Tuesday, September 9, 2008

strains credulity

The Bible should be shocking. The charge given by Jesus that ends Matthew should make my head spin. A man who was dead is alive and setting up meetings. There have always been those of two minds... the doubters. Jesus claims the authority of God, thus revealing his true nature. And those 11 folk who showed up to worship and/or doubt, led to the Reverend John Touchberry becoming a disciple, and thus turning me into a disciple.

We are a varied group that meet on Mondays to speak about our journey.... what is the punch line to this joke... 3 ex-catholics, 2 life time Episcopalians, a protestant mutt, and an ex- Lutheran meet to discuss how they were made into Christians...

I remember a few things from my youth at church (keep in mind I do not have one memory of elementary school).... I loved the end of the worship service. As we stood after having sung the last hymn, the organist would play through one more time. In the silence of the music I would make up lyrics in my head. I remember thinking about becoming a minister, but by the time I was to be confirmed, I was going through the motions. It was a fake confirmation. I was on my way out of church, away from belief, beyond doubts. 20 years or so pass.

Then a few weeks after moving to Lansdale we walked into a UCC church, and the man mentioned above caught my spirit on fire. Who would think that a ex-Southern Baptist minister would do that to the likes of me? It wasn't what I expected. I don't know what I expected.

What those early years as a Lutheran did was to "make" a Christian out of me. It seems right to me that God loves all humans and sees no perfect path to take on a journey. If born to folk of another faith, I would not have been made a Christian. I still may have been made a Christian later in life.

Today in Biology class I started with all of life and kept drawing branches till humans were standing alone on the evolutionary tree. I try to imagine a tree going back in time from those disciples who made a Christian out of me--- my parents, ministers, friends, authors strangers. It is as mind blowing as the tree that would take humans back to the bacteria we are most related to on that tree of life. In the case of my disciples they would take many a different journey, but it would lead to one of those 11 who were charged by Jesus, then to Jesus.

Today in geology I wrote "strains credulity" on the board. We had just finished speaking about the first 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 of a second of the universe. densities and temperatures beyond imagination, unification of matter and energy, expansion rates beyond compare.

Even one who believes too easily would have doubts.

5 comments:

  1. For me, Wayne, while paths may differ and, thereby, perspectives contrast, yet there is that one constant: the Holy Spirit. When I view such issues, my mind starts spinning. What if I had not married my wife? Would I still have found my way to Him via some other denomination? What if I had died in the interim? I could go on and on; but the one thing of which I am sure is this: God's Spirit has been in the periphery of my existence from the get-go. How we got to where we are is, indeed, mind-boggling. Yet, what is there about God that can't be so described?....

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  2. Jim--- as for the multiple what if questions about your life, I just happen to know all the answers but will let you stay in the dark ;')

    as for that final question... the answer explains why some say it is impossible to describe God. Yet, most of us try at some point anyway.

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  3. I've always had trouble with the charge to make disciples of all nations but love the statement about being with us through the ages. As for the bible being shocking, I generally read through a radical, social justice lens and am always feeling challenged.

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  4. Kathryn--- the Reverend, mentioned in the post, was once asked by myself about missionaries. He thought that the role of a missionary was to help folk to become the best person they could be. So a Buddhist introduced to Christ, may still be a Buddhist but be better for the introduction. I was raised to be a Christian, yet the Buddhist thought that has been introduced to me can help me be a better Christian. Once I understood mindfulness from their perspective I saw it more often in the teachings of Jesus. Just as I wouldn't want a faith to be forced upon me, I wouldn't want mine forced onto another. Introducing folk to Christ, I can live with.

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  5. I like that way of thinking about it - quite helpful actually. I take things from a variety of traditions myself and see more similarities than differences between most of them.

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