Putting off the “love bit”

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“It’s never going to work”, Nan’s Notebook

“I am not a believer.

I left Christianity nearly 20 years ago and have not regretted my decision for one single moment.”

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More and more I wonder why we have made “believer” synonymous with “faith and/or religion” – which means “believing” is now “believing” in a proscribed and defined deity.  And is the cause of much verbal warfare (and far worse) … of many institutions and the ongoing “warfare” over their legitimacy/supremacy assumed AND legitimacy/supremacy challenged.

(all of which “gets in the way” a tad)

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I was a believer of many things before I became a “believer”.

I still am.

I believed in love – and still do.  I believed in hard work and getting up again – and still do.  I believed in kindness – and still do.  I believed I shouldn’t be rude – and …  I believed my mum and dad knew everything – and …  I believed my big brother was awesome – and still do.  Just not in the idolising/hate way I used to.

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In short, my living is founded on beliefs of all kinds.  And those beliefs changed and still change.  My “believer” belief no different.

“I am not a believer.” Is like saying I am dead.  Unable to believe anything anymore.  Beyond belief.  Literally.

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I am.

A believer and always will be.

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But what I believe … Now that changes constantly.

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I see Jesus being a believer.

Of love. Of kindness.  Of meeting each where each is in that moment.  Of not labelling or categorising or compartmentalising.   Of allowing and empowering.  Of enabling and liberating.  Of changing for me as I change for me.

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As for the “factual” and “literal” healing and miracles and superpowers and dying and resurrecting and the “evidence” of the bible …

Which must include all that sacrifice and slavery and original sin not eating bacon sandwiches and genocide (repeatedly) of the Old God … 

I don’t need that to be true as I don’t need the New God and the cross to be true.

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For if I need that to be true to be a “believer” … what else do I “need”?

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So, when Nan comes along and blows great big holes in my “believing” (she has written a superb book challenging the “believers” beliefs) … then where do I go and what do I “believe”?

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And all that Old God “badboy stuff” … ?

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My reading is that loads of that (going back to the Garden and forwards) was a crafted and superstitious and controlling bigging-up of “my God is bigger than your God” rhetoric.  Because there is no point in being “Chosen” if your God ain’t the Biggest Baddest Top Table God.

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But – If I read the bible right … I don’t think Jesus needs anything.

Which is the power of love without any conditions at all.

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Maybe that’s why we struggle with love.

We need it to be conditional.

So we argue about “the conditions” …

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which (conveniently) puts off the “love” bit.

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Giving God a bad name

I have a lot of questions. Not so many answers.

But some questions need answers.

Like why does it matter so much “proving God” – why does faith and belief need to be supported by evidence – is that not an incompatible mix – and are there areas of our lives where belief and supporting evidence are missing – yet we live quite happily with that gap – and if we can do that – why can we not with “God stuff”?

Because I find that a lot of people who need “proof of God” have been “hurt by God”. That the God they were taught, browbeaten into believing – “that God” – let them down.  “That God” doesn’t fix everything as they were taught He would … “That God” doesn’t care like they were taught He did care.

And just like so many relationships that end badly – where “it ends” can become fixed in time – where everything changes but the hurt – and the hurt festers – and “the wounded party” festers.  And every injustice thereafter, every God-lover thereafter, every prayer and hymn and innocent enthusiasm for God stuff thereafter … that just rubs salt into an open wound.

I see no difference between “that” and any relationship that was so important, so sustaining, so life-giving – but was then torn asunder – without closure – with no tidying the loose threads – without any moving on.  It happens.  And there are lots of ways we learn to live without healing every “rift” that happens in our lives.

But when it comes to God?

I see “membership issues” – I see “believers” arguing with “non-believers” – I see both sides applying “logic and objectivity” to ”faith and belief” – refusing to see that they are opposite sides of the same coin (“opposite sides of different universes” seems to be the preferred starting point).

Jesus was a cool dude when it came to demolishing “non-believing-believers”:

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.’ There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.” Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.” Mark 12:18-27

I read the verses above and focus on the final four words: “You are quite wrong” – I read the verses above and hold it as a lesson learned: how to deal with those who have not healed, who do not wish to heal – how to deal with “non-believing-believers”.

And I am quite wrong to do so.

Because when someone tells me I am wrong to believe in God, wrong to have a relationship with God, asks for my proof, demands to see the archaeology, insists on historical evidence outside of the bible, smirks at my living my life on a lie … all of that and more (the stuff I see below so many posts) … I always wonder: If you have no “God” that you believe(d) in – why bother to even ask the question?  And why waste your time listening/reading an answer we both know you will reject?  So what more might we have in common?

But if that is not enough, I am reminded of  some post-Jesus verses that are relevant (and which everyone loves to paraphrase): “If I am this … that … or the other – AND DO NOT HAVE LOVE – I am only … I am nothing … I have nothing – because love does not … love never fails … and the greatest is love” 1 Corinthians 13  

But if love is too “nice” for you …

If I am really in a “healthy relationship” – why would there EVER be a need to hurt others (and because I have no idea what may happen tomorrow in my life and in my relationship with God – just as those who hurt had no idea what was in their “tomorrow”)?

But if that cuts no ice …

Even God Soft Hands Jesus never “healed them all”. So when you can’t either … why would you even think you could?

And if none of that does it for you …

Please don’t do God a disservice by beating-up others because they disagree with you.   It just gives God (and me) a bad name.