Where the hell did you get that idea?

Arthur's Journal on God & Politics
What Does It Mean to be Christian in America?
A God of War
Apocalypse & End Times
Biblical Literalism
Christ Path
Conformity & Orthodoxy
Fear, Shame & Guilt
God & Politics
Goodness, Morality & Sin
Heresy & Heretics
History, Mystery & Doubt
Kindergarten Religion
Mental Spiritual Constructs
Mystical Christianity
Mythical Proportions
Passion of The Christ ...
Someone Else's Magic

Where in hell did you get that idea?

Not in hell but from the reality of life.

The divergence we experience with each other is very much a consequence of each of us taking the position that "your assumptions aren't as true as mine and in fact my assumptions are the truth and your assumptions are myth."

Using the Bible as a mere citation of authority and justified viewpoint has little value to me unless we both agree precisely as to what the Bible is and is not.

I don't agree that the Bible is a citable authority to justify our own value judgments. Since there is no "one true way" to read the Bible, there is no "one true assumption one can make as to whether or not any of us have an opinion that is valid or invalid.

Whether literalist or mystic, it would all come down to having to wait on God Himself to settle our disharmony and lay out the truth (with a capital T) once and for all. Without that, everything remains a function of scripture, prayer, tradition and reason.

I can insist that God speaks to me without conveying comprehensive mandates and commandments for all humanity and one can insist that such a vivid and on-going awareness of a personal revelatory relationship with God is not scriptural. Why, because the words I use compare me not to Jesus Christ, but to someone else's definition of Jesus as the Christ.

The only position one can take from that angle is possession a truth that I do not possess - a truth the comes out of Bible and tradition that insists that I cannot interpret Biblical wisdom in ways that differ from current custom.

The idea that early Christians interpreted the Bible in a world outlook that looks identical to our own contemporary custom is part of the flaw of an inerrant and unchanging Bible.

I have no problems with what is contained in scripture regarding contemporary life issues because I believe in the wisdom of the Bible and not the inerrant, inflexible and restricted "Word" that is supposed to be the once and forever exposition of God on every subject.

The Bible remains valuable to me not because I go there to see "What the Bible says" but to explore what the Bible contains in more than one Biblical verse and how that combined commentary enlightens my thinking.

The spiritual construct of a spirit world where God fights spiritual warfare against Satan and where everything is ultimately good or evil is a false construct. We are handicapped by more than 2000 years of a Catholic Christian distortion of a Jewish reality already confused and grown lethal by the time Christ came.

When you look closely, slowly and with a serious attention to detail, you do not find Jesus teaching or supporting the Judgemental God of Spiritual Warfare whose sons and daughters are conscripts in an age-old battle with evil and a who-knows-from-where empowered Satan. You do not find Jesus teaching that we should be good because God will get us or let Satan have us in one final either/or confrontation.

You will find however Jesus not just saying the words in some projected 21st century fundamentalist notion: "The Kingdom of God is Within You." You will find Jesus preaching that internal kingdom and "The Father and I are one," then conveying in conceivable and believable ways - "and so are you."

Jesus did not make nor announce himself to be the Incarnated Almighty God who appeared in subsequent Roman Christian theology after Nicea. Priestly political and arrogant exposition on New Testament writings created that whole concept of God.

Jesus' repudiation of the God of the Letter of the Law and declaration of the God of Compassion truly became lost in the shuffle of necesity for political survival. It was replaced with a Christianized form of the letter-of-the-law Judaism against which Jesus preached.

We have inherited that construct now in the 21st century. What well-meaning but spiritually immature Christians have tended to do is hide behind the more simple acceptance of the myth of an inerrant Bible containing the once-spoken will of a Judgmental God who cannot tolerate sin with any degree of allowance; A god more interested in obedience than experience; a God limited to rewards or punishments as He presides over a conflict with Satan, giving lie to the literality of an Almighty God who cannot tolerate sin and evil with the least degree of allowance- because Satan just keeps on keeping on.

That circumstance is why our television evangelists cannot preach sermons with depth in them and are left to resorting to form and sizzle above substance.

It's a false idea that God has set up a mortal circumstance where orthodoxy of belief and doctrine supported by inflexible adherance to a shallow spiritual absolute of scriptural innerancy are paramount to eternal progression - more paramount than the idea of existence as an on-going accumulation of wisdom.

That circumstance relegates God, who is supposed to be all-wise, all-knowing and all everything, to merely a school master who has made of life a one-time-only final exam where your score is more important that what you've learned.

The reality is that God, the all-everything, is the true educator who created of this world a schoolroom, laboratory and field trips by which we can continually progress toward knowing more and more what God knows.

The comparisons between these two points of view leave we who contest the issue with an idea that God must and will justify one of us.

On the one hand He must justify the fundamental literalist on how many correct answers we have on our only and final exam before the bar of God -

How many correct and how many incorrect?
How many sins?
Whether or not a born-again moment occured.
Whether a myriad of inconsequential doctrinal hairs were split in the scriptural or God-approved manner.

Or, there will be no bar of judgement as we have had it taught to us; there will be no Rapture with Jesus coming in the clouds with an army of vengeful angels all looking like what the Crusaders must have looked like marching forward to battle the Muslims in medieval times. Tim LaHaye and the End Timers will have wasted theirs and many other lives in fantasy.

Rather, the God of compassion will be awaiting the return of each human singly asking the same questions every time:

What did you learn my son, my daughter? How are you going to use that learning for the future?

God as we understand God will make known the reality of a construct quite different from any which have been imagined. That's why coming to know and commune with God is so exciting.

The American Christian is a journal based in Bay Center, Washington. 
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