Your word is a lamp before my feet
and a light for my journey. (Psalm 119:105)
Good morning! I’m taking a different tack this morning (the meaning of “tack,” by the way, comes from sailing, and it suggests a sudden or abrupt change of direction), inasmuch as I’m responding to a comment left on my facebook page after yesterday’s THE BASICS post on this blog.
First, I need readers to understand that I’m writing a (hopefully) thoughtful response, not engaging in an argument. Arguments tend to be unproductive and more destructive than illuminating – like a series of volleys fired by opposing troops at close range. Arguments typically evolve into soapbox stands, and they often lean toward blowhardism. Arguments can easily assume the tone of, “I think the rest of you are stupid.”
So, this is a response, not an argument! First, here’s the comment:
You know Derek, I’m thriving in the role of Devil’s Advocate, as usual… (By the way, does the Vatican still have the position of Devil’s Advocate in the selection process of a new Pope?)
In the context of Jesus repairing the breach…I still wonder why God could not simply forgive humans and be done with it?
It was certainly within Gods jurisdiction and he could rightfully do so, eh? He IS God after all.
And I have had it explained that the transgression against God in Eden was so severe that it took the blood of an innocent to rebuild and repair.
However, if that is indeed the case, it would appear that God, for which nothing is impossible, found that simple forgiveness was impossible without the sacrifice of Jesus.
In other words, God “needed” the sacrifice to atone. But, God should not “need” anything.
As always for me…it’s the deeper examination of the details, and thinking about the ramifications of those details that make the Bible so implausible.
REDEMPTION IS SERIOUS BUSINESS: First, I’m not so sure that God “needs” sacrifice so much as we need sacrifice. What I mean is that it’s critical that human beings understand just how serious our predicament is, and what the ramifications are when we make the decision to live outside the grace and mercy of God.
For two decades, I worked as an exceptional education teacher. My specialty was SED, BD, and EH (children who came to school with extreme emotional issues, typically resulting in outrageous behaviors, violence, and the inability to function at school).
Sometimes these students came to me from classrooms where the teacher dealt with these challenges by indulging kids with smiles, hugs, redirection, and a general spirit of “forgive-and-forget,” as if everything was all “I’m OKay – you’re Okay” and the little darlings would change for the better if only they could receive enough unconditional love.
Talk about confused kids!
Here’s what was interesting when these children were assigned to my class. I ran a tight ship. But, before long, students would come up to me and say, “Mr. Maul, thanks for making things clear.” Or, “Thanks for the rules, now I feel like I know where I stand.” Or, and I know this sounds unbelievable, “Thanks for taking me seriously…”
When we eliminate accountability, then we’re sending a strong message that the decisions people/children/humankind make aren’t that important.
THE STORY: The Bible – and I’ve written my thoughts on this in many ways over the past couple of years – is the story of humankind’s struggle to relate to our Creator; it’s the story of the religious history of the Children of Israel; the story of God’s initiatives; the story of Israel’s interpretations and misinterpretations of God; the story of Jesus coming into this world to make The Way clear; and it’s the narrative of how the Jesus Story became the meeting place between God’s initiative and the world’s great need.
What makes the Bible plausible to me is precisely what makes it difficult for my friend to swallow! It’s the lack of tidy solutions and airtight doctrines! This world is a mess, most people are a mess, our understanding and interpretation of God is a mess. Yet it is in Jesus that I find my way, because of Jesus that my life makes so much sense, and through Jesus that the Gospel of Love becomes so compellingly alive!
I follow Jesus because Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life – and so much more – DEREK