I sometimes shudder to post my personal, theological views publicly for anyone to see and know. Partly because none of them (except for Jesus) are solid. I am always learning and developing and growing. This is how I think we should all be. If we are always stuck constantly believing the same things forever, how much fruit can we produce throughout our life? We will have grown to one height and stayed there—never branching out and spreading our limbs and roots—our trunk staying skinny and weak?
So here I am.
A medium sized oak. Yeah, just medium sized. I will only grow more.
But this is what has been haunting me lately and causing some growing pangs:
I believe that when Christ said, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” that he was making it clear he was the only way.
But here’s the kicker:
When he died on that cross and was resurrected, the way was made for all people. He did it. He finished it. Case closed.
That’s pretty radical, right? It makes me what people call a “universalist”…and no one says that word with respect and tenderness. They kinda spit it out with condemnation and disdain. It’s not something you want someone to label you. I wouldn't say that even accurately describes me...
And as much as I am growing and learning, I’m also unlearning—shedding ideas that don’t fit anymore. I’m also coming to a place where I understand that I don’t know very much at all. I don’t have all the answers! I thought I had lots of answers, but I’ve been tossing them out and leaving them with old ideas like a snake that slithers out of it’s skin.
Maybe comparing myself to a snake it too grotesque? A snail that needs a bigger shell? I flower whose roots have grown too wide for it’s pot?
I don’t know.
But I think there comes a point when all people have the chance to stand in the true knowledge and love of a Good Father. Everyone. And maybe, because of darkness or pain or wounds or the enemy, they don’t get that chance in this life of flesh and blood? Maybe it’s not until after our physical death?
I know that someone will ask me about the rich man and Abraham, and I will get into that at another time. There is so much to explain and talk about that it’s easy to fall into a hole. For now, I will just say that I was staring down at my sleeping two year old in my lap. Suddenly it occured to me that one of my biggest fears as a parent has been that they will grow up and not know God and end up in hell. And I shook my head. Why am I continuing to cling to that image of my Heavenly Father? The image that traditional, conservative, funamentalistic evengelicalim (are those even words) has taught me? How could I believe in a Father that could take my children and throw them into the fires of hell because they somehow missed the mark? And why would I want my children to grow up to believe that too?
That's simply religion; fear-based religion. I am starting to firmly believe that religion is not of God and is a way to control masses of people. It gives power and authority that is not of God.
But today, I want to leave you with a paragraph from Rob Bell’s Love Wins:
“Jesus calls disciples to keep entering into this shared life of peace and joy as it transforms our hearts, until it’s the most natural way to live that we can imagine. Until it’s second nature. Until we naturally embody and practice the kind of attitudes and actions that will go on in the age to come. A discussion about how to “just get into heaven” has no place in the life of a disciple of Jesus, because it’s missing the point of it all.”
There is so much more to Christ than Christianity offers. Christianity has taken His story and made it their own—making Him so much smaller than He is—and making His love conditional.
I don’t want to return to that.
I want to live more like Jesus, and less like Christians.
Christianity is a religion, and Jesus did not come to make another religion. A church? The spotless bride? Sure. But I don’t think the American Church is that. Not even close. I think it has severely fallen short in it's quest for power...
And maybe even money.
I know. It’s a radical statement.