poor reflection

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “Christian experience.”  It seems that most people have negative connotations surrounding the word “Christian.”  But when speaking about Jesus, most people have very positive things to say, how he loved people and showed mercy and grace.  Unfortunately most Christians are a poor reflection of Jesus and the way he lived his life.  Of course, we are only human and we make all kinds of blunders of the simplest things, but sometimes there’s no excuse.  I find it so ironic that many non-Christian people I’ve met seem like they really are Christians.  I’ve recently made a friend who says he’s an Atheist because he hasn’t had an encounter with God yet.  But apparently a lot of people who talk to him say he’s an anonymous Christian, one who believes but just doesn’t know it yet.  I feel like I meet a lot of people like that.  I know there are people out there who are anti-theists, they believe that religion is actually harmful to society.  I can totally see where they are coming from.  Like I said, as humans we make a mess of things more often than not and those are the things that are highlighted.  I wish we were known for all the good we’ve done, all the positive things that Christ-followers have done for society and individuals.  Unfortunately what sticks out in most people’s minds are the negative things.  *sigh*

It is discouraging to me when I see how people like to pick and choose what their religion is, it’s like a buffet.  I’m on the fence about the whole “one destination, many paths.”  I’d like to believe that God is loving and understanding enough that even those who don’t say they are Christians will, you know, not be eternally damned.  But I’m not totally sure.

*****************

I wrote that earlier this year.  January 9th to be exact (2:47am if you want to get really exact).  Since then I’ve gone through a lot of soul searching and questioning in regard to my faith.  I’m still not sure I know which way I fall on the idea that there are many paths to God.  Part of me thinks that each religion is a piece of God, looking at Him through very flawed, human eyes.  But then, as a Christian we have the Bible which states that Jesus is the only way to God (by that same logic, Christianity is another religion, another view of God and faith).  But then, there are those who argue about the people in isolated villages, who have never and will never hear about Jesus and the Christian message.  What about them?  If they found their own form of “Christianity,” are they saved?  The cynical side of me thinks yes, that it does not require a first-world white man proclaiming his strain of faith to save someone.

In reading “Pagan Christianity” I’ve struggled with a lot of what modern Christianity holds dear about our whole faith experience.  The authors give voice to a lot of my frustrations with what I’ve seen in first-world Christianity today.  I long for the organic, early church experience I read about in the Bible, the one where everyone contributes, where everyone is a part of the body every week.  I want to feel the Spirit move amongst God’s people and see His hand at work in our lives.  I get glimpses of that, but I know there’s something missing in my “church” experience now.

Anyway, this is just a thought dump.  I’ve been rolling this stuff around in my head for a while, thought it was time to get a little out and about.

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6 thoughts on “poor reflection

  1. wish we lived nearer. these thoughts would go great with home-brewed coffee, or tea, or a firepit, or some Merlot, or some acoustic…

    dang it. practical theology always gets me in the mood.

  2. Here’s a brief explanation of my opinion (which I am currently working on in the form of a treatise):

    God = Jesus = The Word = The Law = Conscience (i.e. the law written on the hearts of man)

    Thus, Jesus, being the Way, the Truth, and the Life, can be found within the conscience for those who have not heard of Jesus. Essentially, if one has no tools, the heart, if intimately searched, reveals God’s will and way. It is a more difficult path because those without the Word, in the form of the Bible, are less equipped to fight evil and less protected against evil than those who have the full armor of God via the Bible.

    Therefore, it is possible that those not of the Christian faith will be saved but unlikely. It is because of this unlikelihood that we are still called to preach the gospel.

    However, people often overestimate the “Christians” who will be saved. I also believe that a good portion of those who call themselves Christians will not be saved.

  3. i partly agree with you, sir David.

    one of my biggest questions has to do with those who have mental disabilities. what does God think about those who might not understand good & evil?

    another question i have (and which i’ve heard over and over) is, what about those who die too young to have understood sin & grace?

    people being as complex as they are, and myself having not enough understanding to confidently sort all of these out, i have to believe that God, being Who He says He is, will be both just and merciful in the final judgment as He has shown Himself to be so far in history.

    so, conscience or not, evangelism or not, armor of God or not… i have decided to trust God to ultimately do what’s right. He has entrusted us with preaching; that’s our part. the judgment i will leave to Him, knowing that even though He hasn’t revealed all the potential intricate details of the whole judgment plan, i don’t have to worry about them at all.

  4. How did I know you two would comment on this? :)

    I miss you, IJ (you too, David, but I see you more). Definitely missing the Grove and all those uplifted voices too. And Shelob’s Lair. I know I can speak for Jason too in saying that we would love to visit you sometime. When our financial situation allows for it maybe we can make a trip your way.

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