Questions for the Left

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Several weeks ago, I wrote about some problems with the religious right and a friend of mine asked me to be fair and write about the problems with the left.  I kind of feel a little inadequate about that, since I have not lived that kind of life.  I’ve spent my 45 years of life in churches that lean right.  I have only read their views in books and discussed ideas with friends who have lived their lives understanding life from the lefts views.  I have also spent the last few months attending a more progressive church.  You would never notice a difference in the worship service unless you spent several weeks or months attending services.  However that is only one church.  Maybe others are different.   I will say that I have personally moved from the right more towards a middle ground.  I don’t feel that I am on the far right or left.  Some people I know might disagree with that though.

Let me explain that I believe that all religious extremist (either left or right) are problematic.  The farther to the right a person gets the more demanding that they are correct in all their views and no one other than those who believe like they do will get to heaven.  The farther left a person goes the more it seems that rules don’t matter.  Doesn’t matter how you live, eventually you will get to heaven if there is indeed a heaven.

The left does not read the Bible literally as I did growing up. Many read it from the historical critical point of view.  That is that they try to find out who the author is, who they are writing to, and what time period they are writing in.  Then they can figure out what the author meant in that time period and see if it has any meaning for today.  This is similar to what you might do with Shakespeare or Homer. It is not an inerrant work created by God.

There were not seven days of creation.  Science has proven that to be false.  I remember discussing this possibility with a fundamentalist ten or so years ago and they were sure I was simply playing devil’s advocate.  Nope, both creation stories are there to show us something about God; after all in the story vegetation is created before the sun.  They lean less and less towards miracles.  They look for natural or scientific ways to say this is how God did it, or they believe that the writers embellished the stories to get their point across.  Jesus never walked on water.  It’s simply a story about Peter’s faith and willingness to follow Jesus anywhere.  Maybe Thomas Jefferson was on that left.  After all, his Bible eliminated every miracle.

Hopefully I am getting this right. You lefties let me know.

Along with miracles come questions about Jesus.  After all, wasn’t his life and death filled with miracles?  There was no virgin birth.  That was an interpretation by the writer of Matthew of the Isaiah verse.  There was nothing really special about the birth of Jesus.  He was probably not well known.  Many historians of the era write about Messiahs but not one has been found to mention Jesus clearly.  The left would look at the stories and ask “If Jesus had done so many miracles wouldn’t people know about him?”  “Write about him?”

If there are no miracles during his life, then what about his death and resurrection?  The farther left you go the less there is belief in a resurrection.  The Spirit of Christ was revealed and sent out.  Paul does talk about Christ living within us (Rom. 8:9-11) and that is the kingdom of heaven.  There may not even be an afterlife.  At least, they say, not for your body.  The soul or spirit that inhabits your flesh will go, but not the flesh that is you.  My biggest questions for this are why should I do any good?  Why shouldn’t I just eat drink and be merry for tomorrow I die?  Did Jesus just die, or die for our sins?

Other beliefs hold that there is no eternal hell.  This has actually been taught since the early church fathers.  Origen was one of the loudest.  He even believed Satan would be reconciled.  Truthfully, I like that idea.  I like the idea that at some point all souls will be reconciled to God through his great mercy. But how are those verses about hell then interpreted?  And to say they are not crazy they will say, C.S. Lewis even believed in this chance.  Read “The Great Divorce” or Narnia where other people besides Narnians go to their heaven.

If all go to heaven, what word is it that we are supposed to spread?  That everyone is saved?  And if that is it, what is the purpose of the church?  What of the Bible?  Is it the word of God?  Certainly from the left it is not without error or contradiction, so what is it?  How is it used?

These are questions I can’t quite answer yet.  I am still struggling to understand it all.  I need more reading and discussing these issues.  Maybe I’ll get it in another 45 years.

I’d like to continue this conversation Sunday.  Please come back.

 

Ok found this link a few weeks after posting this blog.  It may help conservatives understand progressives a little more.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogerwolsey/2014/01/16-ways-progressive-christians-interpret-the-bible/

 

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Fun Predictions for 2014

2014

Everyone seems to make predictions about the coming year.  Some get real specific about it and some don’t.  We all look forward to a coming year because it is a new start.  We can leave behind the pains of the past year and look forward to a fun and exciting year filled with promise.  I don’t know if it is ever as good as we hoped it would be but that is just life.  We often want more than what we can handle or really need.  So let’s have a little FUN and predict a few things I know will happen this year.

So as I look into my crystal ball, here are my 10 predictions for the coming year.

1)       Someone famous will pass away and we’ll all be sad.  Happens every year.  Nothing we can do about it.  It will remind us of some past good times when we enjoyed their movie, TV show, or music.  Even though it will make us sad, we will be happy in our memories.  It will help us connect with others who also share the same feelings.   We may even get out old videos of them or their music and watch or listen to them over and over just to take us out of our real lives just for a little while.   Hey we might even sell their action figures and make money off it.  That is the American way.

2)      President Obama will not be impeached for a so called impeachable act that some people don’t like.  If you really want some impeachable acts, look at our last president.  And the one before him.  And the one before him, and the one before him, and the one …. Ok, I think you get the picture.  Almost every president we have had has done something that could have gotten him impeached. So if we wanted to drag the country through an impeachment and waste our money on that instead of on things that were important we could. Of course we don’t waste any money now do we?  So, I guess whether you like him or not President Obama Is with us until January of 2017.  Vote Hillary/Jeb 2016 or is it Jeb/Hillary?

3)      Tuna.  Tuna will be the big thing.  McDonalds will offer the Tuna burger by mid August.  Then McDonalds will close and other fast food places will follow.   We will then all be a little thinner and happier for next year.

4)      My team will not win the championship.  Think about it.  No matter what sport it is there are around 30 other teams trying to win.  Odds are that my team isn’t going to win it.  Sure, they will have a good record just to tease me and give me hope that this is going to be the year.  One of them will wait until the last week of the season to fall apart and make me mad.  Another may get into the playoffs only to be beaten by that hated rival of mine.  You know who you are!  But really, I won’t be lucky enough this year to have my team win it all.  I’ll just have to wait until next year.  Oh wait it is next year.  Yeah, Go TEAM!

5)      Another possibility is that a blue and a red state will become a purple state and politics will no longer divide them.  Instead we will look at what America actually needs and work on those issues.

6)      The world will not end.  Yellowstone will not explode, a gigantic meteor will not hit the earth and the sun will not explode.  Yes there will be disasters and people will say we are nearing the end, after all each day we are getting closer.   But, it won’t be this year.  We might have some group buying Nike’s, standing on mountains, or drinking poison.  This might be their last year, but the world will keep spinning.  There is, however, a strong possibility though that Martians may invade.

7)      Some summer night this year, you won’t be able to get a song out of your head.  It will make you want to shout.  When you hear it,  you’ll be like a dancing queen and you’ll put your hands up in the air, they are playing that song once again there you’ll go on your own singing a song about your baby’s back.   Ok, do you really want to hurt me now? I guess I’ll just go get some ice baby and when you start singing it, call me….Maybe?  Hammer time!

8)      The gas problem will continue to plague us.  But maybe we should get rid of Mexicans.  After all if you eat a bean burrito you will truly have a gas problem.  But the Mexicans will keep coming and we will continue to have those problems.  Maybe we should mix the problems and see if Mexico wants to become the 51st state.  Then the beans won’t be from Mexico, but from America.  And we all know that if it is American made it must be good.  Then the gas problem will go away.  Maybe we can solve all the problems of the world like that.  All we have to do is make everyone just like us.

9)      The movie, Noah will have a flood, which ends in a rainbow.  Can a movie about God have a rainbow in it?  Noah will get confused about if he’s supposed to take 7 of the animals or 2.  The unicorn will get left off and evolve into a narwhal.  The sea water will go away and recede like my hair and people will go on with their lives, eating, drinking, and marrying just like they have for between 6,000 and 200,000 years.

Hope you have enjoyed your first day of the New Year and that this year will bring you many blessings and toilet paper.