The qualified teaching of I can’t

.

.

Qualified theology began life with good intent.

And then become bound in ever-more qualification to become ever-more-all-embracing-ever-more-applicable-to-all-people-throughout-all-time.

“All are welcome” shouldn’t need saying.

But it is all the time.

So too God and Jesus and Mercy and Worship and Grace and Love.

All need qualified explanation with a qualified language that only the qualified can understand and debate.  A language that accommodates every objection and question and doubt.  Or else it would not be explaining The Word of God for all occasions for all people in all circumstances throughout all time.  Because if it can’t then it might be flawed – and God is not flawed – so neither can The Word.

Which is why we need the qualified to teach The Word. 

But an unintended consequence is to insulate-bind this God in a Word that has become of Man to address all questions, doubts and preferences.  Because believers …

Believe!

And believers must be strong in belief … must live a visible and differentiated life of The Good and Worthy Servant.  And that takes strength not doubt –  certainty not questions – perfection not imperfection – needs the Devil to explain temptation – needs Sin and Sinners for giving-in to temptation – and needs the qualified to “ok” (forgive?) my “sinning” (on behalf of God?).

Because God is in all – God is in the very-stinky-unkempt-beer-filled-aggressive-sweary-homeless-person – that is God as well as God in me – the well-dressed-educated-employed-responsible-and-much-blessed-so-must-be-grateful-and should-be-attending-church-person (says the qualified Word of Man God)

“BEEN BLESSED?  Give a Buck, Save a Life!”  (the link to “tax deductible donations” under a God-blog)

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.  It can be received gladly or grudgingly, in big gulps or in tiny tastes, like a deer at the salt.” Anne Lamott  (like so many extracts from The Word, we take the bit that works and discard the rest … “deer at the salt”… really?)

“Grace is a gift from Heavenly Father given through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The word grace, as used in the scriptures, refers primarily to enabling power and spiritual healing offered through the mercy and love of Jesus Christ. … The grace of God helps us every day.”  (a gift we don’t deserve but are given anyway – with all the necessary qualified-baggage – gratitude, worship, servitude, etc)

.

.

It all separates us from God.

And in explaining God-in-The-Bible we make me BEING God-like truly unattainable – make Love (the God-version) TOTALLY unattainable for us (weak-but-strong-in-belief!!) sinners-saved.  Which lets me off the hook on “Love” as well as being “God-like”.   All I can do is to try (unsuccessfully) to be seen to be trying.  That’s what the Word of Man God says.

Like the Word of Man God also says that EVEN gays and lesbians and false teachers and those who believe in a different God or no god at all are “All Are Welcome” if …

Which has one teensy-weensy flaw …  

It is not of Love and Grace and God.  Is not of I Am which IS the Word of God.

Now add Love (without any conditions at all)

not even the “condition” of me loving without any condition at all

– which means gays and lesbians and those who believe in a different God or no god at all AS WELL AS the very-stinky-unkempt-beer-filled-aggressive-sweary-homeless-person (who might ALSO be gay or lesbian or believe in a different God or no god at all) are not even visible as “different” to me by my (qualified) differentiation and my (taught) definition and my (conditional) no-conditions-love.

Or to put it another way …

.

LOVE makes all “invisible” as different in any way to God.

.

Which means ..

.

Love makes all invisible as different in any way to me as well.

.

And if I am Love …

.

.

Then I shouldn’t need the Word of God …

.

To teach me that I can’t.

.

 

That institution we cannot change

Last night someone said they had never seen a picture of Jesus laughing. And I know what they meant. This is the stylised image we have of Jesus:

mon lisa

(Sorry – wrong pose – here He is)

jesus

Our Church. The Sanctuary. The inner sanctum. Where God and Jesus live.

Holy. Polished. Revered. Where we scrub up clean. Where we are washed clean again. Quietly. Reverently. Righteously. That’s the stylised image of church.

And it got me pondering. Why do we prefer our Jesus image to be holy, calm, quiet, thoughtful, tender, silent, constant, eternal, unchanging (and please accept I am guessing on your behalf)?

Because the verses this morning are:

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:1-10

These people are noisy. These people are raucous. These people are not generally attracted to confessional silent reverence. That is the stylised image of sinners: bad people … Lost World peopledrunkardslicentious … unchurchedparty peoplenoisy peopleirreverent people … “not our kind of people at all” people.  And yet … tax collectors and sinners gathered … to hear Jesus.

(and yet WE name ourselves “sinners” week after week … really????)

I remember reading a book by Anthony Robbins – a NeuroLinguistic Programming, NLP, guru – years ago.  He described how he led group sessions for depression. He wrote how he would see all these depressed folks arriving in their cars, chatting to each other, doing all the usual “interaction” stuff we do before the lights go down. And then the lights went down, and out he stepped to call them to order: We are here talk about depression …

And every head went down a little, shoulders slumped a little more, and the “I am depressed” pose swept through the room.

Sort of like I see Sundays: Let’s all prepare for worship …. And the “I am a Christian” slump sweeps through the Sanctuary.

And yet … tax collectors and sinners gathered … to hear Jesus.

Last night someone said they had never seen a picture of Jesus laughing. And I know what they meant. So this morning I went off and found one.

jesus laughing

As with all images used in blogs, copyright is an issue. The Mona Lisa? Tricky!!  Whose copyright of which version of which reproduced image? Stylised Jesus? Tricky!! Same difficulty, same reasons.

But laughing Jesus? When it comes to a “laughing Jesus” I found this:

Who created the iconic image of Laughing Jesus?

It got me thinking: how come I can track back copyright of a “laughing Jesus” so quickly? And that left me pondering:

a) We seem to have established a hierarchy of sinning: the Okay kind – us … and the Not Okay kind – them.  I wonder why that is.  Which then caused me to ponder …

b) Just what is corporate worship doing to Jesus?  And why do we so often distance ourselves from “corporate worship” and “the church” – that institution we cannot change – that gets in the way of God?  Because that led me right back to …

c) We ARE corporate worship … we ARE the church … and until WE change … nothing changes.

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Susan Sayers was the person who asked the question last night.  She brought me closer to My God.  In church.  In a Sanctuary.  In corporate worship.

Here is a little about Susan Sayers

Thank you Susan, I think you prompted a lot of conversations with our Lord last night.

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +