Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Trouble with Transformation - Part I

Y'know, transformation ain't all sweetness and light...! Those of you who have experienced transformation know *exactly* what I'm talking about..! Status quo resists change, and religion is all about defending status quo. And life is about change ... there's no way to be transformed by the renewal of our minds without change. It's a given -- the only constant is that we all change.

But there's a teaching in some circles ... that since God is the same yesterday, today and forever, since God doesn't change, then we shouldn't either. The teaching seems to imply that if we've found the Truth, then we have ALL truth, and we mustn't change, and we must defend our version of the truth from anything/anyone deemed to be a threat.

And so, when we change, and if we dare to share that change, if we share the things we're learning, the things we're discovering, we can expect to be attacked.

Those who attack us, who come against us, who even dismiss and shun us, because of what we believe, are likely doing what they believe they must, based on the theology they believe. I used to believe the same way, and I sure scorned, warned and shunned my fair share of those I deemed to be "deceived and deceptive." I now deeply regret & abhor the damage caused ... both to the one being maligned, and the one doing the maligning.

They're doing the best they can - we all are. Hence Jesus' last prayer for us all ... "forgive them - for they know not what they are doing."

They mean well ... for them, it seems, the end justify the means.

I believe they're doing what they believe God is calling them to do ... what they must therefore do. They may see those they theologically disagree with as deceived, dangerous -- and that others (the "sheep") must be protected from what is being shared. There comes a time when people will kill others (or kill their reputation/character), thinking they are doing God a favor ...

They (& the rest of us) come by this honestly ... Christianity teaches us that it all boils down to "having the right beliefs" ... which is not far removed from "doing the right things." Meritology is meritology, no matter how we spin it.

Like the ancient Israelites, we believe that we *must* kill off those around us who believe/behave differently than the "pure" way we're taught to believe/behave -- and, like them, we mistakenly attribute this genocide to the will and command of God (God made us in His image, and we've been returning the favor ever since ...). Of course, we kill-off much more subtly these days, in our civilized sophistication ... not wanting to get our hands dirty. But what if Jesus really meant what He said about harboring hatred in our hearts...? I know I need to really be open to what He has to show me about that. Hating others is all too easy, and all too easy to religiously justify.

Grace has always been a radical and scandalous assault to our minds ... it strikes us as licentious & irresponsible slippery-slopedness. Not trusting in the absolute power of God's Love, we resort instead to fear (the second-most powerful force in the universe). We settle for it because of the benefits of control - we feel secure and "safe" when we feel in control, which requires controlling others, in the name of "correctional Christian love" of course. I mean, if we aren't allowed to get away with anything, we'll be darned if we let anyone else get away with anything. Reminds me of the quote I've heard, (paraphrased) - "the self-righteous lie awake at night, unable to sleep, thinking that someone, somewhere is getting away with something..."

Our human nature is such that we want so desperately to earn God's favor ... whether by good works, or by right beliefs, it matters not -- it's the same compulsion, the same misunderstanding of the nature of God's heart. A free gift is a huge insult to our natures. The "need" to earn, to see ourselves as "good enough" or even "better than" requires that we have those who are "less than" to compare ourselves to. It's a subtle thing that we're very good at denying.

In order to be God's "chosen ones" in our own minds, we must see ourselves as separate from "others" and we must attack and malign those who are different from us. We don't understand connection, we feel separated from God, and in that state of "fallenness" we feel we need to compete for God ... as if there's not enough of Him to go around. As if He's not really Omnipresent, as well as Omniscient and Omnipotent. As if He's limited, exclusional, conditional, powerless, and stuck with our ignorant choices ... as if He's been relegated to "Plan B" by our choices ... as if He's got nothing going for Him, and has to resort to people being threatened and scared into "relationship" with Him ... poor God...!

I've come to know a different God than the one others told me about. He's bigger and better than anything I was told. He's too good to *not* be true. He's amazing ... beyond anything I had dared to believe.

Yeah, LOL, I know some folks think I believe in satan, disguised as "god"...! 'Tis ok - they said that about Jesus, too.

I rejoice that He came to set the captives free ... & that's all of us, who are variously enslaved to the many lies we believe (some of those lies are called "doctrines", so they're particularly pernicious). He loves us all enough to not leave us where we are, but will lead us all into all truth.

One day, we'll all have a great laugh about the things we thought we knew ... and we will most likely even cry a bit about how we unknowingly harmed one another in our ignorance. But He'll be right there, smiling, wiping those tears from our eyes...

Shalom, Dena


Rich said...

Not sure how I discovered your blog, maybe a comment you left on another blog somewhere, anyway, it is good to hear your heart beating with His love for His loved ones!

The transformation of a sinner into a saint is but the first breath of a realization that there is SO MUCH MORE!!

I look forward to reading much more here.

Dena said...

Hey Rich - what a happy "accident" that you're here..! Welcome, and I look forward to you chiming in.

Yes, indeedy, there is SO MUCH MORE! I like how you think!

I'm enthused to meet you!

Shalom, Dena