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Friday, August 22, 2003
This started off as a response to a comment on the last entry, but it grew out of control and I decided to make it an entry, if only to save the comment popup window from extreme uber-scrolling.
"It's my job to talk about my relationship with pal Jesus, and to help people learn about how to be in relationship with Jesus."
Why is this your job? Do Episcopalians believe that if you are not a believer in Christ that you are going to Hell? If so, is it part of your duty to proselytize? For some religions that is the case.
I would be interested in your take on proselytizing in light of your comments that judging and categorizing aren't your bag.
We're not under orders to proselytize, at least not in the way the 'accept Jesus or you're going to Hell!!! To Heeeellll!!!' crowd does it. There seems to be a lot of judging and categorizing in that mindset, yes, but the big problem for me is that it really doesn't fit with the way my faith has revealed itself. I didn't get here by being afraid that I would go to Hell if I didn't accept Jesus right then and there, so I could never present that case authentically to anyone else.
It's my job to talk about my faith because it is something that I'm called to do. Last year, my score on the spiritual gifts inventory topped out on Creative Communication, which disappointed me at the time because I wanted something more, I don't know, useful, but it turns out that my most fruitful ministry lately is this blog. Huh. I thought about stopping it earlier this week when I was feeling really hopeless and loser-ish, which is why I was gone so long, and then the Australia thing happened and then I got a sandal to the back of the head telling me that this is my ministry. I don't know if I'm the one ministering or the one being ministered to, but it's what I'm supposed to be doing.
This is what I get for spending all last week praying for God to give me a push toward the right ministry. I find out that I'm already doing it. Duh. Did I mention that the sandal was signed, Captain Obvious? Thank you, Captain Obvious.
All I can do is talk honestly and openly about how God is working in my life, which means the frustrations as well as the good stuff. The most annoying thing about a lot of the 'inspirational' writing I've run across is the over-abundance of Really Super relationships with Jesus. Look, if you've been walking with Jesus for a while and you haven't faced the guy down at 3:00 a.m. and told him that you're leaving, that this is all bullshit and you can't believe you ever got involved with him, you're living a very different life than I am. My moving in faith is not all sunshine and lollipops and animals dancing around rainbows in their feety pajamas. But I keep coming back to it, because there's life there that I haven't found anywhere else.
There's more, but I am out of time for the moment. I'll pick this up again later.
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Thursday, August 21, 2003
Whoo hoo! I'm in the news in Australia again!
I got my first piece of serious hate mail as the result of this article. Some guy from Australia sent me the sort of email that goes "I am a born again Christian and blah blah blah saying Fuck all the time and blah blah blah WTFWJD and blah blah blah you're not a Christian and you don't have a relationship with Christ and blah blah blah."
Man, I wish I had that decoder ring, the one that tells you who does and does not have a relationship with Christ. Wait, no I don't. That's not even my job. It's my job to talk about my relationship with pal Jesus, and to help people learn about how to be in relationship with Jesus. What happens after that is up to the Holy Spirit. I am not the Holy Spirit. For example, I think the Holy Spirit is taller than I am, and doesn't need major brake work on his or her car, as I do. Although I do like the idea of a Holy Spirit who drives a Beetle.
I understand the urge to put someone's relationship with Jesus on a grade scale, just to see how we're all stacking up. You must be at least this pious to ride. One of the things we humans really like to do is categorize. It's fun, it's reassuring, it shows us where we are in relation to everything and everyone else. It's also dangerous if we start to imagine that we know the mind of God well enough to begin dividing the sheep from the goats ourselves.
There is a place for an honest and careful evaluation of someone's spiritual progress. However, that happens best when we're in a covenant relationship with one another. I have to know who you are before I can know where you are with Christ, and I have to trust you with the same knowledge of me. That's scary shit and I can see why it's easier to lob Scripture at someone and run, or to try to 'correct' strangers. I just don't think it does very much to further God's work.
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