Week two of December and I’m already late on a Sunday post. I’ve been under the weather. My theory is that since I’m using so little of my brain, it’s melting down to battery acid inside my skull. And since I sleep on my back, it’s been leaking down my throat and causing chaos. So I either need to start challenging my mind somehow or find a new sleeping position. Mucinex helps.
I have some ideas on how to change my mental posture, but very few on how to change my religious one. (Warning: the following is going to be very long and scattered. Stick with it, I have a good feeling about it being ‘worth it’ in the end)
I stumbled upon a verse today that I loved,
“See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” – Luke 11:35
I am stagnating in so many areas of my life… sitting on the couch when I should be exercising aspects of my life that are deteriorating. I know that the spiritual light within me has nearly, if not completely turned to darkness, and I can’t reignite it myself. Looking over my notes, Kris said yesterday in his sermon,
Ultimately the gospel is not about us being in the right place to find God- it is about God penetrating the darkness with his light.
Last week in small group, we talked about the metaphor of clearing the rubble out your driveway so Jesus can come in, clean house and fix what’s broken. I love that metaphor(, and I usually hate Christian metaphors). If we are a creation of God, he can easily clear out the rubble himself, but opening up the line of ingress is our decision and responsibility- thus, free will. And even though we can’t fix what’s broken, we can’t achieve perfection, we can open that line up to someone who can. And another beautiful thing about this metaphor is that it implies work. It’s not easy to shovel the driveway clean, and it is a continuous battle against the line being obstructed. But once we open ourselves up and submit the contents of our lives/house to Jesus, He has agreed to change us, to wash us clean and accept us as his perfection can only accept likewise perfection.
So there. Faith and Action. Believing in God, giving your life up to Him, and following through- living a good life. Just as a guy is said to only lean in most of the distance between him and his lover for a kiss, God leans in and lets us choose whether or not to love Him. Jesus invented leaning in 90% (or maybe 99.999%), but the remaining .00001% on our side is what makes it free will.
V asked me for a link to my blog a week ago. Ironic, since I blog about her and how I’m going to tell her these things. I might as well do it here and now, since I’m a total pussy and plus if she’s reading it, she actually cares.
You asked me if I actually thought that God would send good people to Hell. How could anyone love and serve a God who would do that? Why serve someone who would keep from Heaven Buddhist monks; humanitarian atheists; my own caring, giving aunts and uncles; good people who just can’t believe in this God who is so near but feels so far;…
…and you, my only friend who has ever received impoverished-child-sponsorships as a surprise birthday gift, who cried with me over the loss of my mother, who is thoughtful and kind, always compassionate and giving, who spent months travelling to orphanages in far off places and now works longer hours than she needs to see out a dream of sponsoring her own orphanage, who supports her family financially and emotionally at 24 years old, and who lives fully and loves others wholeheartedly.
It might be the most difficult aspect of my faith, but making up my own theology in which every good person will join God after death is not only believing a lie, it’s an incredible insult to the perfect design of life and afterlife set up by God. I believe it is as it says in the Bible. I don’t like it, but I believe it. I believe that God is Love and the origin of all love we see in this life, but in order for us to have the freedom and power to choose to love Him back, He had to create an antithesis- another option. If I were God, I would have made myself an easier choice for mankind, but for some reason it’s the hardest one.
I don’t know if Adam and Eve is a literal story, but literal or figurative, there is something to be drawn- I think originally light and darkness were set up to be a fair decision. We were created good with the option of evil, thus free will. The problem is perfection is no parts imperfection/evil, and God is perfection. The God cannot be united with imperfection or He would no longer be perfect.
God gave the first man and woman of the story a decision in the form of a command; [If you want to love and follow Me,] don’t eat fruit of this one tree. Choose to align yourself with the God or choose to go against Him. What is the point of creating someone to be in love with if you don’t give them the choice of whether or not to love you back? The first man and woman chose not to follow God’s command, and they were severed from the God. Since then, the decision between God and not-God has become infinitely more difficult.
But either way mankind has shifted from perfection to imperfection, we’ve changed earth from a world of God with a loophole of not-God <to> a world of not-God with a loophole back to God. The original loophole back to God was sacrifice. The God decided to accept the death of an animal in place of our own spiritual death, and allow the sacrificial animal to atone for our imperfections. Maybe it was the sign of the act of repentance… maybe it served as a smoke signal to indicate that someone had decided they wanted to love God, and He could come near without imposing on our freedom.
But if it ended there, it would seem to me like God kind of gave up… like He didn’t try hard enough to get us back. The God isn’t passive about our return to being united with Him, so the history has just begun.
The God found a loophole, split His divine self and birthed himself into the world of not-God. Clothed himself in a human body so that he could live among us called Jesus. He walked around and showed us how to live in a way that would enable God to come near. And then he allowed us to brutally kill him and then accepted himself as a sacrifice for our sins if we approach and accept his death as our own sacrifice, thus becoming the Christ (the redeemer as prophesied in the earlier texts of the Bible). Jesus. Christ.
I believe that no matter who you (general) are, you (general) are too imperfect to be reunited with God. And it doesn’t matter how good of a person you (general) are, although I believe you (V) are helping make the world of not-God look more like the world of God without knowing it. You (V) are furthering the kingdom of God without being a Christian. You (V) are helping to make this world more like the world of God than I do. Which is convicting and hard. But the God and creator over everything is perfect and has chosen to only accept us as perfect if we love and believe in Him and accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as factual and powerful.
So that’s the long answer of how I think God can and must reject some people from eternal life. The Bible says the only just punishment for sin (which is anything not-God) is death (which is the same as separation from God). There is one loophole: death has to happen to atone for each of us, but it doesn’t have to be ours. Since Jesus Christ was crucified, we can call upon that as our death.
I wish that I had told you that when you asked in New York. The Gospel story isn’t about us being good people or not, it’s about light (Jesus/God) coming into the darkness (world of not-God) and suddenly we can see.
I hope when you read this story you see love. Love from a God who would create you in a way that you could choose whether or not to love him in return, then would fight and die to give you the opportunity to change your mind. And Love from me, who believes this all enough to think it’s important to tell you. Because I do believe it is the difference between life eternal and death and believe you’ve got just as much of a chance as I do at being reunited with God in the end.
And if you didn’t read it between the lines, read it here: I love you (and I sincerely believe that a God you may not believe in loves you too).