Broken-down Poetry: Grace (revisited)


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Grace (revisited)

I wonder if this is our view of Christianity.

Some questions:
1. Does God punish us for our sins if we're under Grace?
2. Does God ever take his protection from us?
3. Does physical unhealthiness reflect God's wrath or our healthiness reflect his approval?

(Side note: This comic [via JesusNeedsNewPR] is hilarious. Jesus spanking a little girl? I mean, those anti-corporal punishment guys are probably having a hay-day right now.)

But really, that's beside the point.

Prof. Perry and I were talking about this yesterday, in regard to Dan Merchant's "Lord, Save Us from Your Followers" screening Wednesday night. Christians have an easy time pointing the finger, telling you what's wrong with you, warning you of consequences, but not showing any bit of love.

I got to sit down with Dan on Wednesday for a one-on-one chat about his book (and my Don Miller marriage plans). We got on the topic of homosexuality. I mentioned my column from last week's issue of the Sojourn and the conversation that arose at Starbucks a week or so it was published.

I let Lindsey read my column, to make sure it didn't sound like a rant or that anything I said could be mistaken for heresy. As we discussed it between the two of us, the rest of our group overheard and started their own dialogue. Soon six of us were engaging in this debate (should this even be a debate?) about homosexuality and the church.

Lindsey and I came to the conclusion that, despite what the Bible says about homosexuality or any so-called "lifestyle" sin, Christians shouldn't tell people what they're doing wrong. We should just love them.

No strings attached.

No I-love-you-ifs.

Just ... I love you. We're all human. We are all depraved. We are all the image of God. We are, as I love to say, glorious ruins.

Dan and I talked about this for a while. We mulled over Jesus' words, how he never, ever, ever, ever condemned a sinner. He stood up for them; he risked his life for them.

In John 8, when the Pharisees bring to Jesus a woman caught in idolatry, despite the law he stops the men from stoning her, dusts her off and tells her to go leave her life of sin. No "you're a dirty whore, you deserve hell" or the less extreme - "I disapprove of your lifestyle choice."

Dan also used the example of the thief on the cross. What good deeds did that man do to deserve paradise? Absolutely nothing.

So why in the world do we keep condemning people to hell?

Really, though. Why?

When we read the Gospels, and we call ourselves Christians ("little Christ"), then we flippantly blame the divorce rate on gay marriage or our addiction to pornography on the liberal media ... there's something disconnected. There's something not right.

If we could spend a little more time on the first two commandments - love God, love others - maybe people would stop hating us Christians so much.

I believe in Grace. I believe that God forgets my sins before I commit them. ("Forgiveness precedes repentance.") I believe that God cares more about people than he cares about their sins.

There's a story in Brennan Manning's "The Ragamuffin Gospel" that exemplifies this. A woman claimed that she was having visions of Jesus, so the archbishop of the area decided to test the validity of this. He told her to ask Jesus to tell her what the last thing he confessed was (in her next vision). And she did. Jesus' response? "I don't remember."

He doesn't remember.

God is the god of Present Tense.

I believe that acting righteously comes as a response - a response to God's love and grace. But if you've never experienced that love and grace from his followers, why the hell would you want to live morally?

We talk about "speaking the Truth in love," but what we're saying isn't with love. And love, real honest-to-God love is Truth.


I want you all to converse about this. I know half of you disagree with this. Half of you are going to say things like "but God hates sin!" and claim my doctrine is flimsy. But is it? I urge you all to challenge me, but please back it up with the words of Christ.

with love and squalor,

No comments: