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Jesus keeps on walking

June 6, 2013

When we’re honest, we all recognize that we don’t have all the answers. But it looks like many Christians have stopped asking the hard questions. It’s like their curiosity has died. They’ve found Jesus and that’s all they need. They’re like the Sunday school kid who answers every question with “Je-sus.” And they pride themselves in their certainty and feel smug about being unwavering.

Is life really that easy for them? Are they really that simple in their thinking? For some, maybe yes. But I wonder if, for the vast majority, this simplicity is more accurately a decoy for fear. They don’t want to ask the hard questions because they have a sinking feeling that their Christian worldview won’t hold up to the scrutiny.

The Bible says it, I believe it, that’s enough for me.

So you’re saying that the Church has gotten it wrong for 2000 years?

The Bible clearly says…

You’re moving the goal posts.

That’s a slippery slope you’re on there.

You’re rebelling against God.

All of these phrases are designed to shut down conversation. They are tried and true tactics that put you on the defensive and draw the battle lines in such a way to make it look like you’re picking a fight with… God. It’s you disagreeing with God, not you disagreeing with another person.

It kinda reminds me of a junior high fight. The kid with the bigger guy or the most people on their side will be so intimidating that the fight is over before it’s begun. I mean who wants to start throwing punches when they’re outnumbered?

People who use these phrases are trying to bully their way out of a fight, trying to make it look like it’s not a fair fight. They’re armoring themselves with a God-posse, and I think it’s because they don’t want to rely on their own arguments. They don’t want to stand on their own, and I reckon they’re afraid to stand alone, without the God-posse back up, because they haven’t asked the hard questions. And they haven’t asked the hard questions because they’re afraid of the answers. They don’t want to erode their certainty.

They’re essentially afraid of their whole theology crumbling.

It’s a scary thing to bear. If your theology crumbles, what do you have left to hold on to? Ah, but there’s the bottom of it. I think people are clinging to their theology when they should be clinging to Jesus. Grasping a theology is a much easier endeavor than holding a Hand.

Following Jesus is scary. You don’t know where he could walk. A theology is much more predictable, much more static, but Jesus keeps on walking. A theology is something you can master. It gives you a sense of control, a sense of superiority, a sense of accomplishment. Knowing your theology makes you smart and competent and intimidating.

You can memorize Bible verses and train your brain to travel the same paths of purity and righteousness. You cannot memorize or train Jesus. He keeps on walking. You can hide the Bible in your heart and carry it with you in a backpack. You can take it out and put it away when you decide. God in a book is manageable. But Jesus keeps on walking. A God living outside the covers of the Bible who can show up unannounced, anywhere, anytime is unnerving. A God we cannot explain, a God we cannot bound with leather and ink, a God we cannot prove or defend or … control, that’s a little too much to handle. But that’s the point. We cannot handle Jesus. We can only follow him, and Jesus keeps walking.

We want to make theology static and make our beliefs stand firm.

Jesus keeps on walking.

We want to do Christianity by the Book and decide who’s in and who’s out of our camp.

Jesus keeps on walking.

We want to take stances and build fences and become watchmen and gatekeepers for God.

Jesus keeps on walking.

We want to stand on the foundation of 2000 years of Church teaching. We want to insist that the Bible is inerrant and our faith immovable.

Jesus keeps on walking.

Following Jesus means we must be light and nimble. We cannot carry a bunch of luggage or provisions. U-hauls full of theological furniture don’t cut it when you’re living in a tent. Storage units of positions and stances seem silly when you’re constantly on the move. Following Jesus means the life of a nomad. His yoke is easy and his burden is light for a reason. We don’t have time for the heavy load, because Jesus keeps on walking. It might be nice to get comfortable in our theological houses. It might feel safe and more secure to settle into our well-built statements of faith. It might seem prudent to pour a sturdy foundation and built our lives around it. But Jesus keeps on walking.

This nomadic life is not necessarily about where you live. It’s about how you live. It’s not what you believe; it’s how you believe. We must be spiritual nomads, willing to move and adapt our understanding of God. The key is staying close to Jesus. The journey will be erratic and sometimes irrational, to the point that all you can do is keep your eye on the Jesus.

The movement and adaptation is not an indicator of apostasy. Leaving some teaching behind is not leaving God. Changing beliefs does not mean severing a relationship. This idea that we must remain cemented in our belief system because God doesn’t change, it’s bad logic and bad theology. God is unchangeable, but he’s also infinite. That means he remains unchanged even when our understanding of him changes. God is infinite, which means he is far too big to be seen sufficiently from one vantage point.

We’re not moving the goal posts; we’re changing our seat in the stands.

So, yes, following Jesus is scary. But clinging to a theology is scarier. One has a foundation that will eventually crumble. The other has legs.


From → bible, spirituality

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