Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Our Choice

Yesterday was my second visit to my mother's church and both her and my wife want us to go on a regular basis. Which I don't mind going since it gets me out of the house and the kids enjoy Sunday School. The only issue is that I personally get nothing out of it, yet there were many others who got IT. And I mean really got IT. They were raising their hands in praise shouting 'hallelujah' left and right, they got IT whatever IT may be. So far no one is aware of my unsaved soul, and I have the feeling that when it becomes known I'll have a flood of people trying to convert me. There have been many people who've attempted to bring me back into the fold and I've always been intrigued by the variety of different methodologies. Eventually some will get confused by my presence and lack of belief and shun me altogether. Which is fine, I've shaken a lot of hands in these past two visits but I've only remembered two names, it's not like I've made any friends dear to me. As I sat there I thought of what others would think to be the reason for my refusal of conversion, which leads me to the heart of the sermon: choice.

The Pastor is a vibrant and comical speaker and even though I don't agree with his beliefs I always seem to walk away with something to think about on the way home (although the thought inspired lead me in a direction he did not intend). Yesterday's sermon was on James chapter 4 and the struggle Christians face in a tempting world. We have a life-or-death choice ahead of us: God or the world. For those who've chosen to be with God must not only proclaim it from their lips but have their faith reflected in their actions. If we believe in God and life we must actively choose it and "as we draw closer to God, God draws closer to us." It's all about choice, yet the line drawn in the sand is too black and white as the Linedrawer (which they would say is God who somehow shares the same theology as they do) decides what is black and what is white. My question would be why would anyone not accept life? Is there anyone who would willingly accept death and eternal damnation? The Christian reply would be anyone who willingly does not accept Christ into their heart chooses death. How is that a choice? Any choice between two outcomes one being painful or fatal is not a choice at all! The obvious choice is the one devoid of any pain and suffering which makes this a loaded gun choice: choose my way or die.

As a very liberal Christian (if that) I don't believe in heaven or hell, nor do I believe that those following other faiths are wrong by default. They don't seek out death because they've made the wrong decision by believing in something other than Christ, they seek out life differently from Christians. The point being that we all seek life including atheist, secularist, humanist and other non-religious 'isms' and identities who've been scorned by some in the religious communities. If God is equivalent to life (and I would also say love) then who would not be drawn to it? Mankind with its curious nature is drawn to the world around it and seeks to actively discover, understand, and intimately know it. The major difference between what Christians are drawn to and everyone else lies in the label and definition of God. If we let go of our labels, and our identities, we will come to rediscover our shared humanity and our shared passion: to know one another.

7 comments:

Andrew said...

Yeah, I always chuckle when Christians talk about non-Christians "choosing" Hell. Who chooses torture? Would that not be the definition of insanity?

and, as you say, what the hell kind of choice is that? It reminds me of Eddie Izzard's routine: Cake or Death?

Don said...

I see you are that "shining light" in your family. Fortunately, my wife has expressed little interest in the journey I'm on (yet also shows no interests in returning to the institution).This gives me a positive outlook that one day she may take an interest.

I think you are in a unique situation which may offer opportunities drop bits of "wisdom" about your own beliefs, should you choose to do so.
I admire your spunk for going. I could no longer participate in church on even a semi-regular basis.

shallowfrozenwater said...

i find it interesting that you call yourself "unsaved" but i suspect you're doing so because you're using their definitions. there are some Christians out there that are trying to use some more inclusive definitions that would welcome you within the fold. then again, maybe you don't want that.
i've been reading your blog for a bit now and i've wondered how i could possibly help you with your puzzle. i don't want to solve it for you because i know there's no way for me to do that. i guess i'm just saying that asking the questions is incredibly valuable, or at least it was when i asked my questions.
i don't want to come off as one of those folks who are looking to convert you though so i'll just stop there.

Unknown said...

@shallowfrozenwater

You're right. I am using their definitions mainly because I was a visitor in their community. Using my own definitions and language to define and explain their beliefs would only be confusing.

As for helping me with my puzzle, you already are helping. The puzzle is never meant to be completely solved (which is why it's God-sized) but to be worked throughout my life. For me it is an understanding of my fellow man through connection and dialog. And through that I can find my Self and my place in the puzzle. As for converting me I find my spirituality (or at least the labeling) in such a constant state of flux that I may already hold similar views to some of the more inclusive Christian groups. Thanks again for your insightful comments.

Sabio Lantz said...

Depending on the religion, making "friends" with someone who is always about converting you OR thinking you are condemned to hell seemed a tremendous waste of time. I value friends and only have so much time for them and so want to be sure I fellowship with people who can be real friends.

Unknown said...

@Sabio

I wholeheartedly agree. Except that I'm neck deep in both (converters and condemners) living in the Southeast so it's difficult finding anyone who's not of the evangelical Christian persuasion (most of them I assume are too afraid to come out and play).

Sabio Lantz said...

LOL !
Good luck on that, mate.

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