Sunday, October 4, 2009

so the other day I had this really great theological discussion with a new friend - I strongly suspect our discussions will result in more than a post or 2 on this blog. One of the great parts of the discussion is that He and I differ quite a lot on several theological issues, and he didn't try to kill me even once, or publicly discredit me, or report me to the supervisors! that was really great. It was one of those "getting to know you discussions" that chases rabbits in 50 different directions but never comes to a definitive conclusions on anything. Despite that I walked away from it really satisfied, like I had really learned and accomplished something.

Strange that - it seems I have learned more theologically, from respectful discussions with people who love God and His Word yet differ from me in how they express their love and interpret scripture, than I have from theological/fundamentalist rants that have told me how right they/their interpretation of God is and how wrong i am, or even from having sat through 3 years of liberal bible dissection/desecration at university or 4 years of Baptist Theological College Systematic Theology (Sorry Boss - I did learn a huge amount in those classes). Perhaps part of the reason for that is because God is so big and amazing that we never resolve our thoughts on Him and so questioning is the only true way to continue the journey into knowing the infinite and ultimate God. (I think it beats trying to list the propositional truths about Him 6 love - certainly when it comes to pursuing a living, growing relationship with Him - I think if all you are interested in is a dead religion, sticking to only the propositional truth stuff will do just fine.) I also think it is why Jesus almost never gave people straight propositional type answers to their questions. (more about that in another blog later)

Any way - (after I discovered that my new friend differed quite strongly from our churches position on some key, but not fundamental {sorry just had to say that} issues) at one point I asked my friend why he stayed as part of our fellowship since we had these theological differences? (I really feel so stupid writing this) His answer was this - my primary obligation is to obey the greatest commandment - to love God and to love others - DUH!!! I preach about love all the time and tell people how important it is and here i was being taught about practical love in a new and for me amazing way. He is not going to church hop, he is not going to go on a crusade to correct our 'bad' theology, he is not going to call in the supervisors and launch an inquiry against me or the church - no he is going to do something for more radical and dangerous that that, something far more able to effect change, in his life and mine - he is going to practice love among us! A we love each other God is among us, and His Spirit begins to change us, as we love Him and each other and His Word, His Spirit will guide us into all truth.

So - Rule number 2 for practicing/learning good theology, Love one another!

Rule number 1 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart......................

Saturday, September 19, 2009

measuring ourselves and others

For the longest time it has hacked me off how we as Christians measure one another. Almost always the first question is - what do you believe about.... ? WHY? We almost never ask people how they act, its always about what they believe. I know so many people who 'believe the right things' about all sorts of God stuff but their attitudes, well frankly SUCK. And they really don't act like Christians. One of my pet peeves in this regard is the 'defending the truth brigade' or as I like to refer to them, 'the supervisors' - you know who I mean, the guys who know who are heretics and who not, and why, who is going to 'burn in hell' because of their 'un-biblical' view on left handedness or whatever, people who don't trust you because you don't always preach expository sermons. I particularly like they way they use un-truth to defend the truth. Prime example - miss quoting 'heretical' authors or speakers to prove that they don't believe in absolute truth, and are thus evil, dangerous and a threat to all things biblical. News flash folk, miss quoting someone is the same as telling a lie, which is the same as not telling the truth which is not just wrong but a REALLY stupid way of 'defending' the truth.
Ok so much for the rant, and to get back to my point. Asking someone what they believe or 'constructing' what they believe from your own interpretation of what you think they said or what they wrote, is a really lousy way of getting 'the measure of a man'. A really famous person once said, 'you will know them by their fruit', not by the statements they make or by how successfully you can misinterpret them, or even by your opinion of their 'view of scripture' but 'by their fruit'! In other words, do they love God and people and can you see it. Do they obey God, not just believe 'right stuff' about him, are they full of 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self control'?
In other words, do you want to be around them, or do they scare the heck out of you because you may something unorthodox in their presence - and boy then you know you are in real trouble.
I don't know but I think we should try measure like Jesus did not like 'the supervisors' say we must.