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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Could he really accept me as I am? I mean, REALLY ACCEPT.

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"Come as you are", right?

We read in the bible about how Jesus accepted the tax collectors and prostitutes. Isn't that great. He accepts everyone.

But.

But. When I was a "good Christian" I totally believed that Jesus wants everyone to come as they are, and he accepts them, BUT. But then, you know, after meeting Jesus and starting to follow him, they would change, you know, change so they agreed with the "good Christian" view of things.

Throw open the doors, everyone is welcome! But once they're in, they'll realize the error of their ways, they'll realize how they were so wrong, and they will change to fit in with the party line.

That's "God's work in their lives."

He accepted the tax collectors and prostitutes. Of course. Which means when they first came to Jesus, it was perfectly fine for them to be tax collectors and prostitutes. But surely they would not stay that way. No, that wouldn't be okay.

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And they say Jesus loves me and accepts me as I am. But I don't want that.

Perfect Number, he accepts you as you are, and he will guide you and give you time and help you to change into a "good Christian."

He'll take you back to the way you were before, forgiving all this straying, all this questioning and the blasphemous things I've said on my blog.

Yes, he accepts you as you are, even though you don't believe in purity, and you don't oppose gay rights, and you *gasp* have even been deceived into thinking abortion might sometimes be okay.

It's okay, Perfect Number. Come back to Jesus.

And I fear that's the deal. And that's why I don't want to come back to Jesus.

I won't give him everything. I don't surrender. Obedience to God is not the highest thing in my life.

You guys, I want love to be the highest thing.

And life. And freedom.

And no matter what Jesus says, I won't go along with anything that is, as far as I can tell, incompatible with love and life and freedom.

It was easier back when I belonged to God and God only. There was always one clear answer. But now I exist in opposition to that god, rebellious toward him.

And they say yes, he loves me so much, and he accepts me no matter what.

Would he accept me if I never change? Would it be okay if I go on believing all this crap about feminism, if I spend my whole life arguing that yes, a person can be Christian and support issue XYZ, if I never have a single regret about the "impure" things I do with my boyfriend...

They say he accepts us as we are. But if that means he accepts that yes, beginners are going to be kind of clueless and they need a lot of work, then no deal.

Then I'll keep Jesus at arm's length. And I'll keep wishing I could be with him, but I'm sorry, love comes first.

8 comments:

  1. I'd say love is obedience to God in its highest form.
    I know this feeling well, though. I think it doesn't come from God, though (or so I tell myself) but rather from the evangelical environment in which I was raised. I think that since God is love, though, if you're putting love first, you're putting God first.

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  2. Thank you thank you for writing your blog. I feel like we are in such similar places right now, but maybe coming from the opposite directions? I was raised in a progressive church where "God is love" was a big focus, and we talked a lot about how Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors and talked very little about these people changing their ways once they started spending time with Jesus. And then I read the Bible- more of the Bible than what we talked about in church, trying to take it all in instead of focusing on the parts I was more comfortable with- which made me start questioning the idea that God is love and loving and totally welcoming. I can believe that God loves us even though we're still sinners (since we all are, even those of us who toe the party line), but what if we don't agree with Jesus-Paul-other Bible writers about what constitutes sin? What if I consciously, intentionally don't follow some of the things they command, and then later it turns out that God was serious about that stuff and I refused to hear the message? Does God love me then?

    I went to a really timely church service last night where we talked about the binding/sacrifice of Isaac, where God comes off as manipulative if not downright abusive. What kind of person tells you to kill your son and then takes it back last minute just to test you? "Prove you love me" is not something I've ever taken as a loving command, let alone "prove you love me by doing this terrible, violent thing". But it was a good church - we talked about how Jews/Christians/Muslims have interpreted the story in a huge variety of ways (including interpretations that say Abraham misheard God and that God had to intervene to keep him from letting his religious ideas lead him to violence!)

    And the pastor emphasized this: that God keeps God's promises. In this case, it was the promise to make a great nation of Abraham's descendants (which was threatened by the prospect of Isaac's death). In my case, I kept thinking back to my confirmation and the words that still stick with me: "You are sealed by the power of the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ's forever." Forever forever. Not as long as I maintain an orthodox set of beliefs, not as long as I don't cross any lines in to "rebellion", but forever, because God loves me and keeps loving me and keeps seeking me out. I didn't become a Christian because of a set of rules, I came to it through the gospel of love and the experience of God as loving. That's the theology I can stand behind, and I think what it requires is that I *trust God*. Trust God to be loving, trust God to have our best interests at heart, trust that I can come to God in prayer and not be shut out because of my actions or beliefs. That's how I want to come back to Jesus.

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  3. "God is love" says the Bible. And I think that's right.
    So loving another person? Maybe God's right there, maybe even when we don't feel him.

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  4. The way I see it, if we find we want to be, and can be, morally better than our god, then our god isn't God. God is "That, than which nothing higher can be conceived." If we can easily conceive of a better God, then our god is too small. That better God is what we're really searching for, and what we should be seeking. Because if that's not the real God, then there is no real God.

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  5. Also, yes, I think Jesus was interested in tax collectors no longer cheating people, and in prostitutes being set free from a life of objectification. When Zaccheus felt Jesus' love and acceptance, he wanted to stop cheating people and pay back those he had wronged. But there's no record that Jesus expected him to, or that he did, stop collecting taxes and doing it honestly.


    Jesus wants us to stop hurting people. That's different from expecting us to "fit in with the party line."

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  6. Yes... I feel like on some level I know this, but it's not the "right answer" so I can't let myself believe it.


    Also have I ever mentioned how much I love that you often leave really insightful comments on my blog? :)

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  7. Aww-- thanks! FWIW, I'm still struggling with this stuff myself. Even as I wrote the words above, I realized that in many ways I'm still trying to figure out what the Bible actually IS, how I am to understand it, and I too am reluctant to let go of the "right answers" that it's supposed to be dangerous to even question.

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