Monday, June 23, 2008

So… at our last meeting some of you were asking me about Christianity and I told you that basically, Christianity boils down to 2 things: Love Jesus and Love People. (To me, that’s what the cross symbolizes – one beam reaching up to God and one beam reaching out to people.) Some of you asked how it could be this easy and it does seem easy but it isn’t. Not really. The thing is, unlike what TV, our friends, and popular culture says, the word “love” is not a feeling. It is a verb – an action verb – active - requiring and demanding action. And, Christianity (again, contrary to what some people calling themselves Christians act like) Christianity is based on the belief that we are all jerks and idiots – all of us. We all screw up and guilty of sin but God loves us anyway.

There is no way that we can earn our way to heaven or atone enough for our screw-ups via sacrifices (ala Old Testament) or good deeds or whatever. So… God sent His Son - perfectly sinless, innocent and blameless, to take the punishment and be the sacrifice that would atone for us. All we have to do is accept it. I’m sure you have all seen people carrying signs at sporting events that says John 3:16 on them. That verse says that “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son so that all who believe in him might not perish but have everlasting life.” Well…. The thing is, if you keep reading, it gets better. It says that the thing is, that it is not the fact that we love God that is so important, it is that He loves us. And, he does. He hates the sin but loves the sinner. And… He commands us to love (and forgive like He has forgiven us) all people – friends and enemies. Murderers and saints. All sins are equal under God’s eyes. So… yea… someone who cheats on their taxes or lies to their parents or writes their name on someone else’s homework assignment is no different than a prostitute, or a bank robber or a murderer or a pedophile. And, even though those actions are all sin, we are to still show everyone God’s love. (Okay… Tell me again that’s easy!?)

Part of the problem and differences in Christianity is this. How do you show God’s love? Well… to some people, they read the Bible and decide people should act a certain way and spend a lot of time/energy loudly asserting this. The problem is…. Is this love? The people doing would say yes. But I think God would not be so worried about body piercings and tattoos as much as he would be worried about urban decay. I don’t think God would be as offended by your language when you tell someone that conditions at a homeless shelter are “crappy” as He would be offended by the conditions at the homeless shelter. I think whatever religion you are, it is important to think about what is God really saying – what are His rules – and what rules are made up by human beings. Anyway… Philip Yancey had a great visual book (you can borrow it if you want!) called “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” that shows is in a visual way what Christianity – true Christianity, not the distorted-by-human-beings-who-know-everything-and-are-better-than-you Christianity - is all about. Some of it is on YouTube at

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