I have been sitting in front of a blank screen for a couple hours, trying to dig up the post I had intended on writing. It seems the only thing I can think about is this blog post that has been haunting me all morning since I read it.
( http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/huck-finn-hell )
It’s interesting to me that this exact reference from Huckleberry Finn be used in this discussion, as it was also the punchline of an article I posted a few months ago that started my great exodus from the fundamentalist way of thinking. It created a tornado of theological debate and ugliness, so much so that I had to take the whole thing down. The whole event spurred me into evaluating what I actually believe…
(Here is that article : http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2012/december-online-only/going-to-hell-with-ted-haggard.html )
For a long time as a Christian I was tucked in safely with all the others around me who had the same beliefs. After my initial “salvation experience” I settled into the Christian culture and over time, became very comfortable. I served in my church. I listened to Christian music. I pretended like my husband and I didn’t cross “physical boundaries” before we were married. I went to bible studies and retreats. I voted republican. I judged those whom appeared to be on “slippery slopes”. Then vowed to “pray” for them, like that would excuse my gossip.
A lot of these things I still do. I have gone to a wonderful church for 13 years. I like bible studies. It has been a safe environment where I have been led to grow spiritually and also been given the space to be me. It hasn’t all been pretty but I am so thankful for it, and the people who are my family there.
The thing that has changed for me is the realization of that stale, comfortable culture I was living in. Somehow I exchanged real living, breathing, life altering faith for a code of moral ethics. But who’s morals? Gods?
My “morals” were squeaky clean ( at least what I portrayed) until I realized they weren’t. My attitudes and judgements had actually been repelling people away from the love of God instead of attracting. I began to thaw from what felt like a deep freeze.
I posted the Christianity Today article because it choked me up. The question was asked, ” why do we eat our own?” and I felt that. I remember feeling compelled to share it because even though Ted Haggard’s story is not mine, it was. I resonate with the monster of the story. He, being the betrayer and harm doer, had to publicly fall from grace. Ask for forgiveness. Only then was he able to really be shattered and put back together by God.
Aren’t we all harm doers? Truth benders? Betrayers? Outcasts? Saying and doing secret things in dark, secret places? Isn’t that why we run and dive into the Christian life when we hear about the forgiveness offered at the cross? The blood of Christ blotting out these things that we try to hide…It’s already finished. He did it for us. All of us. Maybe even my Gay friends ?
As we approach Easter Sunday this weekend, I am challenged yet again on what it all means and whom will be gathered at the foot of the cross. I think we may be surprised.
I learned recently that the actual meaning of the word repent is “to have a change of mind or change of heart”.
May it be so.