Archives For July 2011

I seem to have a medical condition that is somewhat rare today.  No I am not talking about Cochlear Otosclorosis that caused my deafness  many years ago but one maybe even more rare. That condition is called a “Bleeding Heart”. I know this is a condition that my fellow Republicans loathe. Whenever they want to diss someone they call them a “bleeding heart liberal”.

But I have to admit that I can’t help having this condition. It is just part of who I am. My heart bleeds for those around the world and even in our own country who don’t get enough to eat or where the head of the household is unable to provide even the barest of sustenance for his family.  One hundred, or maybe more years ago hunger was a more common occurrence than it is today. Today we have the technology and know how to feed the world’s population but that doesn’t happen mainly because of politics.

While my bleeding heart might be a rarity now days the only cure I want to find for this condition is to find a way to eleviate the cause.  I will not likely die with my bleeding heart; the more likely cause of my death will the a broken heart in seeing so many people who call themselves Christians, and that especially includes my Republican friends, totally ignore these “brother’s keeper issues while thousands die everyday from hunger or poor drinking water.

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This is the fourth post in the series on a book by Philip Gulley entitle If God Is Love. Here is the quote for this one.

This wrestling with our theology, though absolutely necessary to spiritual growth, often puts our lives out of joint. On several occasions, I thought, “Remind me again why I wanted to question and challenge the beliefs I was taught.” The answer, as with all change, is because what had once satisfied no longer filled me with joy and peace. This spiritual dissatisfaction is a divine gift. God loves us too much to let us remain less than what we can be. Life is designed to challenge our inadequate beliefs and behaviors. Fortunately, God also guides and directs us in new ways. I discovered different answers to questions I’d thought forever settled.

These words have had a profound effect on me the last few years. I was, in so many words, asked to leave my church of eight years because I had grown spiritually enough to know that some of the things they were teaching were simply not what Jesus intended. That discovery, and the sharing of it with some others did put my life out of joint. But as mentioned above this spiritual dissatisfaction was really a divine gift. I no longer found it necessary to believe that Jesus expected nothing from me while I am on this earth. I can now take his constant mantra about being my brother’s keeper more literally than before.  God just loves us too much to let us remain less than what we can be.

God gives us challenges throughout our lives. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, we simply ignore them and go on as we had before. But when we accept the challenge we grow in ways we never expected. Painful as it was at the time, throwing away the “poor worthless sinner” excuse for doing nothing in the life  has made it much more rewarding than remaining in that dulled state of existence I was in while a member of that congregation.

This is a continuation of my expose of the book by Philip Gulley entitled If God Is Love. In this post he talks about Dualistic Theologies.

Dualistic theologies reduce the questions of life to one: Are you saved? Nothing else matters. The purpose of life it to answer that single question. Of course, simply saying “yes” is not enough. You confirm your salvation by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, getting baptized, and receiving the Holy Spirit. Until you have done these things, your life has no meaning.

When salvation is defined so narrowly, it too easily becomes a status rather than a process. It becomes a contractual agreement between an individual and God….  Too often, God’s desire to transform us into mature, responsible, and gracious people was obscured. When religion factored in the fragility of life and the threat of eternal damnation, the product (a spot in heaven) rather than the process (becoming an authentic person) became the priority.

Growing up, I was asked repeatedly, “If you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?” I was never asked, “If you live tomorrow, what kind of life will it be?”

Some call this supposed contract between you and God fire insurance. We sign the papers and then put it on the shelf until it is needed. That is NOT what being a follower of Jesus Christ means to me nor should it to anyone else. Yes it is important that I know where I will be spending eternity but equally important, if not more so,  is how I will live my life tomorrow and all the tomorrows I have left.