Actively bringing about much needed change in our communities and hope to the broken and disheartened.
What if I told you a secret…a secret that not many people know about? It’s insider information, but it’s AWESOME. Guys (and girls too), Best Buy is giving away FREE TV’s! It’s an offer that’s available to EVERYONE! And it’s TOTALLY FREE! All you have to do is work for Best Buy! After you’ve worked for them for a while they will give you a FREE TV! And it’s going to be a great TV. Everyone I’ve talked to about it says it’s like the best TV ever. I mean, no one I’ve talked to has gotten theirs yet, but Best Buy promises that they will get it and it’s gonna be awesome.
How does that offer sound to you? Not so great right? Because, by definition, free means you wouldn’t have to do anything. Zilch. Nada. You could walk into Best Buy, grab the TV, and waltz out. No questions asked, not qualms given. Seems legit.
But to say something is free when it’s not – that’s just a marketing ploy. It’s one we’re all immune to at this point. We’ve all seen a million TV ads saying stuff is free. Or how about BOGO deals – buy one washing machine get one washing machine free. Who needs two washing machines? And it hardly feels free, because you just made me spend 500 bucks on a washing maching and then gave me a free one when it would have been a better deal to just mark the original one down 50% so I only dropped 250 instead.
I haven’t spent much time thinking about spiritual things lately. It’s not been on my mind. Plenty of other things have been – but not spiritual stuff. But tonight an old buddy of mine came over and we started hashing out some things that made me want to talk again.
You see, I had a God experience a month or two ago – and I had come to the conclusion that maybe my experience was based on a lie. Or a mistruth. Or just flat bad theology. I wrote a post about it a couple of posts back – most people started telling me that they would “pray for me” and that I was sounding “universalist” and that raised some red flags for me. So then I got all discouraged (thanks a lot everybody!) and then I stopped thinking about spiritual stuff. I wasn’t even mad anymore – just defeated. Tonight I got frustrated again.
If Grace is supposed to be free – something that God chose to give to us, when we were least worthy of grace – how is it that it’s predicated on our actions? My illustration above is the same thing – it’s not really a free TV, it’s a TV you can have if you do something for it. Not free. But we say as that God’s “gift of grace” is “totally free” and then we say that you only have access to it if your a Christian.
So lets either change the language or change our viewpoint. Because it’s not free if you have to do stuff for it. Then it costs stuff.
The problem I had with my conversation tonight is that…well, my buddy was saying how God is so loving – and then in the next sentence stated how God could omnisciently know that he would create a shit load of people who were all destined for hell and do nothing about it. I asked him if he was ok with that. He said he didn’t like that people were going to hell. I asked him that if he could feel that way about it – why didn’t God feel that way about it? Isn’t God way more loving than we are? If so – how is that showing love? My friend stated that God shows us love by allowing us to live here on earth – by not allowing our sin to totally and utterly destroy us. I asked him if it was loving for God to let children caught up in sex trafficking continue living on this earth. Or kids living in homes where they are abused every day. Is it loving for God to let them live on this earth? He said he didn’t have an answer.
He said he just went by what the Bible says. That people who follow Jesus will have eternal life in heaven, and people who don’t will spend eternity in the flames of hell. I asked him if he showed up in heaven and saw Hitler sitting there if he would be ok with that. He said he couldnt follow a God like that – where his word, the Bible, and what it said about reality was a lie, or that he went back on what he said the deal was.
I’m upset about all of that.
It doesn’t feel like that amazing of a thing, this “grace” – when the majority of the world goes to hell. Listen everybody. Listen to yourself. You’re ok with that?
No, You justify God’s actions in your mind EVEN THOUGH you are not ok with that. That’s how this Christian game works. We pretend like God is only looking out for our good and then we believe that…well…he’s looking out for MY good since I’m a Christian…but that Aztec tribe 300 years ago…not so much.
Damn. That sucks so bad.
So maybe I was leaning toward some kind of universalist message. If I was any good at describing what I was learning before I’d confidently say it’s not a “universalist” message and we could talk about how hell still exists or how it still is predicated on a choice that we make just not in the way we talk about it…but I don’t know that stuff. Can I just say that I wish people could get over theology and just be happy to rest in God’s love? That’s not it though.
Damn it all. I am just frustrated. I want to believe in a God who is ACTUALLY loving. Not a God who squashes innocent children in Haiti or young girls being trafficked around the world and then says that he loves the world. Bull. Shit.
And here is the last word of the day: I legitimately think that all of you out there who are “orthodox” are probably wrong about this. Doesn’t feel like good news. Doesn’t feel like love…when you have to excuse it away. Doesn’t feel right. Why couldn’t God be bigger than that?