Are Christians actually capable of joined up thinking?
Okay, that question is based on a generality and I hate generalities but there seems to be a basis for this one. So, whilst I apologise to those who have received and use the gift of JUT, I do question the thought processes of those who have seem to be incapable of holding more than one thought in their head at any time. This deficit often enables and promotes a belief in mutually exclusive concepts:
- God is infallible … but he sometimes gets it wrong;
- he is omnipotent … but he has his limitations;
- he is omnipresent … but there are places that he choses to ignore;
- he is the God of ALL people … but surely, not THEM!
How can this be??
How can a God of fear and vengeance in the Old Testament translate into a God of love in the New … did he change or is it perhaps … just maybe … is it US? Is it our perception of God and God’s will that has altered over time? Are we expecting God to be more like us than we like him?
Several millennia ago, or so we are told, Moses received 10 commandments from God … 10 rules which were to act as guidance for human lives. But in the centuries that followed those 10 rules were added to such that they came to control the very minutia of life – read the book of Leviticus for yourself and you will see what I mean. 10 rules became 100’s of sub-rules and whilst some of the new ones actually helped (a number of the food rules strike me as a good way to live if you don’t have a fridge and there are also some good rules for avoiding degenerative genetic abnormalities) many went too far. But it wasn’t just the rules that went too far, their observance became obsessive. Ritual cleanliness held a greater virtue than helping someone in need: tithing (giving 10% of everything you had) became an absolute requirement of salvation and not a vision of an ideal. But make no mistake, these extra statutes were of man, not of God.
When Jesus began his ministry he also began to dismantle some of those extra rules: he questioned the food laws, he disregarded the cleanliness laws when he associated with the unclean and the sinners and he demonstrated that it is okay to do work on the Sabbath if that work has a godly purpose. In fact, he went further than that … he said, “If 10 rules are to complicated for you, let me cut the number down to just 2: ‘love God and love your fellow beings’.”
There were no “Ifs” “Whys” or “Buts” there were no “Exclusions” just … ‘love God and love your fellow beings’ … what could be simpler? And yet … over the last 2000 years what have we done? Well, we have changed those 2 new laws into another myriad of minor rules and sub-clauses and suddenly … we perceive the ministry of women to be inferior to that of men and Gays and Lesbians have been placed in a lower class than oversexed, hedonistic heterosexuals … and the church is surprised when it is increasingly seen to be irrelevant by the masses who have accepted women as equals and understand that sexuality is a continuum and not a bi-polar state that can be controlled by a switch – the controlled experiment on celibacy undertaken by the Catholic Church since the C17th seems to have proven the latter quite conclusively.
So, if God IS infallible, why can’t we trust that he has got things right and actively try to discern his ways? If God IS omnipotent, why don’t we just believe that he can do it? And if God is omnipresent, isn’t it about time that we accepted that he IS there with ALL people and in ALL places – even those whom or which we shun?
Why don’t we stop trying to overcomplicate things and accept that we should be loving God and ALL those whom he has created on an equal basis regardless of gender, colour, race, sexuality, disability, malformity, mental capability … and even those who cannot string their thoughts together cohesively? Christianity is fundamentally simple in its concept … why do we continually seek to overcomplicate things? Is it because we see ourselves as the centre of the universe??
Never underestimate the gift of Joined up Thinking!