Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm a goat.

The shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep took care of those who are hungry or thirsty or in prison. The goats did not. Neither were aware of what they were doing. Both groups ask when they had done such a thing. Well, I'm a goat. I try to help those who are hungry or thirsty, but I know I do so much that puts me in the goat category unknowingly. I knowing know I do those that hurt people that I don't know about. Did you get that? I wish it wasn't true, but it is. Sometimes it is laziness to buy the easy cheap item and not caring who is impacted by my purchase. Sometimes it is complete lack of knowledge that I should make a different choice. Either way, I'm a goat.

Will I be thrown into a lake of fire for my goatness? Well, aren't I already. Don't our choices that disregard the well being of others cause problems in the world or of more personal significance problems in my community. Maybe the only reason it doesn't feel like a lake of fire is because we've gotten use to the temperature and can't even imagine a world where each cared for the other. The Kingdom is so close and so far away.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grace and Hell

I'm not sure what I have to say on this topic, but it is on my mind. The concept of hell seems awfully harsh to me. And the way people get to hell seems even harsher. I can't imagine sending someone there myself, so does that mean I have more mercy than God? Doesn't seem right. It also makes God's love conditional. If you believe that Jesus died for your sins then you get to go to this nice place, but if you don't you can spend the rest of eternity in misery. You're either with me or against me. Yikes!

Some people's lives suck a lot while they are alive, then if they didn't do the right thing and believe in Jesus it goes from bad to hell. Makes you wonder why they even exist. Perhaps it would be better to never be born.

What if hell is a place on earth. The way we treat people can be rather hellish. There is plenty of weeping an gnashing of teeth already; I don't think we need a separate place for it.

Maybe I'm going to go to hell for this post.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kenosis and other fun words

I thought I should respond to myself after the Jesus didn't have to die post because I think something significant did happen. And perhaps this post will totally negate the other one. About 10 years ago (ish) I started asking "why did Jesus die?". I could "answer" the question with all the correct answers - Jesus died for my sins; Jesus died so that we might have life; Jesus died as a sacrifice; etc. But it didn't really make sense. Why exactly did Jesus have to die because of MY sins? What happened on the cross that took away my sins? It seemed like a cosmic fairy tale or something. I was not satisfied with any answer I was given, and I asked the question a lot. I read a lot. I thought I'd just walk away from the church because it just wasn't making sense, but somehow I couldn't.

So this is how I understand it now:

God is Life. Jesus is God made flesh or human. Jesus is Life. Sin is separation from God. Therefore, Sin is separation from Life. When Jesus died he descended into Hell. Hell is the complete absence of Life. Jesus completely emptied himself, kenosis, of Life becoming completely separate from God. No matter what I do, or what anyone else does, Jesus has "been there", has been that separate, that apart from God. But, the story doesn't stop there, no Easter without Good Friday, no Good Friday without Easter. Jesus came back from that farthest point. In a way saying there is no place you can go that you are too far away from God that God can't bring you back. Now every person has been given hope. It doesn't matter how awful you've been because God went a step further.

So should we continue to Sin so that Grace may abound. (Paul) By no means! Because sinning sucks. Sinning is going away from Life and away from community. It really isn't a good place to live. So, live free knowing that you can't get too far away from God, but getting far away isn't very pleasant, it's, well, hell.

So there you have it. How my little brain makes sense of what happened on the Cross.