The Great (c)Omission

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Following-on from yesterday’s post …

These are personal thoughts.

“Plop …”

🙂

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Paul

Just me being curious

Arising from a comment I made yesterday elsewhere and expand-on here.  The topic was bums on seats (as the “church attendance debate” might be called).  Or “falling church attendance” as the debate always seems to be.

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I think for me it is an obvious preference for conditional love that is the difference.  Conditional love controls (otherwise it would be unconditional).  Unconditional love cannot control (otherwise it would be conditional).

And preaching unconditional love and loving conditionally makes no sense – just as preaching conditional love and loving unconditionally would make no sense either.

It seems to me that religion avoids that (obvious) silliness by focusing on sin.  Because sin makes loving conditionally easy.  And sin makes preaching unconditional love easy.

It’s not my fault you see.  I am a sinner saved – and because of (original) sin I cannot love unconditionally (but I can preach it).

But what…

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Stop emphasizing guilt

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Understanding The New Apathy About Church Attendance

“For example, while scrolling through my Facebook feed last weekend, I came across multiple posts with sarcastic takes on how sad/interesting/ridiculous it is that people can get up early for a sale at Walmart or to sit on freezing seats for a sporting event, but they can’t get up for church on Sunday.

Oh my.

There are so many things wrong with that kind of thinking I hardly know where to start.”

And this …

“Church attendance or non-attendance is a less accurate measure of someone’s commitment level or spiritual maturity than we’ve convinced ourselves it is.”

Or this …

“That’s what we need to do.

Stop emphasizing guilt about church attendance.  Start emphasizing the joy of belonging.”

Karl Vaters, Christianity Today

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The weakest link

“As a father I have seen our sons and daughters pair-up with some very odd partners. Some I haven’t even wanted in our home let alone as a potential future “partner” … others I saw no reason (for our wonderfully gifted and talented and sensible and loving children) to see anything good-in as we smiled to those words “Mum … Dad … I want you to meet … “”

Talking about The Law again.

The bible law, the God law, the sacred law, the law and all its commandments.

“Of course that wasn’t enough. Ten were okay for the big picture but not enough for the detail. The devil is always in the detail! So more were needed and were readily provided. And catalogued. And defended. And enforced. And paid for (no such thing as a free law).”

It’s a long read this morning.

But I stuck in a few pictures – so I hope it’s an okay read …

“I keep hearing this “What God has joined together” argument – but always used to validate “love” we like – never “love” we don’t. And I think I finally get why …”

Want to pull up a seat?

Thank you –

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Paul

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Just me being curious

Best get a *cuppa something” before you start this – it’s a long read this morning … 

Ready? 🙂

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We usually find the weakest link when something breaks.

Like the link on a delicate chain … Like our capacity to cope … Like when we didn’t really mean to break something … Or like this …

“Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’  He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’  They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’  But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you.  But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.”  “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to…

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If there wasn’t any Christianity – 2

“You mentioned children earlier.  Are you responsible for them and their actions?  Children who are mid-life adults.  Adults with their own homes, own partners, own children …  Are you telling me that is how it is for you?

No.  I am not responsible for their decisions or actions – even if they like to blame me from time to time – even if they sometimes see me in them in a good way (usually not!).  But …”

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How can I be talking to God and discussing “no Christianity”?  Doesn’t that mean I am talking to myself – because if I am talking to God there must be Christianity?

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“I would say that even in this there is no right and wrong answer, no black or white definitive one way.  I would say that for all the flaws and assumptions, all the trying to do right and still doing wrong, for this recycled and cyclical spinning in a very similar place generation after generation …  You have the absolute right to figure this out for yourselves.”

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Pull up and seat and pour yourself a cuppa … join in if you want …

 

Thank you.

Paul

Just me being curious

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Continued …

And that is also a pile of poo.

Why?

Because we take one thing and make it everything.  We take the one thing of “predators” and make it the everything of “fear”.  Yes, there are predators out there.  But they are the minority.  And if we don’t live with that fact – then we will become predators simply because we believe everyone is out to eat us alive.  We become fearful predators and chew others up because we are fearful predators. Confident predators – the “one thing” – eat when they are hungry – chasing prey takes energy. Fearful predators – the “everything” – don’t have that “confident” in them – so they snap at everything out of fear of the “everything”.

And me?

And you as well.  You are “one thing” and we make you the “everything”.  You are the “Did you say thank you…

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If there wasn’t any Christianity – 1

“So Christianity hasn’t made you any better or worse?

I don’t think it has.

Has it made any difference at all?”
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I think my God is interested in more than me listening to him.  I think he is curious about who I am and who I was and who I will become.  I think relationship is why.  I think love is why.

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“And this is my doing?

I am told it is.

And what do you see in the mirror now? “

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He and I are having another chat.  This time not just around the bible but about this whole “religion thing”.

And once again I have no idea where the words are going.

 

Please – you are welcome to listen in – even chat a little if you want.

 

Thank you –

Paul

Just me being curious

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What would you have been if there wasn’t any Christianity?

I think the same as I am now.

So Christianity hasn’t made you any better or worse?

I don’t think it has.

Has it made any difference at all?

Yes. It has made me look at myself in a mirror.  Made me consider what it is I am seeing in the mirror.

And what do you see?

I see someone who should, who must, who ought to.  Someone called a “sinner”. Someone tainted for no reason than someone else says so.  Like being black.  Like being gay.  Like being anything that someone disapproves of.  Just in my case a “sinner” because someone says I am.

And I get angry when I see that reflection. I was born an innocent baby.  And I am a granddad now and I have seen innocent babies.  Innocent babies who are the most…

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What if there is no cross?

“All of this is in my head.

You mean you are The Creator?  🙂

Now that thought wasn’t in my head!  🙂 ”

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All conversations come to plateau – a pause.  Not that the conversation has ended.  More that it needs to breathe.

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“And the alternative?

Same bible – same teaching – different outcome (as we discussed) … “

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Breathing is drawing-in and exhaling-out.  There has been much breathing-in during this conversation below the cross.  Now is the time to breathe-out.  To be still.  And then to take the next step in this wonderful journey.

If you have sat on the grass with us, thank you.  If you stumble upon this chat in the future, thank you.

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“and breathe …. “

🙂

 

Paul

Just me being curious

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continued …

“That is just not me at all … “

Say that thing you were thinking on the dog-walk yesterday, Paul …

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Thank you.  This whole imaginary setting … the cross up there … you nailed to it … you hopping off it to join me here … the words, the questions, the certainties, the imagery … all of that … all of this … you talking to me … me talking to you … ALL of it … It’s me not you.

All of this is in my head.

You mean you are The Creator?  🙂

Now that thought wasn’t in my head!  🙂

But my point is this … I write these conversations as hearing you, but I am really hearing me.  I hear your words, but they are my words.  I talk to you – but I hear me.  I am talking ……

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