Percolating in the background, however, has been a desire to write a post about where I think the person of Jesus (you know, "Christ", "of Nazareth"... THAT Jesus!) fits into my thinking about life, faith, the universe, etc. Part of my blogger's block, if I'm honest - is the fact that I find this confronting in a lot of ways. It is a challenging post for me to write, and confronts not only what I believe, but how I live my life. I know that I don't embody what I believe to be truth, anywhere NEAR enough. And I think that's what it's all about - so to write about it is... confronting for me.
Anyway, enough of that. I am going to ease myself into this via the "path of least resistance". Today's post is not about what I believe at all - but what I definitely DON'T. In a sense, it is far easier to be negative about religion and what is wrong with the world, than to BE the solution - but it is also useful to clarify where you are NOT, in order to see where you ARE (if that makes sense), so at the risk of sounding a bit negative, this is where I'm starting. Bear with me!
- I don't believe ultimate reality can ever fit into a religious system. None.
- I don't believe that any "system of rules" can solve the world's problems.
- I don't believe my viewpoint - or yours - will ever be large enough to encompass the reality of what really is.
- Dogma, of ANY kind, is never a way forward. In fact it leads to the worst kind of ignorance.
- I don't believe in "right and wrong" in any black and white sense. These are concepts that belong with dogma and rules, and can actually stand in the way of understanding and relationships.
- I don't believe that living, believing, praying a certain way is going to make me any more "right with God", or even more valuable as a person. Some of these things may have value for me, but they do not affect my value, or, for that matter, the value of any other person.
- I do not believe that the "religious cultures" that many of us have grown accustomed to, represent genuine faith. The more I look at them, the more I see social and political groups fighting for their position of "privilege". This is completely anti-gospel!
- I don't believe that nouveau, "hip", emergent or liberal versions of Christianity necessarily have a greater handle on "truth", although they have rejected many traditional falsehoods. In many cases I simply see the exchange of one "rule set" for another.
- I don't believe that the institutions we call "Church" are the church at all. I am not "anti-structure" or "anti-organisation" per-se, but I do not believe that true, relational faith can be contained in them. Because of this, I don't support the re-invention of "Church" as a religious institution.
I think that about covers it... I may add to this list if I think of more. Meantime - what are your thoughts? Do you think I'm going too far? Not far enough? Are there any points you would add or delete? Why? Over to you!!