Reading, thinking about, and writing about the first seven chapters of Matthew was a wonderful experience for me. I’ve stepped back from the Blogging the Gospels series for now; not because there was a lack of material to write about, but because there is too much. Currently I’ve felt the need to gain some modern context by reading writers who try to follow a Jesus or Jesus-like way.
Old Conservative Evangelical Voice (OCEV):
Ooooh that is an extremely dangerous and unwise! The Bible is where you will find absolute truth! It’s folly to choose to read others’ works over the Word of God!
Well, actually OCEV, I’m going to listen to my intuition and read things that are a bit more accessible to me right now: books and blogs that contribute to my spiritual growth and knowledge—that portray an honest journey of struggling with God and faith, and/or people who can share what they have learned by a lifetime of slogging through it.
More danger! Don’t listen to your “intuition”! Filthy rags filthy rags! Don’t trust yourself! Trust God!
Funny you should say that, OCEV. I think that trusting God is what I’m actually doing when I trust that intuition. I trusted your shaming voice for way too long. It’s gotten me nowhere except sitting in a corner, paralyzed with fear, helpful to no one.
Oh, so that’s what you’re doing now, huh? You believe your intuition is the voice of God? Sounds to me like you are going so far as to say you yourself are God. Hm. Guess what. That’s what Lucifer wanted: to be like God. No…even more than that: he wanted to BE God. This sin of pride was the beginning of sin and rebellion! These ideas you are beginning to trust? They are nothing less than Satanic! What do you say to that??
Heh, yeah I definitely used to believe that OCEV. And I agree with you, in part, that pride is a very nasty thing. When taken to an extreme—when one has lost all ability to listen to others, to question oneself, to possess intellectual humility—it can turn someone into a monster. Regarding your point about Lucifer, I believe that the myth of Lucifer and his fall have to do not with his desire to be God, but his desire to have the same power and authority as God without doing any of the hard work of spiritual growth. It is true that with spiritual growth there does come power. That power, however, is the power to love others and to love them well. This powerful love is personified in Jesus, as well as in others (Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. come to mind).
But spiritual growth isn’t “hard work”! That’s legalism! Spiritual growth is found only by submitting absolutely to Christ and the Bible alone! And what is this talk of “myth”?? You are treading on dangerous ground by labeling stories in the Bible as myth. And how dare you compare mere men to Jesus Christ! Gandhi wasn’t even a Christian!!
I’m having a hard time keeping up with you (as always), but let me address each of your concerns one by one.
- Then tension between “passive submission to God” vs. “take up your cross and follow me” and “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” has always been a stumbling block for me. I remember in a singles Bible study group one evening I asked, “so are we just supposed to hang limp and allow God to move us like a marionette?” Obviously not, but no one could provide a good answer as to the proper posture toward a God who was supposed to control everything and who pre-ordained the universe. This confusion was a big reason why I have looked outside of the Bible for answers, to other people who have asked these questions. This search has not narrowed my view of God, but expanded it. The journey has awakened a spiritual hunger for a God who is both bigger and tinier than my imagination can fathom. Most importantly, it has led me to understand the staggering importance of love and connection.
- What is wrong with using the word “myth”? A myth is a story that communicates a deep, core truth about humanity. You know what other word to which this definition applies? Parable. That’s how Jesus taught in the Bible.
- These individuals have come as close as anyone else to living out the ideals and principles of Christ. Observe how much has been accomplished through their love and humility. If there is an afterlife, and if there is a heaven/hell division, and these individuals aren’t living in the heaven-side? I don’t want to be a part of it.
Well, you’ve obviously gone off the deep end. I can partially agree with you regarding #1; I could even stomach your point in #2. But questioning the existence of heaven and hell? Of an afterlife??? Now I’m the one who can’t keep up…with your dangerously heretical “journey.”
You don’t have to keep up. In fact I wish you wouldn’t.
My voice may be fading, but you can bet I’ll continue to try to be heard. My voice can be heard everywhere: on the news, on the internet (especially in the comment sections of some of your favorite bloggers), and in the people you come across, just to name a few. I don’t give up that easily.
Neither do I, anymore. Bring it on.