What does it matter?

I want to put a little pre-emptive salve on this post...please take everything written just to mean this is how WE feel. We do not impose these feelings and thoughts or beliefs on anyone else. If you don't believe this or it rubs you wrong, that's okay. We're perfectly okay with how we feel on these topics and we're perfectly okay with how you feel. Now for our regularly scheduled blog post:

So I got saved. So what? What does that mean? For most Christians it means I am a "good" person, get to go to heaven and God won't let anything bad happen to me. Then something bad happens and we wander around wondering if we got duped. Maybe this "saving grace" thing is a farce...maybe I won't be so good, since it didn't save me/my family/my friend from __________.

Or maybe I go to church and I have heard some bible stories and I believe that being saved means that even though bad things happen, I will always have a God who is bigger. He doesn't really care about my problems here on this earth, but He will ultimately take me away to paradise, so it's okay...I'll trudge through this existence.

Or maybe it means that I'm saved this week because I confessed my sins and turned away from them for a few days, but DARN IT! I just can't stay away from XYZ so I'll need to go confess again on Sunday, (or pray for forgiveness on Wednesday or whatever my path to forgiveness looks like.) and I hope I don't die a on Saturday evening.

I think any of us who has traveled this path of American Christianity has lived in either of those places or maybe even a mixture of all three. If you're like me you've moved from one to the other depending on the year, (or the time of month!) searching for the one that feels "right" but never finding it.

So what is the point? What does any of this matter? Why are we here? Why are we selling our house and moving to the country? It's so very complicated---or it's not! It's actually so very simple! If my love and faith in Jesus Christ does not compel me to action, what good is it? What point is a faith where I have to sacrifice things that make me feel good, if doing so does nothing but saves me (from what!?) after I'm dead?

These are questions I've struggled with most of my life. I grew up in a Methodist church and I was as God-fearing as any little 8 year old you ever saw. I believed for a good portion of my life that God was an angry, punishing God--like the mother who spanks her child for even looking like she was THINKING about being naughty. You can blame my dad, you can blame my Sunday School teacher; later on in life you can blame my pastor, but I blame myself. If my faith in God didn't inspire me to LOOK at what HE says, then what good was it?

Evidently not much good...it took me until I was 25 to be able to say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I first-of-all BELIEVE in heaven and that I am going to heaven, no matter what. I have a heavenly Father who loves me just that much, that He would die to pay my way. I don't think that's so hard to believe--wouldn't we die for our own children? It wasn't until I was 25 years old that I actually looked into the book that I proclaimed to believe in, (because being a CHRISTIAN means that I accept CHRIST and Christ Himself said that every word of the bible is God breathed. If I follow Christ, then by default I must believe in the bible, like it or not) and you know what I found? A lot more than what the preacher mentions on Sunday morning. And a whole lot more than what the athiests tout to the immature Christians to knock them off their faith. I won't get into it, but I was one of those tout-ers for a time in my life. I'm not being judgemental, I KNOW for a fact they get a kick out of using scriptures against people who truly SHOULD know what they believe but don't, because that was me.

Then it took me till age 27 to believe that if I deserve redemption, so does my bastard of a grandfather who ripped away my innocence at age 3. That's a hard pill to swallow, no? I won't even delve any deeper than that except to say my faith moved me to a place where I believe we are ALL broken and we ALL deserve love. Can that be explained? Probably not. Do I still despise the man and what he did to me? Yes...I sure do. But I no longer wish he'd rot in hell for eternity and that lifts a huge weight from me.

For the past 4 years I've sought God in His word, through prayer, through a lot of praise when I didn't see much worth praising. I've pushed through some hard things to end up a more secure Christian with a better grasp on my own faith. I don't know everything--I could only hope to live long enough to memorize even half of scripture--but I know enough to figure out that it's not my knowledge that matters, because knowledge doesn't comfort us when we lose our legs or our babies die. It's our RELATIONSHIP that matters.

And so we've resigned ourselves to do what the Lord leads us to do and that's a hard road. It looks uncertain, it looks less smooth and comfortable than the one we created. It looks very much unlike the rest of the world and it calls us to be outside of our comfort-zone more than we'd like to be. He's leading us to live more as He created us to live. What does He want for US? (again, I disclaim that this is anyone's calling but ours; each of us has a unique relationship and calling)

-to rely on Him and the soil/seeds/animals He created for sustenance. To raise those things in the way He designed--free of chemicals and foods that they're not made to eat.

-to raise our children to know what it feels like make dirt from kitchen scraps and yard clippings and plant a tiny seed in that dirt and then nurture, harvest and eat that miraculousness.

-to find more joy in just being together instead of being so busy

-to give abundantly of what we have to others...not just money, but mostly time and love

-to not chase so hard after a dollar so we can do one more thing or buy one more thing that we lose ourselves and our family in the meantime

-to show others, through our lifestyle and the joy we find in it, that Christianity is an amazing adventure instead of a pain-in-the-ass living sacrifice

And that's just what I've clearly heard/seen Him speak into our lives...I know there is so much more on the horizon for us!

Ultimately, the conclusion we've come to in all our prayer and all of our reading and all of our hearts is that if our faith doesn't move us to do something, it's worth nothing. Who wants that? Who wants a dead faith? How can we share this amazing gift we have (the love and relationship with Jesus Christ) if we make it look like something you wouldn't give 2 cents for? When we grumble all through the week and grumble again on Sundays cuz we "had to" get up who wants to be us?? We do ourselves a serious disservice to not investigate why we feel that way and what it REALLY means. It doesn't mean we aren't devout enough, it simply means we haven't taken the time to figure out what grace actually is.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Mmmm...and this is why we are real friends. The civil religion (as Daniel likes to call it) or American Christianity (as I call it) is such a joke. Like cheap wine. I completely agree with your thoughts about actually reading the Bible for ourselves. I think the number one reason "we" don't really ever share our faith with others is because we don't even own our faith in the first place, so how can we share it? And it IS so stinkin hard sometimes to live so differently, so contrary to what the world says; look at the beatitudes! God has blessings for the poor and weak; America is the land for us to pursue happiness...(but what happens when my happiness causes you to be unhappy, then what?) and American happiness is power and money...security, independence. How does that fit into God's call for community and utter dependence on Him?? Scripture indicates that being a disciple of Christ, a Christ-follower, is something that is much different than the life style that most of American "Christians" live. The parable of the seeds says that only 1 out of 4 actually have roots and produce fruit of their faith; the road we are called is narrow and only a FEW find it. That is not compatible with the majority of our nation claiming to be Christian.
Ok, I'm sure I've spewed enough. And I'm sure I may sound cynical. There is nothing "elite" about following Christ, in no way do I want to sound like I found the way, or a better way, to be a Christian because of some smartness or superiority of my own. The truth is simply there for everyone to accept or reject, but we have to acknowledge truth first. Thanks, Tara. I hadn't seen this post before, so sorry I've commented so late...and babbled so much. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!