Friday, October 26, 2007

Random Thought # 3

Regarding Random Thought #3 (RT3):

RT3- I don't feel at home among those who think it is righteous for church goers to condemn homosexuality while winking at materialism, vanity, and gossip. No wonder so many unbelievers say we are all hypocrites. I am thinking about this sort of thing alot lately.

I was raised in a religious home (including 12 years of Catholic school) but it wasn’t until I was 20 that I came to an understanding of the real meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection and I began to follow Him. I remember that in the early days of my walk with God that I cried a lot because I was just blown away by the truth of the gospel and the grace and mercy of God. I also remember that I spent a lot of time alone. I was home from college for the summer and away from most of my friends and feeling overwhelmed by all that I was coming to understand so I just wanted to be alone, read the Bible, pray and think. I was stunned. Hopeful. Strangely at peace.

In the Fall I went back to college and my friends. None of my college friends understood because none of them were believers. In fact that summer was the first time any one ever explained the gospel to me and, other than the friend who witnessed to me, I didn’t really know any believers. I began to participate in a college ministry, met some believing friends, and began to read books like C.S Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”.

I developed a very black and white sense of how things should be and a sense that life as a Christian and relationships between believers would be much better than it was as an unbeliever. In short I had the idea that all believers would be holy and sinless and above all nice….perfect (after all we were all following the same perfect God, right?). I suppose that was due to my new believer euphoria, the sense of utopia I initially perceived in my beginning fellowship experiences, and also due to my age at the time. When people first learn new things we tend to want rules, standards, and guidelines for how things should be. It is hard to see the gray areas and become comfortable with what we don’t understand. I see this kind of thought all the time with my students now. They want me to tell them exactly what to do to get an “A” and I want them to learn to think for themselves. Part of this is because people don’t really fully develop the higher level analytic thought that allows us to cope with ambiguity and uncertainty on an intellectual level until our mid to late 20’s because certain parts of our brains are not fully myelinated (think “wired”) until then.

After the initial euphoria of my conversion I began to learn that it wasn’t all going to be perfect and that lots of believers didn’t seem to be any different than many unbelievers I knew. I began to “grow up” and understand that it wasn’t as simple as “christian”=good and ”non-christian”=bad. In fact in the intervening years often times I have experienced lots of “christian”=bad and non-christian=good. (The good news, though, is that I have also experienced that God=good. Not because He only brings good into my life but because who/what He is defines what “good” is.)

I used to think that when believers and nonbelievers disagreed on what the right thing to do was that it was because God’s way doesn’t always make sense to the world. Sometimes that is the reason. But sometimes I think it is because we believers are so busy trying to follow rules that we ignore justice and mercy. Last year I was injured and confined to bed/home for 3-4 weeks and who do you suppose came and sat with me, and brought me groceries, and drove me to the doctor? It was not a believer, it was some non believing friends who came to help me. Who was more Christ like?

We look like hypocrites and the world notices.

No comments: