as advent approaches (a week late, this year), i find myself continually rehashing the following thoughts from brian mclaren’s most recent work, why did jesus, moses, the buddha, and mohammed cross the road? :: christian identity in a multi-faith world on the topic ::
what if, this year, we weren’t just thankful at the table, but tomorrow as well?
sometimes, hermeneutics can be tricky. we’ve discussed some of the basic rules of biblical interpretation here at the WayWard follower before, mainly that context and usage determine meaning.
even still, the ‘rules’ we apply to passages often introduce problems to our exegesis.
yet these problems often matter a great deal.
‘a heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes.’
— gotthold ephraim lessing
it was an exciting time for the people of God. after wandering in the wilderness for forty years, they had come up to the jordan river – the barrier that protected the people of canaan against an invasion of their land – and crossed. the inhabitants of the land had heard of the miracle of these israelites crossing on dry land and filed behind the mysterious ark of the covenant the jews made with their God, YHVH. their hearts melted.
joshua had recently taken the mantle of leadership from their prophet moses, and had his blessing to bring these people into the land that had been promised so many years before to their forefather, abraham.
after celebrating the sign of their covenant with God – a painful yet productive endeavor – the manna which had systematically fallen from the sky ceased, and the people for the first time ate fruits in the land of their enemies.
these were exciting times indeed.
one prominent church leader recently publicly stated, ‘we will strive to be a community that welcomes all who hate their sin and struggle against it, even when that struggle involves failures and setbacks.’
many proclaimed that message was hopeful and helpful in extending the grace of God to others.
is that the best we can do?
i believe we can do better.
a coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
— mahatama ghandi
‘who you are not is uninteresting. tell us who you are.’
so often, we define ourselves by stating what (or who) we are against, rather than what or who we are for. and quite frankly, that’s just boring. tired. worn out. uninteresting.
i couldn’t care less to know where you are not. it’s simply unhelpful. i want to know where you are. the world doesn’t need more people to point fingers and place blame. rather than wrapping our identity up in what we don’t want to be defined as, perhaps it would better serve our purposes toward moving to a better future to actually paint one.
as i write this post i only hours ago got off the phone with someone who claimed that me moving forward in building bridges between the evangelical and gay community is evidence of the fact that i’m under ‘demonic oppression and influence.’
among other, less-pleasant things.
and yet i keep writing.
i could be wrong. i’ve been wrong before. lots of times. but…
i think God is up to something.
the number of americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. one in five americans – and 1/3 of adults under the age of 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentage ever in Pew Research Center polling. this growing conglomerate of atheists, agnostics, and ‘nothing in particular’ have been identified as the ‘nones.’
so, what is God up to?