Posted by: truculenterutpote | April 6, 2011

Father Vincent Donovan

    I have never been one to skirt around the issues, so I don’t see any point in doing so now. There is something profoundly wrong with Christianity, isn’t there?

    Or perhaps I should clarify, before I get labeled as a blasphemer, there is something wrong with those of us who call ourselves christians. How can I say this? Just look around you. I could tell you to look at the world, our nation, our town, and our neighbors; but let’s make things a little more personal, let’s look at christians, ourselves.

    First off, let me establish something. I believe with every fiber of my being in a God who cares so much about us that; that first He would let us rebel, and then send Jesus to be torn to pieces by us, simply so we would yet again have the option to choose Him. He doesn’t force or manipulate or coerce, the choice is ours, for the taking. I also believe that through this God there is this thing called truth. Truth is an absolutely amazing thing, truth simply is. No matter how many people try to argue against it, no matter how many people believe or disbelieve it, truth continues to be truth. I believe in truth, I believe in something that can’t even be touched, shaken or altered. The thing about my belief in this truth is that I cannot change or affect it, after all, its truth. Yet, I also believe that this truth is constantly changing me.

    I believe that God is truth, His love is truth. It doesn’t matter who argues for it, against it, who writes what book, who creates what religion, what bad thing happens, no matter how high and mighty we as humans think we have become, God’s love, God’s truth is unaffected, undiminished, still ever present, still there for the taking.

   This is the christianity I believe. Now my beliefs extend far deeper than the previous paragraphs. As I am sure that anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes around me will testify to. Yet, that is my rock, my foundation. I am willing to question that as many times as anybody wants. Simply because I already know the answer, because truth doesn’t change. Now, while my belief and christianity is rooted in this belief, it also extends far beyond. My beliefs about how a person should pursue after God, how a person should are should not drive, how a person should or should not dress, what you should eat; basically, how I live my life, are also very important to me. I try to approach these beliefs and decisions based on the truth I stand on. However, I am imperfect, I am flawed, I am…human. I understand how I look at, understand, approach, and interpret things is completely different than everyone else. This leads me to believe that my extended beliefs are not going to line up with other people’s extended beliefs.

    That’s where things get dicey, isn’t it? That’s where people disagree, where lines are drawn, egos are involved and hearts are broken. When I look at christianity on a global scale I see disunity. When you look back over the history of christianity you can’t help but see the splits and divisions. I heard someone say that America alone has over 600 denominations, christian denominations. But lets for the sake of being cautious just say 200? Let’s assume there are at least 200 christian denominations. These all believe and stand on the same basic truth I do. So where do we disagree? On the extended beliefs, the one the bible does not clearly state one way or the other, or maybe the bible doesn’t even address at all.

   But if they are extended beliefs, meaning they are not the core truth, then how important are they? Sure, they are pretty important to the people(s) that believe them, but are they worth arguing over? Are they worth drawing lines in the sand over? Are they worth splitting over? Are they worth stepping off your foundation for?

    Now I have heard plenty of christian state “as long as it isn’t a belief that affects salvation, I am willing to overlook differences’. My question is, is that good enough? I have heard plenty of arguments, and no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to me, people always find a way to slip those arguments around that statement.

    Since I am suicidal, and sick of all this religious bull shit I will address the issue that has directly churned out this thought process. Rob Bell. Now those two words will illicit more passionate replies and opinions than probably any other word(s) or name in Christianity. Including, Jesus Christ. Stop, go back, and reread the last two sentences. If my statement doesn’t shake you to your core then you should probably stop reading.

    Rob Bell is a man. He was born, he will die. He is one of over 6 billion people walking this planet. So how in the hell did he reach the point where it seems more churches are preaching about him than the person we stake our eternal fortunes on?

   Now to be perfectly blunt, I love Rob Bell. I have read all 5 of his books, watched all 3 of his tours, and most of his short videos. That being said, if Rob Bell came out with a youtube video stating he worshipped Satan, my faith would not be shaken. My only thought would be, “man, wonder what happened to him.”

   I can just hear all the cries, “but you don’t know how much influence he has!”, “do you know what he believes!?”, “he’s leading people astray!”. My question is very simple, so?

    One might ask how I can be nonchalant about such a huge deal. That’s just my point. Rob Bell is a man, I believe in truth. If Rob Bell has decided to oppose truth then he will get no where. Even if all the opposition against him is correct, even if he has decided to try and sway as many people as he can away from God, so? Not that I wouldn’t consider him lower than dirt, not that I wouldn’t pity the judgment that he’ll have to face. But it would not shake me, because I stand on something that no man, no belief, no spirit can shake.

    “But he’s deceiving people! He needs to be stopped; people need to know what he really stands for.” Is what I can imagine the next reply being. After shaking my head I would remind people of Jesus, and the life he lived. Jesus lived in a pretty messed up time. His people, his country was under the control of a foreign power. This foreign power stood for, supported, and tolerated many sick, perverse and simply wrong ideas and practices. Yet with all the evil that surrounded him, with all the causes staring him in the face, He did not champion causes. Why not? Did He simply not care? Did He not have enough time; was He afraid of talking in front of crowds? Maybe He believed in standing for something instead of against something. Maybe He realized He offered something far more tantalizing and appealing than anybody else. Maybe He knew that it didn’t matter what it was; only truth can stand before truth. Maybe He knew that straw and clay would be burned away.

    Now I know what you are thinking, and yes, Jesus did preach against the religious elite. But what were this people guilty of? Maybe they were guilty of thinking they had it altogether, thinking they knew more than everyone else, thinking they had the right to pass judgment on everyone else. I find it funny that as many times as we read through the gospels and look scornfully down our noses at the Pharisees, it never occurs to us that we could be guilty of the same thing they were. We could be in the same boat.

    Now am I saying that if you disagree with me and my beliefs, or Rob Bell that you are missing the point and guilty like the Pharisees. Absolutely not. What I am saying is that if you can’t handle someone disagreeing with you, yes even on the salvation issues, without flipping out and feeling like you must defend something that is undefendable and more importantly, unattackable; then you are wasting your time and energies on something that is basically pointless. Maybe, just maybe, Jesus didn’t champion any causes because He knew He had truth, and that truth supersedes causes, beliefs systems, and even egos. Maybe Jesus didn’t preach against other people because He didn’t want people’s attention on other people, maybe He wanted our attention to be on Him and ourselves. After all, isn’t there more than enough there to keep us busy for eternity.

    Now just to be clear I am not trying to push a belief system, because we don’t need another. And frankly if even one poor soul started trying to follow me I would laugh, then feel great pity for them. I have recently started judging things based off a quote from a Catholic Bishop, “we shouldn’t leave others where they are, nor should we try to bring them to where we are, as beautiful as that place might be. Instead, we should go with others to a place neither we nor they have been before. Where we need to be is not where any of us currently are; we are all being called higher up and further in.”

    That quote stuck a beautiful chord with me. If God is fathomless, then none of us will completely understand Him, especially not in this life. If we stop trying to convert people to our system of beliefs and instead embark on a journey with them several beautiful things will happen. First, being right and wrong won’t matter; because you will realize that where you are won’t be where you end up. Secondly, even if you “know” someone is wrong, you’ll have faith that God will show them and correct them, just as He will do the same to any incorrect beliefs you have. Suddenly someone won’t have to believe like you for you to be able to have a relationship with you, because for someone to walk with you, even for a second, will bring them closer to the truth about who God is. You won’t have to try and witness because your life will be a witness. Beliefs, denominations, actions, whatever, will cease to be as important because you will be able to trust is the ever refining love of God. Just think about it, that’s all I ask.


Responses

  1. Ben, is this a literal statement ‘Since I am suicidal’? I read your blog. I still don’t know what you believe. I haven’t read the book so I need to ask questions. Please bear with me. You are very close to my son so I need some answeres. What are you hearing people agrue about that upsets you? How much of what you wrote is your heart and how much is Rob Bell’s? Quotes, thoughts, and ideas from other people aren’t bad. However, they are from people who are flawed. I don’t know the heart of anyone, do you? This is just my opinion but concerning my salvation shouldn’t quotes, thoughts and ideas be best followed from those of Jesus?

  2. Rae Jean, I am more than happy to answer any questions you have. Although if you read this blog and the main point you came away with was “Rob Bell”, then you missed the entire point.

    First off, I am very far from suicidal, I actually thought I had changed that wording when I edited it but evidently not. I simply meant that in the current climate of today’s christianity it is pretty much suicide to come out and say you like Rob Bell.

    This blog entry was entirely my heart. I do not believe there is one quote or idea from Rob Bell’s book present in here. Except the love of Christ.

    I completely agree that people are flawed, which is why I think when people (who are flawed) start arguing about other people (who are flawed) that the entire thing is virtually pointless.

    Like you said, people are flawed, and for that very reason I do not base my salvation or relationship with Christ on the words of any man, without first challenging them vs the bible and the holy spirit within me.

    The arguements that upset me are the one’s that claim to know Rob Bell’s, or anyone else’s, heart and motivation for writing/saying something. As you said, as humans we can’t know anyone’s hearts. I believe judging people’s hearts is a process best left up to God.

    My salvation is based entirely, one hundred percent on Jesus, he is my only hope.

  3. Ben, I love, love, love the quote! “We ARE all being called higher up and farther in.”
    You are grounded and know what and in Whom you believe. You have good insight into the world. :-)

  4. I totally agree, Vicki~! And I loved the post also, Ben. :)


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