Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Awhile back I came across this quote. Which got me thinking that this is something that needs to be addressed. While I cannot speak for all religions, I will speak for the one that I chose.

"Religion leaves no room for human complexity." - Daniel Radcliffe, actor

As a believer it would have been very easy to dismiss his words, and become defensive. Especially since Mr. Radcliffe has a history of turning to alcohol to deal with the complexities of life. However, acting as if you are beyond reproach is not at all helpful in creating better understanding of your beliefs. If anything, such attitudes are more likely to cause people to dismiss what you are trying to endorse. I see just that all the time, not just in my own belief either.

Yet, speaking as a Christian educator, I can see why he would say something like that. Not because I think he is right, but from a shortcoming in the way people sometimes follow the gospel. One thing that I have learned in trying to expand people's knowledge of the gospel, is that many people are content with their two-dimensional faith. There is little desire to explore the depths and complexities of truth. By keeping their beliefs shallow, they never have to challenge themselves or accept any kind of spiritual responsibility. Such people offer Jesus as a blanket answer with no specifics or practical application. For someone who is facing truly complex problems, such broad non-specific answers are of little help. If anything they are discouraging, and create people who think like Mr. Radcliffe. In the end, it is uninspired followers who are not addressing human complexity, not the gospel that they say they are following.

For many, the only exposure they get of Christianity is through the unmotivated people who claim to follow it. But, as I have often said, you cannot judge any belief system by those who claim to follow it. (Yet they do.) No matter how good and true it may be, people are still people. They are imperfect and prone to error. Being a disciple does not automatically make us immune to error overnight. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Just look at Peter, he was known for his mistakes.

This is far too complex an issue to address exhaustively in a single post, so I'll be writing a whole series on where the church needs to delve into the complexities of truth to a greater depth.

The Visual PARABLEist

How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? -Proverbs 1:22 

a person holding onto a security blanket that is tied to a huge weight
click to enlarge

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Offering Salvation

   Salvation is a vital element of Christian theology. Of course, this is not news, and this has not changed at all over the centuries; nor should it. However, the world has changed a lot, and has made people rather immune and prejudiced towards the concept of salvation. I say this for the simple fact that the world is telling everyone that they don't need salvation. They are being told to embrace self at face value, brokenness, and all. Including the self-destructive behaviors we tend to adopt to cope with our brokenness. Also that anyone who is saying otherwise is an intolerant hater. Which people are believing, because they want to believe it, since it caters to the tendencies of human nature. Such reckless self-indulgence is only proving to magnify all the hurt, pain, and suffering in the world. 
   This is something that we the church really need to keep in mind in our outreach efforts. To go deeper than merely saying they need salvation, and to start explaining why they need salvation. We can start to do that by recognizing and being empathetic towards the pain, and suffering of the lost. Rather than criticize people for the sinful ways that they are dealing with their hurts. Since behind much of our sin, is a spiritual, or emotional wound. Much of the bad we do services a need in an artificial way, by provoking a feeling we wish we had, or covering up a feeling we wish we didn't. Judging such people is like slapping someone for having cancer, or forcing a person with a broken leg to run a marathon. Which is not helpful or beneficial for the individual being judged, or the church the judge represents. If anything it creates the illusion that the world is somehow right in rejecting the notion of sin and salvation. As well as redirect the failure of the worlds ways back at the church, by making it seem that the only thing keeping it from working, is the lack off acceptance of church people. A falsity the world is exploiting rather effectively, and many in the church are unwittingly reinforcing it with their unloving ways.
   As tough as it may be, sometimes we must allow people to suffer the consequences of their own actions, as God often did. It is the only way for people to see their actions for what they are. When that moment arises, we need to be prepared to help, not hurt. 

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. -Romans 1:24-25

Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.” -Judges 2:20-22

A person getting a distorted view by looking through his wounded heart.
click to enlarge