Monday, September 25, 2006

???

Lately I have been wondering if I am on the wrong track. My desire is to serve God – in a way which is true to both his and my own character. Am I doing that? Have I gone off of the wrong track?

I think of how different I am now than I was 2 years ago. I think of how my passions have changed – my time and how I live my life looks very different now than it once did. Two years ago the church was my life. I gave it everything that I had. Outreach, for the purpose of introducing people to the character of Christ was utmost in my heart, mind, and prayers. I was excited to see others discover this God that I had discovered. I was excited to pursue God in ways which really encouraged creativity (and sometimes some silly off-the-wall-ness). I knocked on doors to understand how best the church could serve its community, and I just really really wanted to love people and to show them the great life and freedom that can be found in Christ.

Things are different now. I am passionate – but the thought of outreach for the pure purpose of introducing people to Christ makes me uncomfortable. I see much value in other religions and other spiritual practices. I have met and prayed with a number of Godly people who do not necessarily know the person of Christ, or at least not Christ as Savior. My passion is to see good done in the world – to fight oppression, to stand for justice. My passion is still to help and encourage others to pursue God in creative and unique ways which fit their unique creation, yet I am now very open that this pursuit and this worship of God can sincerely and powerfully occur outside of the region of Christiantiy.

At the risk of sounding too Oprah-ish I believe that God has grace, and that people can pursue him in so many different ways, including religions, which gives me great peace and excitement. It is great to see people find God in different places.

This is so different. And at times it haunts me. My semi-fundamentalist upbringing screams at me that Christ is the only way – that Christianity is the only way – that personal salvation is of utmost importance and that everything else is secondary. Yet in my pursuit of God in the last little while, this is not where God has taken me. I do believe that I have been sincere in following God to this point. I do believe that there is no other place that I can be right now.

But at times I question whether this journey is merely a reaction to some bad church-ness stuff in the past. Or if I am mistaking my own thoughts about justice and what is right for the Holy Spirit’s leading. How can I tell if I am lead by my own desires, or God’s desires?

7 comments:

Cheri Dueck said...

Hmmm.... have you read "A New Kind of Christian"? Some of the stuff you're saying is similiar to stuff in this book. One thing I remember is about God transforming different religions instead of people being converted to Christianity.

Jonathan H said...

In a lot of ways this mirrors how my faith has changed over the years. I've grown increasingly suspect of evangelism, and Christianity's claim of being the 'only way' sometimes confuses me when I look at other faiths and the earnestness/devotion of their followers. I also find myself wondering whether these shifts in my thinking are simply the product of academic studies or discussions with friends. On the other hand, I can't ignore such ideas, since they seem resonate strongly with who I am and how I want to live out my faith.

(I'm always less eloquent in these blogs than I sound in my head). But all this is to say that I can sympathize.

Zac said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zac said...

These are tough questions, Bre. I think that an easy answer would devalue the complexity of life and the questions that you are exploring.

I believe that (although this maybe is no help to you) the bible presents several paradigms that

a.)could include "other religions" in God's providential plan for the salvation of his/her people &

b.) explicitly voice the believing and following Yahweh, and Jesus as the revelation of Yahweh in human form, as the only way to God.

Since there seems to me to be potential for both of these, and because I don't believe that I can have such answers to these cosmic questions, I think I would choose to ,as someone who calls himself a Christ follower, do just that, while appreciating the beauty of other cultures and their attempt to connect with God. I may introduce others to Jesus because of the difference I believe that Jesus makes, but I don't honestly know if I would try to convince them to convert. I will serve Christ and if Christ chooses to work through that to influence someone else to follow him through that, then great. However, I do believe (within Christianity and other religions) that there are faulty and hurtful (to individuals and people groups and the earth) ways of practicing our faiths. In this respect, I may be more inclined to "evangelize" to the Christian (or Buddhist, or Hindu) who may be living a life that is harmful to others or themselves or the world, about how I feel an alternative way of living is more in the plan of God than what they are living.

Does this make sense?

Tricia said...

How the hell do you do it? You always voice my thoughts! And you do it way more eloquently than I ever could. You amaze me Bre.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bre, I was just having the same conversation last week about that with a friend and neither of us came to any concrete answers. And it is completely different than how I would ever have thought a year or two ago too, and wonder if it's me getting some sort of revelation or lead down some other road. Only to realize I don't know, so I just avoid thinking about it, as I so often do with things I can't answer. And then I'm left trying to figure out if I'm a hypocrite to who I once was/thought. I have a friend who tells me it's good to ask questions to yourself that most people never think about, so that brings me some sense of...I don't know, relief I guess. It's nice to know someone's thinking some of the same things.
edythe

Maria Jane Tuininga said...

For me - I am caught somewhere between wanting to be "openminded" and not compromising what Christ calls me to.
I think I am really torn between the "emotion" in faith, versus "knowledge" - sometimes I downplay emotion - and yet God has always said that the pursuit of knowledge will end in nothing... not to say that we shouldn't always be seeking, and searching, and desiring to know more - but sometimes the more we know - the less we know! It's just an ongoing thing...
And so I have to return to: Christ is real: I know deep down in my gut - and that isn't the same as other religions, and I am NOT going to be the person to say who is saved and who isn't (sometimes I don't want to think that a good person could go to "hell" - that there has to be another way, but what am I doing about it? you know?) - I am leaving those big questions up to God - and in the meantime, how am I sharing Christ with people that I meet? Because it is clearly something I am called to do, and am NOT DOING ENOUGH!!!

I don't know.
this will always be ongoing for me.
Sometimes I want to stand up and say, "THAT'S RIGHT!!!"
and othertimes, I think it's on the verge of pluralism, and it's because I don't have a backbone! (that sounded harsh... but maybe it is harsh! ack!!!!)
I am assuming this is a safe place to dialogue about it, anwyways.

so conclusions for me:
I don't know. I wont ever know, all I can answer for is ME. you know?

Bre - I LOVE YOU!!!! Oh, and there are wedding pics on my blog! yahoo!! mmmmmm... marriage.
kay. over and out.

mariajane.