Doing it wrong

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith (Photo credit: hannahclark)

“If God does not exist, we lose a life devoted to seeking to love, to live generously, to speak truth and to do justice.”  ~ John Ortberg, Faith & Doubt

After making that not-altogether-true statement, Ortberg blows breezily on to his next point, not bothering to stay awhile with this one, expanding and expounding on it, failing to unpack it in a meaningful, worthwhile way.

‘Cause, you see, frankly?  I think that line is bull.  It assumes that only in acknowledging the existence of YHWH God can we live a life devoted to love, generous living, truth and justice.  (A little “truth, justice and the American way,” anyway?  Way to merge faith with patriotism there.)

YHWH God is my God.  Anyone who has read this blog once or is a regular follower knows that.  However, YHWH is not the deity of choice for my Pagan friends.  Nor is YHWH god for my atheist friends.  They respect my choice, and I respect theirs.  It’s what friends do.

And yet, I know some very loving Wiccans.  And some generously giving agnostics.  And I have atheist friends who are passionate about justice for the disenfranchised, the poor, the alienated and the oppressed.  God does not exist for them, and yet, they still manage to show love, mercy and compassion on people.

Written works with bad grammar are off-putting enough (Faith & Doubt delivers there, too, unfortunately), but so-called Christian works with narrow-minded, exclusive statements really bother me, because then people of other faiths believe all Christians are like that.  Perhaps we Christians need to learn some things from our loving, compassionate, accepting co-createds of other faiths.  Many times I’ve acted out my interpretation of my faith in ways that were loving, accepting, non-judgmental and demonstrated my personal environmental ethics and have been called a Pagan (warmly, by Pagans).  I’ll chuckle and say, “Nah, I’m a Christian,” and they’re surprised, often responding, “You don’t act like any Christian I’ve encountered before.  You’re loving and you don’t judge me.”  That’s sad to me, because it seems the Pagans have this Christ-like thing down better than most Christians do.

We Christians need to step up our game.  We need to get better at showing God’s unconditional love to people and step down off our judgmental soapboxes.

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