This afternoon I find myself face to face with an interesting dilemma—how to move forward in my journey and remain true to myself and at the same time true to finding an authentic expression of Christianity.
At this point in my life I hardly consider myself to be postmodern in the sense of reacting to and wanting to re-shape everything that I have considered to be foundational in my Christian life. Nor do I consider that I am part of the “Emergent” church movement which is more or less defined by Wikipedia as:
“The emerging church is a controversial 21st-century Protestant Christian movement whose participants seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched. To accomplish this, “emerging Christians” seek to deconstruct and reconstruct
Christian beliefs, standards, and methods to fit in the postmodern
mold. Proponents of this movement call it a “conversation” to emphasize
its developing and decentralized nature.”
I don’t know who wrote that but it is a hat-full.
Truthfully, I am just a guy on a journey who has jumped (or was I pushed) off the fast train of life and looking for the beginnings of what I believe and why.
What I do know is that each and every church and home church in America believes that it is teaching and following the word of God and that the body of Christ is made up of individuals from each of these local expressions of Christianity. And yes, I even believe that Catholics are a part of the mix as well.
In Donald Miller’s Searching For God Knows What he speculates about what a alien would think about us if they happened to land on our planet. His first impression is that they would wonder why we compare ourselves to one another—why we need the approval of someone else to make us feel alright. The aliens might wonder about all the fuss over sports events: “You mean the only purpose of game of basketball is to see who has the better team and that is accomplished by scoring more points?” I almost think I see “their” point.
Last night I ran a little off the centerline with his thought and wondered—in light of my recent ponderings about the church, etc.—what a person might come out of the woods with if sent into the forest with only a Bible to read. This person would have no knowledge of scripture or traditions of Christianity upon receiveing the bible and food for a couple of months. They would be directed to a cabin in aforementioned woods and asked to read the bible and upon completion would be debriefed about their impressions and understandings of said book.
We might then ask him or her questions about what the “church” is supposed to look like and whether or not women are allowed to be pastors. Just a few of the more front burner issues that face us today.
I guess one of my questions of myself at this point, having been on this journey for some time now, is how to keep alive what we strongly believe and yet really love others who may believe much differently than we.
Scripture tells me that without faith it is impossible to please God and that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. It is by faith that I beleive that God created the heavens and the earth and how He did it and whether or not it took place in an actual 7 day period really is not the issue for me. I can’t literally prove that He did it because I wasn’t there at the time. But I believe the Bible is the word of God and it says He did and that’s the end of the story for me on that one.
What I do know is that when my firstborn came into the world it was a marvelous thing. I remember as if it was yesterday having the thought as to what kind of God it was that created us in the sense that the cells that formed her fingernails could tell the difference between the cells that formed her finger. She was one big baby with paper thin skin stretched over her ears.
Back to the person who just returned from two or three months in the woods reading the bible. What would they have to tell us about the creation and the flood and Isaiah’s prophesies? What about Samson and Deborah and Ruth?
Or does any of that really matter? I think it does but am still in process as to the best way to get to where I am heading.
I am going to keep reading and keep asking the hard questions and keep an eye on how I got to where I find myself today. I am not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater or quit believing that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born just because Paul doesn’t reference it in his writings. Like I said recently—it is scary out there—make sure your tires are pumped up and the wheels are on tight. Once we climb this mountain the ride down the other side is bound to be fast and a lot of fun.