Show me an authentic faith, and I’ll show you someone with more questions than answers. I may be biased, but I think someone who can admit to knowing nothing for certain is the hallmark of someone who is on the right track. I’ve never understood the Christians whose mental landscape is solely black and white. The deeper I dive into scripture, the more I try to understand God, the more gray everything becomes.
I’m constantly asking myself if I’ve gone too far. Have I crossed the line? I’m keenly aware of the fact that I’m walking out my Faith on the burning edge of Grace… Hedonism on one side, Legalism on the other. With every issue I encounter, I have to examine my initial response to it, then wonder if I’ve veered to far in either direction. The balancing act is exhausting. To some degree, I think this grayness contributes to the problem I wrote about last week… I have a hard time becoming angry at anything because I’m constantly aware of how possible it would be for me to go down a similar path. Some days I envy the Christians whose faith is made up of lines in the sand. A little black and white would be a welcome relief to the dizzying array of grays that have become my moral compass.
What’s that? Examples, you ask?
Remember when Christians said that slavery was totally cool? I think most of you would agree that we were mistaken. In ten years, will we be saying the same thing about homosexuality? I don’t know, but in the name of full disclosure, I’m leaning towards yeah, probably… and I’m pretty okay with that.
What about marijuana? It’s a plant that God specifically and deliberately created knowing full well the effect it would have on humans. (Our body is a temple? How is it that marijuana, a medicinal herb, is anathema, but cigarettes, man-made poison sticks are freely available?) On top of that, there’s a very long history of indigenous people using it as tool to communicate more clearly with God during certain ceremonies. Hell, there are some very convincing arguments for shamans discovering metaphysical and seemingly religious truth while tripping on natural psychotropics.
Every day we’re exposed to over three thousand advertisements all begging for our mind-space. Each one of those advertisements in some way promises to complete us. They tell us that they have what we need and that we are not complete. America is buying in. Attention span is literally in the single digits, we’re surrounded by noise nearly 24 hours a day, to the point where silence makes us uncomfortable (This is unfortunate, as God doesn’t usually make a habit of yelling to get our attention).
We have problems with eating food that is processed in ways nature never intended. We willingly sacrifice our health at the altar of convenience. What’s more, if we choose to do something good for our bodies and eat healthier, we find that we will pay a premium for doing so. For this reason obesity rates soar amongst the poor and low income. (Where is the church touting the “body is a temple” argument on this one?)
All major media we watch partake in is being delivered by one of only six conglomerates. Our news only comes from two or three of these. The news is not impartial. The news on television is not the truth. Big media news is a business first and foremost. You will never see a story on the news that will negatively impact their profits or their sponsors… even if it affects you directly.
Jesus has been co-opted by political parties that are so caught up in their own mad pursuits that they’ve left the American citizen on the sidelines. Newsflash: Jesus isn’t a republican or a democrat. If you’re going to live in his example you’re going to have to find him in both sides, or, go independent. (Good luck with that.)
And that’s just off the top of my head.
I wouldn’t trade it. God has specifically equipped me to deal with the grays, to find my own path amidst the pre-fab trails that are being laid in his name. Yeah, it’d be a lot easier if I could show up at church, raise my hands, sing a song, shout “amen!” and feel good about it… But as things stand, I have to wonder if maybe God is telling me I’m needed elsewhere.