So, starting with that title, let’s see how many people I can offend in one post. Yay. How many people I can upset, while at the same time not burning any worthwhile bridges. At least not any bridges strong enough that it is worthwhile believing or having faith that they will bear your weight.
I’ve just returned from attending the Stellenbosch “instalment” (please provide a better word) of The Static Tour. I have hope. So now this post. Let’s muster some courage and throw some words out there. If you want to know where I’m coming from, please read In Too Deep and (Ex?)Christian Evangelism.
In my search, I’ve discovered a Jesus that I am eager to follow. A story that is truly inspiring. A story about what it means to be human. An understanding of what it means to have a divine spark. A story about a God that I can embrace. That I can “worship”, as I understand “worship” to mean “follow, direct your life according to…” (For the record, I’m a humanist in the broad sense, and I believe Jesus was also. Of course not a “secular humanist”, whatever that means, but someone that cared about the state of this world and the state of humanity.)
I will probably also be misunderstood with my declaration “Jesus is Lord!” And I’m now refusing to clear things up by refusing to provide easy answers right here. With my current understanding, I believe that, in the context of the first century, C.E., I’d be there, declaring “Jesus is Lord!”, fully prepared to die for the declaration. Amongst other things, in that context, it is a highly political statement implying “Caesar is NOT Lord!”
The question of what such a statement means in our context, is something we can explore together. I don’t have easy answers. If you want easy answers, go knock on the door of your favourite fundamentalist group. They have easy answers. Or go read The God Delusion, more easy answers. Go get spoon-fed elsewhere. Here, we deal in questions, we deal in repentance: in rethinking our perspectives, in altering our minds and attitudes. I’m sorry if you don’t like the lack of easy answers, it must be my fascination with the person or meme-complex or whatever that we know as “Jesus”: he answered questions with questions, he spoke in parables. WHY? Have you ever wondered why?
I don’t like time-wasting polarising debate, to-and-fro. That doesn’t get us anywhere. I care about humanity transcending stupid debates. I care about humanity transcending the hell too many of us live in. I care about working towards, striving towards, living in a “Kingdom” of shalom. I care about cooperating to make this happen. I believe many atheists and humanists are way more “Christian” than many Christians.
A friend has sent me to hell (solicited, I wanted to know where he thinks I’m going). I don’t care. He suggests I don’t believe in the same Jesus. Whatever. If you don’t want to call me a Christian, fine. That makes no difference to me. Zip. None. Labels. I don’t care if I believe in your God or not, I can only tell you about my God. And please do tell me about your God, for I have much to learn. And excuse me if I remain somewhat abstract and don’t define “God” into frivolous detail: isn’t “God” supposed to be that something magical and mystical, that something that is beyond definition? Yes, I will play around with the classic definitions a little, and sketch out how they tie in with my views, but I’m not here to simply give you my answers or to hack out answers in an obsessively modernistic way, “here is how it is, accept it or be wrong”. Some answers you have to find for yourself.
One of the problems we typically have on this blog, is lack of common ground, lack of a corpus from which to discuss things. I will suggest some books we can use as a corpus, and you can do the same, but both your and my time is limited. We cannot read everything, unfortunately. Lacking a common corpus from which to communicate will have an impact on the level on which we are able to discuss things.
Furthermore, when discussing things, let’s try to avoid us talking about them. I don’t want to talk about them behind their backs, I want to talk to them. So when it’s just you and me, should we not rather talk about you and me?