IT TAKES AN EFFORT AND A PASSION FOR LIFE
The climate crisis reveals the unfortunate fact that people choose what to believe not - on sound evidence but on the basis of what they want to believe. What pleases them is what satisfies their private notions and the kind of life to which they have become accustomed. It’s a variation of ‘Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ It reminds me of an experience I had listening to a speaker at a conference. He explained the wholeness, freedom and spirit and life that was ours in our new covenant inheritance in Christ. One of the organiser’s responses was, ‘We’ll have to see how that fits with our theology.’
We have no right to our own theology. Much less so when it is a theology that is ‘another gospel’. When our theology differs from God’s theology – from the theology of Jesus and the apostles doctrine - we need to change it to align ourselves with life.
Richard Rohr laments the addiction of many to their own ideas. M. Scott Peck writes, “Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost. While this is obvious, it is something that most people to a greater or lesser degree choose to ignore. They ignore it because our route to reality is not easy. First of all, we are not born with maps; we have to make them, and the making requires effort. The more effort we make to appreciate and perceive reality, the larger and more accurate our maps will be.
But many do not want to make this effort.
Some stop making it by the end of adolescence. Their maps are small and sketchy, their views of the world narrow and misleading. By the end of middle age most people have given up the effort. They feel certain that their maps are complete and their Weltanschauung is correct (indeed, even sacrosanct), and they are no longer interested in new information. It is as if they are tired. Only a relative and fortunate few continue until the moment of death exploring the mystery of reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding of the world and what is true.”
The church as a whole is littered with the corpses of those who adhere to whacky maps and are sticking with them. Paul called it belonging to the body of death. ‘The relative few’ are apostolic leaders in the church Jesus builds without human hands. They are the hope of the church and the salt of the earth. My mum was open-minded until the day of her death. I’m familiar with person who got their ideas off their mums. They have not changed them but passed them on like used bandages to their kids.
‘Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me’ Matt 10.37 NIV. Since they have decided for this own limited life they are not worthy of His limitless life.
The growth of the mind, the soul and the spirit depends on our willingness to listen as well as a passion for life in its fullness. Once we have stopped listening we have stopped growing and we enter a mode of stagnation that cannot be undone even by the gifts of the spirit. Ennui and inertia of the spirit have a cure which is Christ our life – Christ incarnated in our being and the trinity active in us. Active because the pursuit of life in fullness is more important to us than the comfort of our parents ideas, the tradition of our elders and the identity that we foolishly imagine we have in our communities of the dead. Life in the Spirit is not some new way of doing the law or religion. Life in the Spirit is Jesus as you.
There is a way to belong to the Body of Christ. This is believe in the Christ of God and be conversant with the gospel of Christ. We deceive ourselves when we tell ourselves that we belong to the body when we adhere to is a gospel that dilutes the cross, ignores the incarnation and re-instates the law. Speaking to the issue of these convoluted gospels, Kriston Couchey writes,
“I was on a journey of pursuing God to the point of embracing some people's understanding of truth that would only cherry pick scripture and either ignore, reject or perform complicated mental and theological gymnastics to make disagreeing scripture fit their understanding. There were a few things Father revealed to me out of this experience. Firstly, people tend to box God into a new box when taking Him out of the old one. Creating Him in their image and assume that what they believe the limits and expressions of who God is limited to their understanding of Him.
Second, slipping into error ALWAYS carries elements of truth while invalidating other valid elements of truth by ignoring, denying, rejecting or performing complicated mental and theological gymnastics.
Third, Father made clear to meant me that while sometimes scripture has been translated improperly, in general what was originally written is what is meant. We can take terms and redefine them by obscure and rarely used root meanings to get it to be palatable to our "new, correct, unreligious" understandings, but Father did not have Holy Spirit inspire things that the common man cannot perceive. Scripture in my opinion does not limit or exclude extra biblical experiences that we have with God, but it is a measure or plumbline that shows someone leading astray from the truth. Scripture has a place. And while many ignore, deny, twist or have elaborate interpretations, it comes down to Spirit inspired understanding of truth. Sometimes we can only know deceived people by Holy Spirit saying, "don’t listen to them, they are deceived."
In my opinion, when someone begins to chop scripture up to validate their doctrine and invalidates or even denies scripture that opposes their doctrines, they need to stop using any scripture, and for that matter, stop declaring themselves to be a believer in Jesus Christ. It is hypocrisy to believe what you want and reject what you don’t want. It's all or nothing.”