Updated on October 14, 2015
Updated on October 14, 2015
I read several blogs as regularly as I can. One blog in particular is by John Pavlovitz. He is wildly courageous in his writing and challenges many of the pillars of the Christian faith that we hold dear. His by-line is “Stuff that needs to be said,” and that is exactly what it is. Sometimes it’s pretty strong and insanely challenging. He asks the questions that I am often afraid to ask. He gives me a safe place to doubt, in a world where doubting your faith can seem like “backsliding.”
The other night I happened to be looking at a few of his posts and I noticed that one had 142 comments. Curious, I started scrolling through them. They were full of debates, and people writing essays about their beliefs, what they agreed with and what they didn’t. One comment that hit me hard, was by a man with “Th.M” after his name who said he was a pastor. The vile, hateful, awful things he said… I have no words. I had to wonder to myself why this guy was even bothering to read a blog written by a man that he completely disagrees with!
One of the comments he made, was that John is “one of those people that is moving the lines of our faith.” He accused him of not even knowing Jesus. Honestly, this kind of stuff makes my heart hurt a little bit, and is one of the reasons I often won’t dive into comments on controversial topics. People can be so mean. But one of the people who responded to the nasty comments said this,
“When did Jesus not move the lines.”
I had to stop and think about that for a minute. When I read the accounts of the living, breathing Jesus who walked this earth, I too see a man who was consistently “moving the lines” of the well-drawn circle of religion. And before you go saying that those lines needed to move but our lines don’t, can we just stop and accept that maybe we don’t know everything there is to know about Jesus and about God and about how his Spirit works in our world? Can we give space for others’ opinions and ideas and offer up some grace for heaven’s sake for people to think and express?
Because in the end, the real and true Gospel is a call to follow Jesus, not a call to follow rules and laws.
If I am a follower of Jesus, that means I regard compassion above the law. His example would seem to disregard the law if it got in the way of compassion. Too dangerous for you? Well imagine how dangerous it felt 2000 years ago when Jesus started a revolution. He threatened the very culture that was built on centuries of finely crafted rules and regulations. When you upset the very culture that holds things into place, you’re going to be looked at as a threat. You’re going to get yourself killed.
The Pharisees were bound by the shame and honor codes that shaped their culture and their lives. Some Christians today are bound by similar shame and honor codes, and we are insanely cruel to one another because of it.
Let’s be people of grace and kindness and patience. Let’s remember that questioning our faith or doubting things in the Bible and asking questions is not heresy. Can we trust the Holy Spirit to lead people on a path to truth without our help? Can we accept that what we believe to be absolute truth may not be as absolute as we think it is? And maybe, just maybe we can learn a little bit from each other as we break down the walls and put love first. Because in the end,
This is the 15th post in my series Love Never Fails for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge. You can click here to go to my introduction page and find links to all the posts in the series. Also, if you’d like to receive these posts directly in your inbox, just enter your email address in the bar to the right. I promise to never share your information.
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