Warning: This might be tough. It was tough for me to write. My hope is that this starts discussion as my thoughts here are not my final thoughts. Thanks for reading!
As I left the coffee shop the other day, I noticed an encounter. I noticed an encounter that a woman had with scripture. How do you witness an encounter with scripture? Well, she saw a single bumper sticker on a car that simply read: that famous scripture from Jeremiah 1:5:
BEFORE I FORMED YOU IN THE WOMB I KNEW YOU!
The sticker was this:
The woman’s response to this bumper sticker theology was something that i could only agree with: the simple head drop and shake.
I wanted to run up to her and say: “We are not all like that!”
I wanted to give her a hug and say “I am sorry.”
What if that woman had just been to the clinic? What if she had just had to go through the process of thinking about the possibility of an abortion?
What if she had just recently had an abortion; or a sister or a friend just did?
And then seeing that bumper sticker, with baby’s feet, with that scripture, and it did nothing but make her mad?
Nothing but arouse anger in her toward Christianity.
What if she had been ostracized in her church because of who she is?
I wanted to run up to her and just say: not all Christians believe in THAT GOD!
And then I got to thinking, and here is where my thinking takes a huge turn….
I have been certain for years that religious pluralism is a great asset to our world, a great way for people to experience each other, and to experience being.
I have also been certain that all people do not believe and worship the same god. You know, the whole climbing the same mountain, just taking different path model.
That just simply does not work for me.
Because the mountain top is different for all religions.
To say that my view at the mountain top is the only view, is to diminish and declare supremacy over others. Christian exclusivity. This is not what I believed Jesus taught us.
But that day I came to the realization that even within Christianity, the God that we worship, that we believe in, that we follow are all different.
The people of Wesboro Baptist Church worship and praise a god that is hateful, that is not okay with the creation that HE created…
Progressive Christians believe in a God that is generally happy with creation and loves each human being equally.
But then, then I heard the gospel choir singing a song the other day in my seminary chapel.
The repeated line in the song was “GOD IS ABLE”
GOD IS ABLE?
In a world where there is injustice, where there is suffering, where there is hatred, violence, hunger, thirst, pain, inequality….
GOD IS ABLE?
God is able but chooses not to? God is able to, but only when the time is right?
God is going to allow us to continue to suffer here and now just so that when the time is right??
I can’t buy this image of God.
God is calling us to perform acts of justice, acts of loving kindness, you know Micah 6:8, and that whole Jesus’ ministry thing.
To me this is how God is able, by calling us to perform good deeds of justice and righteousness.
I wanted to run up to that woman and say “Ma’am, I’m sorry that whatever person or church who claims to be Christian did to you. But that god may not be the God you who know to be good and faithful.”
I wanted to grab her and just say I am tired of apologizing for a faith that is not mine, a faith of a god that I do not believe in .