Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bblical invitation

Good morning God,

I've been re-reading the Bible again (always dangerous I know) but I find I'm really struggling to understand how we got to Christianity (Churches, priests, hymns, doctrines, sacraments etc) from what I am reading..

Of course, I do know that the Bible wasn't the only source of our theology and practice, and that we borrowed all sorts of interesting bits and pieces from Judaism and elsewhere.. as well as added on a few rules and regulations of our own.. but even so.. the gap between what is taught/shared/narrated in Scripture and what we do/teach/preach in practice in church is startlingly large when looked at head on.

I can't find anywhere where Jesus requires me to sing hymns for example, he offers no model for 'acceptable' worship - and gave us only one model for prayer. If the Church's peaching is supposed to be like his, then we should preach in parables and ask more questions than we are prepared to answer, expecting those who are wanting to follow you to discern their own meaning most of the time.

Perhaps most challenging for me at the moment is the lack of concerted emphasis on sin and confession in the teachings of Jesus. I know how the Church managed to get so concerned about this - but really God - I would have thought that by now we would have rebelled against it, thrown out the priestly power games and religious party politics which such teachings thinly disguise, and reclaimed the joy of the simple expression - go and sin no more. Why haven't we?

Leaving that old chestnut aside, what's really exciting me again and got me writing to you this morning, is the rediscovery of how much of Scripture is an invitation - to be a part of something that you have initiated which is challenging, radically new, politically liberating, religiously simplistic, humanly transformative and genuinely creative..
Taken as a whole, it reads like an amazing invitation and a challenge for me to dare to become, by your grace, so much more than I currently am, for the sake of those who are so much less than they should be or could be. If I am reading your Word right, you are offering to transform me, and anyone else who responds to your invitation, into someone who can play an active part in your creative purposes for the world.

I'm game God, so now all I need is to know how to share your invitation with others without dumbing it down in a 20 minute sermon or a wrapping it up as a liturgical letter.. Have you got any modern parables for me to share?

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