It’s Funny… Not Really

The opening line of my last post read something like this…

"So I will be straight… this post is going to be a soap box. And quite frankly, if you disagree, keep it to yourself."

Actually it didn't read something like that, this is a copy and paste quote from my last blog post. And I said that because I wanted to further my case on my impetuous for the blog post from the beginning. I knew people couldn't keep their opinions to themselves. And they didn't. And they won't on this one either. Because they can't. And because they believe that if I or everyone else just saw things from their perspective, it would all be fixed. Not only is that terribly naive and foolish, but it is a complete disregard for the complexity of the human condition. There is no one size fits all solution for humanity. Unless we want to get as broad as we all must just love Jesus. I agree with that. But it seems that the application of that is as vast and nuanced as people themselves.

So, I want to rebut a few of the statements that have been made along the way in hopes of refining what I am saying to make sure that I am saying it correctly.

But before that, 2 side notes:

First, Thanks for reading all this. As an external processor, a blog is a great outlet to process where I am coming from for myself. Hopefully, it can be a blessing to others as well. And may this conversation be inspirational for us all!

Second, one comment about the Noah movie, then back to the real issue. One point that is being harped on over and over is the "rock monsters." We would read in the Bible that they are the Nephilim. First, for anyone to say that they couldn't be rock creatures gives you more insight than anyone else in history. Quite frankly, no one knows what the Nephilim were. Now, we have some speculations. And there are some educated guesses. But no one knows what they were for sure… NO ONE! Aronofsky (who has a Jewish background) does in fact have some grounds to consider here. There is much written in the Midrash about the Nephilim. And part of that conversation is about rock monsters. So please be careful. Before you start slinging mud out of your own ignorance make sure that you have done the right research. You do not have to agree with him, but trying to turn unstable ground into solid places to take a stand is not good and only serves to make one look foolish and irrelevant.

There is much more I would like to say about this… translucent bodies for Adam and Eve, etc. But we will save that conversation for that cup of coffee I offered in my last post. No one has taken me up on that yet, by the way. But they sure have taken the opportunity to write about how they think I am wrong.

Back to my point:

There have been 3 main arguments put up as reasons why what I am saying is inadequate or wrong or however you want to put it. There are obviously subsets of these 3 but it falls into one of 3 areas that I want to address here.

1. It seems like you are just compromising your doctrine. I see where you are coming from with this one. It could feel that way. But I have some thoughts on this that might change your mind.

First, not every biblical disagreement is a doctrinal one. For example, the rock monsters. This is not a doctrinal disagreement, nor does it affect any of our orthodoxy or orthopraxy at any level. It is one idea that is as equally valid as any other idea about the Nephilim. And you will probably want to fight me on that, but be careful the ground on which you stand. Make sure it is as solid as you might think. Just because someone that you trusted as a good Bible scholar said something about them one time doesn't make it so. And while their opinion matters in the conversation, it is no more valid than any other opinion.

Second, I am not leading us down a primrose path to apathy. In fact, I am asking for the exact opposite. I want all of us to be passionate about what Jesus was passionate about. He was not passionate about proving people wrong. Oh, He did that from time to time, but read His message. What He was passionate about was liberation for the oppressed. He was passionate about loving God with EVERYTHING in a person. He was passionate about meeting brokenness on its own terms and inviting it to wholeness. He was passionate about generosity, forgiveness, and grace.

He was NOT passionate about making sure that His opinion was heard or even understood. "He who has ears let him hear."

2. We HAVE to stand up for what is right, and you are saying we can't. I do not see this one at all. But let's look at it for a moment.

Never, EVER, did I say, "do not have an opinion." Never, EVER, did I say, "Do not express your opinion." I would say at this point that those values (the ability and need to express your opinion) are American, not necessarily biblical, but as long as we live in a country that gives us the freedom to express our opinion, we can and should do so.

HOWEVER, you do not have the right to fight like the devil for the things of God. You are a God follower first, and a citizen second - period. And my point is to simply consider the fruit of your delivery method. you can post big sweeping statements on Facebook all day long and only serve to make people more angry and more alienated.

-OR-

You can sit down with someone that you care about deeply and visit with them over a cup of coffee. Believe me I have done enough of both in my life to know that caring enough about someone to invest my time in the relationship has produced some amazing fruit. In their lives and in my own. I am a richer, fuller, more well rounded person because of the investment of time. It heals my soul at the same time that they can hear my point.

And for those of you who happen to agree with me… you do not have the right to spout off either. You cannot throw this down and say SEE... WHAT HE SAID!!! We must all do our best to walk as Jesus walked. And at the risk of turning this into a Bible lesson - Halach is the Hebrew word for walk. It also means obey, do, act.

Don't let anyone ever allow the excuse of "I am not Jesus so I don't have to be nice" demean the reputation of your God.

*3. We can only know God through the Word and so any time someone uses the Word in a way that I don't agree with, I HAVE to say something.* Let me be blunt… this is simply not true. And it will take only a few paragraphs to prove it.

Now, before I get going, I am not saying that you can know God completely outside of Scripture either. So don't do there. But to say that the Holy Spirit only works in and through us within the context of the Word is narrow and inadequate at every level.

The truth is, it is a mixture of the Word of God and our experiences that give us our understanding of who God is.

Back to the Noah movie…

One of the major critiques of the movie by Christians has been that it portrays God as mean and vengeful. And that God is loving and compassionate. Okay, I agree, but let's think for a minute. Where in the world would people get the notion that God is vengeful and mean?

Have you heard yourself lately? It is a contradiction at every level to say God is loving and full of grace and then talk about how God is going to bring down our country if we don't stop going down this moral path to destruction. To talk about how God is going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He doesn't do something soon in the U.S.????

I am not saying you are wrong, but hear what you are saying from the other side for a minute. You create a schism in people's minds that is irreparable. It is another example where Christians talk about one thing but show another. Or at a minimum we talk out of both sides of our mouths.

And to take it a step further… Have you ever had the world come crashing down around you? Be honest, and tell me your first thought wasn't that God was upset at you because you had done something or somethings wrong. Tell me you didn't think it was your fault - that God was somehow upset at you.

We have felt that way too. So rather than trying to belittle the movie, why not go out and find people who are in that desperate place (I promise they are not hard to find) and give them the hope that while there are stories that look that way in the Bible that there is a deeper story being told through those circumstances - a truer true that says that even the darkest parts of our lives have purpose and they are redeemed because God is good, not because the situation was good, but God is good and His mercies are new every morning.

But that isn't how we westerners do it. We don't want to have to get into real relationships. We just want to have the irrefutable truth and spout it from afar. We are much more concerned with being right than we are with being Godly.

And this brings us full circle… The right thing, done the wrong way, becomes the wrong thing.

Still waiting for that cup of coffee...