This one is getting posted here and on Tumblr... It's too good to leave out:
It seems to me that it is a minority that gets the true and full gospel. We just keep worshiping Jesus and arguing over the right way to do it. The amazing thing is that Jesus never once says “worship me!” He says, “follow me” (e.g., Matthew 4:19).
Christianity is a lifestyle—a way of being in the world that is simple, non-violent, shared, and loving. However, we made it into a clever “religion,” in order to avoid the lifestyle itself. One could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain, and still believe that Jesus is their “personal Lord and Savior.” The world has no time for such silliness anymore. The suffering on Earth is too great.
Sometimes this doesn't take a whole lot of thought.
That's the idea that struck me as I scanned through my inbox this morning. We tend to over-think things. I also think we start with the end in mind, and re-engineer the inputs to give us the desired outcome. In this case, of course, we start with the belief that God sends people to hell. Forever. And we try to make that notion make sense.
But back to my email.
The subject line of the email, from Christianity Today, said this:
Does a loving God really send some people to hell?
...and the answer was never so obvious to me. Of course not. Not the "eternal torment" type of hell, anyway. I don't need theology to back me up, I don't even need scripture to back me up. I know this because the God I'm in relationship with--as little as I actually comprehend about the entity I call God--wouldn't do this.
Try this on for size: Loving parent hits child on head with rock. Repeatedly. Forever.
How's that sound?
The whole point of grace in my mind is this: The offer isn't retracted if it's not accepted. That's what makes it grace. Otherwise it's a business deal.
Back to work. Anyone want to weigh in on this one?
"The letters Paul wrote precede the four Gospels by at least twenty years. When Paul was writing, Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John had not yet been written. And by the time the Gospels appeared, we already had Paul’s letters to the Romans, Galatians, Corinthians (first and second), Philemon, and Philippians. This is why Paul never quotes the Gospels. He himself is the first one to put his Jesus experience into writing. He did not know Jesus in the flesh, but he claims that his authority comes from a personal experience on the road to Damascus."
Big props are due to Craig Greenfield and all the hard working folks behind this weekend's Creative World festival in Mission, BC, which will be wrapping up in about an hour. Undoubtedly this inaugral event will have to be considered a success, after twice as many people showed up than were initially hoped for.
I was just there for the day yesterday, but what a great day it was. Listening to Ched Myers from the main stage was inspirational, and I took in workshops by both Chris and Phileena Heuertz from Word Made Flesh. A road trip with my good friend Sean Graham is always an adventure (ask Sean about that squirrel on the road...) and it was great to reconnect with Shane Claiborne again. The opportunity to scheme and dream with our friend Steve Frost, half of the dynamic duo that is The Work of the People*, is always energizing. And we even had a good group at my workshop, where we engaged in some great conversation together.
I'm already looking forward to next year, and hope to see a lot of you there.
*Steve and Travis are back from a recent unbelievable experience--time at L'Arche in France with Jean Vanier. Be sure to track with the releases that result from this time. Here's a taste.
UPDATE: A couple folks have asked what we covered in the workshop. The short answer is we structured the conversation around the story of The Rich Young Ruler, using The Ten Commandments and the alternative reading of The Parable of the Talents as background. We ended up with some great discussion. Let me know if you would like more details, as I may work at writing it all up.
This morning I came across this TED talk from Tim Harford over on the Idea Festival page. It's great and well worth a listen. Of course, the question I came away with is, "How many of us have a God complex... about God?"