Sects in the City...
I was thinking about Donald Miller, Rob Bell, C.S. Lewis and John Eldredge today. Each of these men have been instrumental thinkers that have meddled in my b'ness and challenged my theology. I love them for it.
But I was thinking of how many religious folk want these guys dead. I've read several scathing diatribes attacking each of these "emergent" personalities, some even employing the harsh language of holy war. Things like "You're going to burn in hell" and "I hope God takes you out" and "you will wish you were never born". I think certain psuedo-Christians wish death upon these men and fantasize, in weak moments, about being the one to take them out. Violent words coming from violent thoughts litter the internet, calling down curses and damnation on these controversial wolves in sheep's clothing. In my opinion, the ones throwing the verbal stones are sheep in wolves clothing.
I can't believe how many Christians I don't get along with. I run across "believers" on a fairly regular basis that I share very little in common with other than a rudimentary belief in the substitutionary atonement of Christ. But even our espousal of similar doctrinal facts leaves me confused all the more as to how the knowledge of those factoids could lead us to such different expressions of the gospel.
I don't agree with everything the aforementioned authors venture to write about. But at least they aren't karaoke in their approach to God, church history and the advancing Kingdom. They are asking questions and questioning answers, and I feel it to be quite helpful to be honest. I feel something gritty in their thoughts, something that makes me glad I'm alive. It teaches me how to think, instead of what to think.
There are certain guys out there (I'll leave them unnamed for now) that just repeat the all to familiar interpretations and expressions of religion that have put people to sleep for years. This is not to chuck the baby out with the bathwater, leaving behind the solid and unquestionable teachings of the Scriptures. Not at all! But you have to appreciate the tenacious hearts of those who want to siphon out the bathwater seeing what the baby would look like sporting its birthday suit. The naked truth is transfixing. And the raw and naked approach to addressing and undressing God really lights my logs. I'm, more than ever, interested in what God looks like naked. He has been clothed in so many man-made garments over the years. The naked truth. The naked God. This intrigues me.
I really wish I could get along with all these sects of Christianity better than I do, but I just can't get over the chasm that stands between our expressions of faith. The psyche, the attitude, the personality, the philosophy. These things just confound me. We're looking at the same Bible and coming away with a different looking Jesus. I'll be the first to admit that I'm guilty as charged with fraudulent and facelifting interpretations of Jesus over the years, but if I'm going to error, I think I'll error with grace.
I enjoy hanging out with pagans alot. I, at least, feel like I know who I'm talking to. But when I'm talking to many Christians out there, I have not idea which Jesus, from what proof texts, they are following; and this, I've found, lends itself to a very awkward encounter where both parties are feeling each other out with ten foot polls, not knowing whether to shout out, "Brotha!" or "Anathema!"
There are so many "Sects in the City" aren't there?
I'm just thankful for good thinkers out there who are calling us to back up our faith with something that makes sense to the heart, body and soul.