For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.
David S – brmckay, I’m always glad when you join the conversation.
Where I agree: I believe that selflessness, community, and inclusion (and ultimately shalom) are all hallmarks of the kingdom. That requires a focus on others and not self (…you know, following Christ’s example). I, too, believe that self-centeredness distances us from God (and, BTW, it keeps us from living into the fullness of life).
Where I disagree: No one knows how salvation works. Talk of heaven and hell is little more than theological folly. It’s entirely possible that, when all is finally revealed, our proverbial selfish sinner will be reconciled to God and perfectly content in the kingdom.
If your discomfort is that the comments are downplaying the sinful nature of man and our need for God, I disagree. There’s a balance to be struck. Yes, Christ was sinless, but he was also fully human and stood in solidarity with broken people like me. We need to honor both His divinity and his humanity. I think any doctrine that engenders self-loathing can seriously impede our ability to love our neighbor. Instead, I think that a doctrine that emphasizes redemption (instead of sin) fully acknowledges our human fallibility and more appropriately celebrates God’s grace.
Thanks for the feedback.
I was just frustrated by the dualistic nature of the Christian relationship to God. Both the original quote in John’s article, and the comments about it, seemed similarly skewed.
I know we need to frame our discourse in terms that reflect our experience of the world, but sometimes it just seems to impede a deeper understanding. I fear that our dilemma gets reinforced even by the language and attitude of reverence for God.
I like, and don’t have any problem with, the last line of your comment. In fact, “redemption” for me, equates to enlightenment, and only through grace can it be revealed. But to whom? By whom?
Today is one of the days I feel less aligned with y’all.
The heavy dualism implied by, “A person … would not be happy there…”, goes unchallenged.
And much less so: “God gave us free will so we would love Him by choice ….”
For me, attachment to the “small i” self is a force like gravity. The greater the attachment to me and mine, the further from “heaven” .
Clinging to individual “personhood” perpetuates the diaspora.
Christ is the “Capital I” Self. The True Self of sinner and saint alike.
To know this completely in the Here and Now, as Lyn has said, “…takes work.” and yes, “…that’s Christianity in all its simplicity and complexity.”
Todd Reeder – The bible says you can not serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other. So can not Serve God and Satan. Only one. Like the Bob Dylan song says. You got to serve somebody.
Serve God by not serving the god/satan duality.
If there is a shadow, it is not God.
If we require that God be only “good” and “loving”, we keep the “bad” and “hateful” in play.
Real Love has nothing in opposition to it.
Knowing God means knowing there is only God.