a truly enlightened being.

Does this sound naive? “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” Jesus said that, too.

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7 Comments so far
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Hi Friend,

I was up doing some work and I stumbled accross your post.

I felt compelled to write and comment.
Firstly I must saym hi, I am from Sydney Australia.

I am writing fast and so please excuse and spelling erros, as I am very tired to read over it, I am sure you understand.

Bascially, I juat want to comment and say that you are right in saying that, what you said in a big way, that God is love, and so is Jesus as he came from God. But you must understand that what we know of Jesus comes from the Bible, as it is htis record that testified of him.

For this reason we cant disregard the other ’66’ books. Please here me out. See, Jesus also believed in the Biblle/the scriptures. In fact He said that he has not come to destroy or do away with the Law (Old Test) but to establish it and that not one dot (. ‘ , ) will be done away with. So if we attribute divinity to Jesus, we need to alsoer consider what he believed. And if he believed the scriptures, they are credible.

Hope you knowe what I mean.

having said that, what people need to understand that God is perfect, as I am sure you agree. But his perfection means that he can also hate perfectly, he does. I know this sounds hard (please excuse He and he, I mean He, His etc., but me tired. So, I will not be religious about the matter, if you know what I mean).

Like I was saying, God has also got perfect ange and hatred to, even jeliousy, beleive it or not!

See, when we see anger and hatred, we see it from our sinfull way, so we cant understand that anger can be holy, because our anger is always mared with yelling, selfishness. But God hates sin.

For example, a recent statistic on the news said that 1 in 5 children get abused, da, di da and then went on to the next news topic. We hear this get ‘angry’ and say, what, why… and then we move on and forget, we are still angry.

See, But God he doesnt forget.
He loved thoise little innocent childrem and is htus angry at those people who have hurt them, in fact he will not, has not forgoten. In that ay, oh boy! ‘The bibke says that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the living God’. So people misunderstand see.

God has many attributes but we can assess God who is infinate with our limited estimation. So God is not just love, he is angry also, in a perfect way.

Hope this makes sense.

Now, the bible may seem confusing but there is much there, heaps to understand and it does makes sense, truly. I have believed for 5 years and the Lord has changed my life.

I dont mean any disrespect because I dont, but you said that truth I htink or understanding of God comes from your experience with in…what I have grown to know and am learning is that, just like the bibke says, ‘in me dwells no good thing’. See, truth must come from without..

I hope this makes sense.

See, truth cant coem from with in it must come from without because if it comes from with in, w ehave 6billion truths.

Just like a piano doesnt get tunned with anothe rpiano but with the tunning fork and thus tey will all be in tune as each one gets tunned individually, so must we be tuned by God as it were.

The Bible is indeed God revelation to man, inspired through man as God did through his holy spirit inspire man to testify about his holy name.

Please feel free to email me.

God Bless,

Costas

Comment by Costas

Costas–
Thank you for your thorough response. While I do appreciate your perspective, I have to say that I disagree with “in me dwells no good thing.” I have a strong sense of feeling like I belong in this universe, and I trust that whoever or whatever created the shebang has given our beings a degree of integrity, i.e., we BELONG here, as we are, without needing to be redeemed, etc. So I would say there’s a lot of inherent good in all of creation, which means my starting point isn’t to look for someone to expiate my sins, rather may starting point is to take whatever gifts God has given me and use them in the service of justice and compassion. That’s what I get out of the Bible. Thanks again for your comments. Peace–HH

Comment by heartyheretic

Hi Costas,
I hear ya’ but sorry I can no longer agree with you. The doctrine of Original Sin (“in me dwells no good thing”) was formualted by Augustine of Hippo in the early 300’s because he just couldn’t stop beating himself up about his various escapades with the ladies before his conversion. When you believe you are bad, it leads to a horrible, horrible lifestyle of being dependent on some big God to show you mercy and grace and redeem you from your own inner shittiness. Wrong. Wrong Wrong. We are all created in the image of God. How hard is that to understand? This whole penal substitution theory of the death of Jesus has only been around since the reformation, and the sooner the church moves away from it the better! I guess we will just have to disagree on this one Costas!
Peace,
Jon

Comment by jonfeatherstone

Thanks for your thoughts, Jon. Of course I agree–down with penal substitution, up with being created in the image of a compassionate, loving God!

Comment by heartyheretic

hi less dangerous and more sensible christian

greetings from scotland , im so pleased to have come across your site as ive been feeling isolated in my beliefs about jesus for about 10 or more years and its good to find out im not crazy or a heretic ,woo hoo! ive been less and less inclined to go to “church” such as it is just to have to endure some self righteous speaker trying to get people to bow to his own infinate wisdom such as it is ,ive seen so many people tricked into walking in front of a pulpit when asked to come forward at the end of a service “if they felt god talking to them?” just to satisfy some so called preachers own sense of self greatness (sounds familiar? jesus didnt like them much either i feel) just to be duly dismissed and ignored in thier affirmation of faith towards the man jesus
(been there done that whole thing) when all in all
i do believe that jesus said his knowledge would set us free and i believe it, so thanks also ive followed your link to sea of faith in the uk (lastnight to be precise) and fully intend to join it ,so thanks yet again .oh heres a little poem i wrote in my anger one day not so long ago when i was informed (backhandedly) the men of the latest church id tried to find a home in didnt like the way i dressed (jeans, tshirt and cardigan ) didnt realise id broken some law ,haha…….just an excuse to hate me i thought…..anyway hope it makes you laugh it certainly made me feel better
feel free to copy it and bounce it around you have my full permission (p roach)

TRIAL OF THE SINNERS

still and brokenhearted they come to seek the lord
to heal the wounds, most self imposed
find a church and settle in accepted if they are
but theres a hand upon the chest that stops them going in
its the hand of purist man,whom ensnared by rules of most ancient fools
subdue the mercy shown by christ to satisfy thier only vice
that they as shepherds of the sheep
have rules and laws which they must keep
and turning to the searching soul they face and give thier all

“Ah we see what troubles thee,and this is what to do!
get on your knees and bow to me,for christ indeed has set me free
except for all the pious rules entitling us to call you fools
and in your heart pick up your cross, for you know you must,
be duly judged and killed by us!
and then perhaps we,ll treat you well,until that day we have to say
“you are not good enough” for we are patrons of pauls words
which rule our hearts and he like us a prisoner of christ
and you of course must sacrifice your willingness to us

“So here,s your thorny crown to wear upon our cross which you must bear
let the people stop and stare at your sinning dying face
for you are a disgrace! Oh yes!
hurting this poor human race by being not like us, let us lift him up!”
some hours went by and turning to the crowd he says
“brothers take his body down, he has died that useless clown
i knew that he could never rise, i seen the evil in his eyes
Oh well let us be consoled !,that we might save some other soul
deserving of our help!, praise to god and god bless us!

Comment by paul roach

**my starting point isn’t to look for someone to expiate my sins, rather may starting point is to take whatever gifts God has given me and use them in the service of justice and compassion.***

I think this point is the most important, because the OT does say that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as well as a “little lower than the angels.”

I read a book that described humanity as “immature” rather than “completely incapable of good.” I don’t think we are completely incapable, because as Jon says, we are in the image and likeness of God. And life is a journey towards discovering that, and being able to cast off the elements that mar that image.

But there has to be something good within us. If we had nothing good inside, then when God removed the sin, there’d be nothing left of the person. The person would be gone.

Comment by Heather

@paul

Thanks for you poem. And I’m glad you’re checking out the sea of faith link. I’m a firm believer in there being a spiritual home for all of us–no hands upon our chests to keep us from going in!

@Heather
Good point! If we’re so completely sinful, what is there to save? I like the idea of humanity being “immature,” too. In cosmic terms we’re all always only children–individually and collectively. Jesus understood that, and he told us about the God he had found–a loving, forgiving parent (specifically a father for Jesus, but that’s more about what Jesus needed than about the actually nature of God).

Thanks to both of you for your thoughtful comments–HH

Comment by heartyheretic




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