Tag Archives: Chrisitianity

Questions of Faith

Like most anyone with a brain who also walks a path of spiritual or religious faith, I have my moments of doubt.

But when I do, the thing that always brings me back to Jesus is this: To me, the actions and behaviors of the apostles (the original ones [sans Judas Iscariot] plus the replacement guy, plus Paul, who is a special late-addition case), make no sense whatsoever unless Jesus lived, proved to them his divine nature, died, and rose from the dead definitively.

For them to have such uniformity of action, commitment to an executed man, and put themselves to the kind of risk they did, all to establish the early Christian church, makes no sense otherwise. It defies human nature, self-interest, and self-presevation for all 13 of those people, one of whom had a position of authority before converting to Jesus’ path, to do that. And to stick with it even through persecution and unto their very deaths as martyrs.

So, to those of you who want to knock me off my faith, you are going to have to give me credible reason to believe that Jesus never even existed, and neither did the apostles, for you to knock me off my faith.

Consider it a challenge if you like. If you can provide me with such such evidence of those two assertions that it overwhelms the record of the existing sources from which I currently draw my knowledge and on which I base my faith (and that comes from historical sources, not just biblical ones), then I will publicly declare myself agnostic.

Disprove the existence of those people, and I will admit that my faith is fundamentally flawed.

Getting Off Track, Part 1

So, a couple days back in “Journeying Toward God,” I said I’d have some follow-up points on Christians and non-Christians and where I notice they can really get off track. Well, first, the Christian folk.

I see in too many Chrisitians the kind of legalism that Jesus railed against when he was arguing with priests and scribes back in the day.

It’s not that Jesus didn’t believe in the law. He did. It’s not that he didn’t follow the law. He did (and was one of the precious few people in existence who ever did). But as he point out on more than one occasion, the spirit of the law was the critical thing, and not the literal letter of the law.

What good is a sabbath day where you don’t work, but you’ll let someone suffer because to help them is to “work?” What good is paying tithes if you go through your day with no kindness or mercy? What good is praying if you do it in public just so people can know you’re really doing it, when you might not even be feeling it?

I see a lot of Christians around me, whether literally or on TV and in books who are all too willing to spout the Word of God and tell us why we must follow it, but who don’t get the larger points of salvation, mercy, love and the rest.

I have, for example, slammed the Duggar family many a time for their beliefs as part of the quiverful movement. They focus on the relatively few Bible passages that talk about the blessings of a large family, and make like that means we should just keep spitting kids out as fast as we can. But that’s not what the Bible tells us. In Bible times, for one thing, people didn’t live very long on average compared to today. They worked the land or sea in many cases, and needed children to carry out the family work. In some cases, God wanted the Hebrews to have many children so that there would be plenty of Hebrews to carry out His plans and his works and set the path and eventual stage for Jesus.

We don’t live in a world where having tons of kids is good idea for most people (at least speaking from someone in an industrialized nation). In fact, it would be a back-breaking financial burden for 90% of families to simply just keep spitting out kids. And yet there are people like the Duggars who will hold it up as doctrine that we should be doing this because that’s what the Bible says.

Children are still a blessing, and we should have them for many reasons. But within reason.

Chrisitian will rail against homosexual marriage in society, when the only thing they should care about is whether their church is actually marrying gays and lesbians. On a societal basis, it isn’t any business of the Christians whether the government and the people as a whole want to let homosexuals marry. I don’t think it should be something that churches are forced or expected to do, given the biblical prohibitions. And yet Christians will lose their damned minds over this issue and start thumping the Bible in front of everyone to say it’s a societal evil that should be prevented or purged. But the Bible wasn’t written to build a society. God wanted it to provide a spiritual path.

I could go on with other examples. Prosperity ministries. Speaking in tongues. Killing abortion providers.

The journey to be in synch with God from a Christian perspective relies on an understanding of the Bible. But that understanding is not gained by compiling a list of do’s and do not’s. It is gained by understanding why we need to seek God and by recognizing the larger scheme of thing. It’s about opening our hearts to heaven and at the same time to those around us.

If we do those things, we will act in line with biblical precepts much of the time.

If we’re just following a rulebook, we’ll get off track every time, just like the priests and scribes Jesus criticized.

Wild Wednesday: Conspicuous Christianity

OK, so I messed up. Miz Pink e-mails me yesterday with something along the lines of: “Uh, Deacon, I have a third kid. Could you maybe tell me what the Two-fer Tuesday topic is BEFORE Tuesday?”

So, yeah, I forgot about Two-fer Tuesday. All my fault. So, to make up for it, we’ll mash me and Miz Pink into one post (seriously, Mrs. Blue, it’s purely platonic; more like playing Twister than anything¬†sexually scandalous). We’ll call it Wild Wednesday (stupid, I know) and we’ll take turns on the topic of:

Conspicuous Christianity

Deacon Blue says…

christian-bumper-stickersThere is, sometimes, a fine line between proclaiming Jesus and wearing one’s Christianity proudly, on the one hand, and being a complete douchebag on the other hand.

I live in a town that is large enough to technically be a city (I guess) but small enough that I see the same folks over and over. And the same cars over and over. There are some notable ones that are festooned with bumper stickers and windshield stickers and sometimes big painted signs that proclaim that driver’s devotion to Jesus.

These visible reminders of the person’s piety remind us to follow the ten commandments, keep God as the co-pilot, to revile Charles Darwin as a godless heathen bastard who pissed in our collective Christian Cheerios, value life, honk if we love Jesus and so many other things.

God help me, I just want to smack many of these people.

It’s not that I’m against letting people know you’re Christian. By all means, we should be proud to follow Jesus Christ. It’s not that I’m against sharing your feelings. I have a bumper sticker that supports the value of unions and another one that proclaims the mistreatment of farm workers.

But moderation and tact are useful here. I think two bumper stickers is plenty. Three tops. But I see vehicles that sport five, six, eight, ten stickers. One car I see nearly every day has so many sticker about pro-life stuff and some very Catholic sentiments¬†that the driver might just as well have one bumper sticker that says: “Follow the way of the Roman Catholic Church or ye shall suffer eternally!”

There is a truck I see every few weeks in the grocery store parking lot near my house that has so many signs protesting the practice of abortion, most of them huge wooden signs with big painted diatribes that are attached to the sides of his vehicle, that he might just as well have a couple that say what he really wants to say: “I hope all of you bitches who’ve ever had abortions burn in hell!”

It’s not just Chrisitians who do this. There are some obnoxious pagan-oriented bumper-sticker crazed drivers and a few “guns are great and we should raze the forests to the ground” oriented cars. But I’m talking about the conspicuous Christians today, so those other folks don’t matter.

I guess what I’m saying is that we need to determine if we are really lifting up Jesus, or if we are screeching so loud that we turn people away from him. Bumper stickers can be cool, but only in small amounts, and they are highly unlikely to make anyone consider becoming born again.

Miz Pink says…

pink-crossIf I am doing my job right as a Christian…as someone who’s supposed to spread the gospel…I shouldn’t have to tell you I’m Christian. You should be able to see in my actions that there is a peace and a strong center in my life and see the “light of Christ” shining from me. If I’m doing what I should be doing.

And when you see that light, you should be able to notice some little thing, like a simple little gold cross around my neck or some small religious oriented trinket on my desk…or whatever…and be able to know that I follow Jesus.

Or, if you are having troubles in life…something that faith and being born again might begin to fix, you should be able to see that I get through nasty things in life with some sense of peace and humility and be able to ask me what keep me going…so that I can tell you who and what it is that does keep me going.

If I have to shout from the rooftops that I am a Christian or if I have to wave my faith in front of your face, I probably haven’t done my job right.

Instead, I’m probably like those priests in Jesus’s time that had the long robes and phylactries on their arms and said loud prayers so that people could see how devout they are.

That’s so wrong. That’s not doing the job God set out for us.