"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Christianity as Poetry

Martin Buber is quoted as having said; "All of us have access to God, but each of us has different access. Our great chance lies in our unlikeness. God's all-inclusiveness manifests itself in the infinite multiplicity of the ways that lead to him, each of which is open to one person."

In Dueteronomy 30:14 the commandments of God are described as; "something very near to you, already in your mouths and in you hearts; you only have to carry it out."

In the parable of the two sons, Jesus says that the one who does the will of the father is the one who originally says he won't do it, but eventually goes out and does it anyway, not the one who says he will do it, and then does nothing.

I have often said that heaven will either be filled with a lot more people than we imagine, or a lot less. I'm beginning to lean towards the former. I think there are many, many people out there who don't call themselves Christians, but who are actually more 'Christian' than those who do. Somewhere along the way they've figured out that acting the way Christians are supposed to act is, in fact, the right way - it is something 'already in their mouths and in their hearts'. But that doesn't mean that those who call themselves Christians - even though they may be doing it badly, or different from us - are wrong. As Martin Buber says, they're simply coming to God in their own unique way. Peter Rollins argues that the sheer number of variations of Christian denominations and traditions out there is a testament to the fact that God cannot be known in his entirety, and that this is the way God wants it, so we don't end up making an idol of our particular brand of theology.

The poet Kathleen Norris in her book, The Cloister Walk, makes the point that Christianity is more like poetry than prose. And that when we take that poem, and start to break it down and analyze it, and turn it into dogma, that we lose the essence and beauty of it.

I must admit that I'm a bit like an ex-smoker who is the most critical of those who smoke. Because, as an ex-fundamentalist, it is fundamentalists that drive me the most crazy. But I'm starting to see Jesus' point when he said that those who aren't against us, are for us. And I'm starting to see that Christianity is more like poetry than prose, and I have to embrace the essence and beauty of it in all it's variations and differences. And I'm starting to see that no matter how right I think I am, I could still be wrong. And I'm starting to embrace the essence of Christianity wherever I find it: be it in the actions of someone who doesn't call themselves a Christian, the prostelizing of a fundamentalist, or the liturgy of the more traditional.

I think that the gospel, and God's love, is way bigger and more encompassing than any of us can imagine.

I sure hope it is, because my version is pretty puny.