"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, 19 December 2014

The Lust of God

As you know there is a small group of us that meet on a semi-regular basis to discuss books and videos that challenge the traditional perspective of Christianity. As related in the previous blog post, we are discussing world religions and how Christianity should be relating to a multi-faith world. Whenever this topic is discussed, the exclusivity of Christ is brought up by whoever is new to the group, and this time around it was no exception. This led me to, once again, go in search of articles that could articulate a more generous point of view, better than I could, and, hopefully by someone with more credibility than myself.

As I mentioned previously, this led me to the book by Howard Storm, and the quotes from that book. Another aspect of that book, and the conversations he had with Jesus and the angels (if you take him seriously) was how much God loves us. Yes, I know, we all talk about how God loves us. We even say God IS love. But, if he is correct, we don't really understand what that means. Storm describes a wild, reckless, all consuming love that God has for all people. And, you can't really understand the statements that I quoted previously, concerning differing religions, if you don't understand how much God loves all mankind. I also think that's why so many evangelical Christians have so much trouble accepting other religions;

They don't really understand the love of God. They can't fathom a God who loves a Muslim or a Buddhist just the way they are.

The reason I ended up at that blog site in the first place, was because the author was commenting on a book by William Willimon; Who Will be Saved. I found some of the statements quoted to be extremely interesting as they seemed to be coming from a more traditional Christian, but with a more generous attitude. It turns out that Mr. Willimon is actually Bishop Willimon. I am only part way through the book, but the last section I read was titled "The Eros of God". We all know the different kinds of love in the bible; Philia, Agape and Eros are the three main ones, with Agape probably the best known. I must admit that when I flipped the page and saw the title, my first thought was;

"Seriously ... God ... Eros??"

If you don't know, Eros is sexual love. But then the good Bishop goes on to point out passages like Solomon 3:1-4, and all those passages about the church being the bride of Christ, and many others. He points out passages showing how God desperately desires an intimate relationship with us and seems willing to do almost anything to get it, like two adolescents in lust; very much in keeping with the story that Howard Storm tells.

Towards the end of the section he moves more into the topic of grace and how salvation is a "free gift". In quoting Paul in Romans 5:15,17 he notes that receiving salvation is a very passive act. Paul uses the passive word "receive" and not the active "decide" or even "choose". Our evangelical friends are fond of saying that Grace is free, but you have to accept it. But this isn't what Paul seems to be saying. Paul seems to be saying that you just receive it, the way the ground receives the rain.

"The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike."

And if this is the case, then salvation has come to ALL men.

I was happy to read that someone with a more traditional background had such generous views. I sometimes fear that I have become too generous in my orthodoxy: that I have given up too much of my Christian heritage in the search for truth (I'm pretty sure if I wasn't a Christian, I would be a Buddhist). This gives me renewed faith in my tradition. It makes me happy to know that I can be true to my tradition, while still accepting those of other faiths, and validating all that is good in them.

But ... I just have one concern, and it's a big one.

Does this mean I have to start singing all those Jesus-is-my-boyfriend songs again, after making fun of them for the past several years?

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