We rarely have the guts to admit it, but our most cutting critics often hold up a mirror into which we would do well to look. The picture at right, which many will find highly offensive, is just such a mirror. It reads:
CHRISTIANITY: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a woman who was created from a man’s rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat an apple from a magical tree . . . yeah, that makes perfect sense.
That summary makes some Christians throw up and others laugh hysterically. What I wish it would make more of us do, is think –really think– about the stuff we say. The harsh truth is that Christians make an awful lot of claims that sound nonsensical…and that’s because a lot of them are. I don’t mean this in a “scandal of the cross” kind of way either. While it will always be true that the non-negotiable claim of Christianity that Jesus died and rose again from the dead, is laughable to many (just as it was in the first century when the Apostles proclaimed it), it’s also true that the church has created many “barriers to entry ” (to borrow a business phrase) that were never demanded by Jesus or the Apostles (for reference, read the “Statement of Faith” of any Evangelical church). As I have said before, we must face the fact that Jesus cares a whole lot about who we drive from the faith.
I care, paradoxically, because I want people to meet Jesus. You may have noticed that the title of this post can have at least two meanings…on one hand, some things I say are heresy to the conventional Evangelical, but on the other hand, some of the “heresies” I have proposed, come precisely from my “evangelical” desire to see people acknowledge King Jesus (I use this word because it’s been applied to me; I do not acknowledge that my proposals are heresy).
Far too much of what the church teaches, has to do with making sure people think the right thoughts about God. This is not what Jesus preached…he invited people to follow him; he commanded his apostles to make disciples; he said “come unto me all you who are weary” (Matt. 11:28) and “he comes to me I will not cast out.” (John 6:37) We who name Jesus’ name, need to rediscover the fact that Jesus cares more about people seeking him, than he does about people thinking the right stuff about him. I’ll believe we are doing that when our creeds are replaced by our communities. We still won’t make sense, but our foolishness will be that of Jesus rather than that of our own arrogant intellects.