Be warned … this post is probably going to make you stop reading this blog.
And part of me is very nervous about writing this one, because I love you dearly and I don’t want to make you cross and think that I’ve lost it and suddenly, have stopped caring.
Because that so isn’t the case. Seriously. I adore you. Making you smile is one of the highlights of my day 🙂
With that said, there’s something I really need to share with you.
It’s about Jesus.
But first, what prompted this post was something I read on Happier:
“Listening to Joel Osteen talk about having faith instead of fear. I love all traditions that speak of love. Being non-religious, I choose what makes me happy.”
And lots of that I agree with. I’m all about love and want nothing more than for us to be a people who reclaim Christianity as the love-soaked faith instead of being known for hypocrisy and condemnation.
I believe God loves every single person on this planet, even the people we don’t like very much.
God is love and I see the bible as a love story.
There’s one person though who is central to that love story … Jesus.
The older I get, the less I see life as black and white. In my teens I would have told you that without Jesus in your life, if you hadn’t prayed the prayer, you were headed to hell.
These days, I’m more grey (literally as well as theologically!)
I don’t have a place for hell. Why would a God who loves unconditionally have this place of torment that he sends some of his children to? There are days when I’m a terrible parent but even I wouldn’t do that!
I don’t believe that ‘praying the prayer’ is a magic catch all phrase that secures you an eternity in heaven. What if it’s actually about the journey? And a faith that can bring heaven to earth?
I don’t know why all the disasters and tragedies in the world happen. The glib ‘correct’ answer is that we live in a sinful world, yada yada. But what about when that ‘sinful world’ sees your daughter waking up crying in case the man breaks in again? Or your best friend dying when his children are still only little?
I’m not even sure if my God is the God anymore. I mean, I believe in one God, but who’s to say that all of the ideas and pictures in my head of God are actually correct? What if the different religions and traditions in the world all give glimpses of God?
There is only one certainty I can hold on to and his name is Jesus.
I am certain that, regardless of your religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) God loves you unconditionally and wanted a way to prove that and Jesus is that proof.
It’s not politically correct to be certain about anything these days. You might be sitting there rolling your eyes, fearful that I’ve become one of those raging fundamentalists about to stand in a street corner wearing a ‘You need Jesus or you’re going to hell!’ tshirt.
But what if it were possible to be certain about something and still not know how it all works out in the end?
What if Jesus is central to the story, every story, but in ways that traditional Christianity hasn’t even begun to imagine possible?
Ghandi is quoted as saying that he loved Jesus (despite being a Hindu and not very fond of Christians – largely because they were nothing like the Jesus he fell in love with!)
I’ve heard stories of Muslims who met Jesus in their dreams.
And I have a Buddhist friend who heard God telling her that he loves her, even though she had no real belief in the concept of a God.
The more stories like this I hear, the more convinced I become that, while Jesus is the hero of this love epic, life is more like a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book than a regular novel you read from beginning to end.
Just because you might be living the chapter that includes being wooed and romanced and your best friend is on the bit where Jesus isn’t even on the scene, doesn’t mean you’re reading different books. What if you’re just on different sub-plots?
What if life really is a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story but with all stories ultimately leading to Jesus?
What would that look like? And how might that affect how you do love?
Just something to think about really 🙂