"A party? Yes, girl. It will be a party such as the world of Krynn has not seen since before the Cataclysm! Be ready, Tika Waylan. Be ready!"
something jumped out at me in galatians one day. not the radical freedom. that's something else... (that jumped out at me a different time.) for our discussion here, this has to do with gal. 2:11-14. what's important about this story for us is not whether paul was right or peter was wrong. what is important to me here is that post-resurrection, post-pentecost, post-conversion of saul, we see THAT ONE OF THE APOSTLES WAS WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING. of course, since paul is the one telling us of the event, he paints himself as the hero. and as i said, it matters little to me for this discussion, which one was wrong or right. but it is, to me, a very big deal to know that through it all, the apostles were not perfect.
which makes me wonder if there was anything else they were not perfect about? is it possible that some of the things they had to say came out of their own experience and limited understanding and were not god desperately trying to communicate a message of law for all people for all time? when jesus said that holy spirit would guide us into all truth, could this perhaps have been a bigger process than even the apostles knew?
because as i read their letters, i get the sense that they are simply sharing out of their own wealth of experience from god. but as they write, you can certainly tell that their own experiences and personalities color what is being shared. for example, paul is one who LOVES to use extreme language. he frequently uses words like, "all" or "never." and i'm sure he was using them to drive home a point much like many of us do when we use similar language, even though it may not be the whole truth. "i'm starving" and "i LOVE this television show" being two examples off the top of my head.
yet, because we have been given and taught the assumption that the apostles were "orthodox perfection" and that their letters are "god speaking to us" we do not take his extreme language into account. we form our theologies and doctrines off of something so grandiose and inflexible, that many times being in institutions founded on precisely this type of thinking, you find yourself cold, empty, and devoid of the real power of a life lived experiencing god first-hand.
as i believe these men did.
one of my big problems, and one the leadership didn't know what to do with, is not that i haven't studied, but rather the opposite. i HAVE studied. too much. i've heard the theories. i've read the books. i've debated the doctrines. i've fought for being right and trying to put to shame all who oppose for the sake of "god's glory" never seeing the irony. until one day...
god simply cracked open my world and began to show me the truth about what it means for me to be a follower of his. and it is a much more wide-open freedom based thing than i could have ever imagined. at least, that has been my experience. to learn, to grow, to mess up, these things are all a part of it. and as i began to see this through my own experience, i began to see it also through the eyes of men and women thousands of years ago who had similar experiences. i began to see through the cracks to the people just doing the best they knew with what knowledge they had. did they receive revelation? to be sure. but did they receive a new law? hmmm.... i am much less convinced of that notion any longer.
i believe WE ARE ALL priests and now have equal access to god. and instead of hearing over and over again what a pastor believes, or what some other men hundreds and thousands of years ago believed, i want to know what I believe. i want to know what god wants from me now, today, in this specific moment in history. and while i can read these accounts and relating experiences, and in many cases find them to be the only ones who can relate to god reaching into their lives and asking such wild and unpredictable and unpopular things from them, i don't think those things in and of themselves are what god wants from us today.
for example, i have heard ezk. 3:17-21 used by many as the reason they feel the need to get in people's faces about their "eternal destiny." they assume that if they don't use their best tricks (guilt, manipulation, fear mongering...) to try to get that person "saved" then god will "send them to hell" as well as the other person. i maintain this is a faulty understanding of grace, first and foremost, but also the bible and what it actually is. strange that people feel so convicted over this word from god to ezekiel, but they don't get too twisted up or feel obligated to "lay on their sides and cook their food over cow dung." why is one directive for everyone for all time, and the other for ezekiel specifically? really, there is no reason. it is arbitrary.
but once we can get ahold of the fact that nothing in the bible, in the original context, is a "message for me", then and only then do i feel that the spirit can really break through in your life. the bible can be used to show you things and teach you things as the spirit directs, but it is not, in my mind, a list of imperatives for each individual to try to clone themselves after.
this leads to me needing to know what god wants from me specifically, and needing to understand the difference between "abiding by the law" and "abiding by the spirit."
damn it. i'm going to need another post to finish this up. this is enough for now. at least we got down 4 more lines...
A two week break
9 hours ago