Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Does Jesus hate me and gays part 3 (Have I offended you or do all victims go to heaven?)

There are a couple of things that I need to explain before you read any further, first I did not intend for there to be a part three and second I wrote parts of this post at three different times and of course the way I think and feel have changed over time.  If it seems a little disjointed that's because it is but honestly most of my posts are disjointed so you will probably not notice a difference.  Thanks!

The genesis of this post is a text message my wife received the day after part 2 in this series had been posted.  As you may have guessed the text was from the former friend that was the topic of part 1 and 2 and from here on will be refereed to as the former friend.  In part 2 the former friend had said this to me after she was no longer my power of attorney:

"No problem. Remember we're available to help in any way you need. If this is the result of anything I've done to offend, please let me know so I may apologize; I love and value the two of you."

I assumed this was genuine and as anyone who read part 2 knows I reached out to my former friend to explain what I had found offensive, long story short she told me to shut up and I was to never mention what had offended me again.  Now that the exposition has been finished here are the contents of the text message that was sent to my wife, the only thing that has been changed is my wife's name was taken out other than that it is a direct quote:

"Hey Fats Wife, I haven't heard from you in a while, so I assume I have offended you. If so, I beg your forgiveness, and I'll be available if anything changes."

Now when I read this I was mad, not angry, mad.  Mad is more emotional than angry, it is based more in the gut than in the brain and the main ingredient is pain.  To tell the truth mad is always pain that is masked and that is done to try and protect yourself from more pain.  There is pain throughout the words that follow and I lash out at times during this post.  A part of me wants everyone to feel that pain and betrayal and as it is said misery loves company.

I will try and distill that pain into something we can all use and learn from.  All of what follows is speculation on my part.  I think the choice of words offend and offended from the two messages are key to how my former friend continues her narrative that she is the victim.  I think her thought process is that if she is acting in a "Christian way" and someone is offended that is on them and has nothing to do with her.  I think she bullies people from the high horse that is the "Christian way" in which she acts.  I believe she thinks that Christ has gave her a lift up onto the high horse but in fact she has climbed up there all on her own.

The previous paragraph was distilled pain which is not my favorite spirit but I do drink it upon occasion.  In the month since I posted part 2 I think about my former friend daily and I think that has brought me some peace but has also brought me some anger.  A lot of that anger is directed at myself.  How stupid am I that I missed that part of my former friends character?  Hindsight is always 20/20 and I should have seen the signs and distanced myself.  What kind of special idiot blinders did I have on that I allowed myself to be dependent on a person that had this amount of anger and vitriol in them?

That last question lead me to be a little easier on my self.  At that time I had become terribly ill and I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually weak.  I had always been the rock for my wife and now I was crumbling.  When my former friend came in and offered to shore up the crumbling rocks and there for my wife I did not do a lot of questioning, I was just grateful.  That is enough about me for now, I definitely got side tracked there but I think it is a good insight to what I have been living on this topic for the last month or so.  One more detour and then back to speculating about my former friend. 

I had a friend about fifteen years ago that was a devote Catholic and a philosophy teacher.  I had no credentials other than my own arrogance and the fact I was pretty darn smart.  We both had a love for Rene Descartes.  I will try and paraphrase from memory one point from one conversation that my Catholic philosophy teacher friend said that I think will eventually be shown to be on topic: 

First we both agreed that Descartes was a Catholic apologist and wanted to prove the existence of God with philosophy, science, you know that kind of stuff.  Not everyone agrees that Descartes was a Catholic apologist but just go with me here okay?  Second we both agreed that Descartes was a brilliant man whom me both admired for his contributions to philosophy, science, math and theology (fill in the rest yourself he did a lot of stuff) .  At the time I was an existentialist atheist and I would often say that if Descartes the most brilliant man to walk the earth failed to prove that God existed the rest of us should just give up and live our lives as atheists and pick a nice philosophy and stop killing each other over different "God" stories.  I was annoyingly self righteous back then.

My Catholic philosophy teacher friend at this point said that both Descartes and I had missed the point, you can never prove the existence of God and God never intended that we be able to prove His existence.  Jesus does not say "Prove that I exist and you will be saved" he says "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved" or in other words you must have faith.  At the time I said he was coping out and that the whole faith thing was his escape from the argument.  Looking back I can say that regardless of what side of the argument you are on most atheists and most Christians would say that belief in God is all about faith.

This is where I tie all this rambling back into the post and hope I make a point that was worth the detour.  I think that my former friend lives in a constant state of worry and fear.  I think she takes the Bible literally because for her it is then not a religious text but a scientific text book.  Once the Bible is a text book she can go to places like the Creation Museum and they will provide the "proof" she needs to know that the Bible is literally true in the young earth creationist kind of way and God has then been proven to exist.  Why is it important that the Genesis account of creation be that God literally created the earth in six days as opposed to it being literally a beautiful poem that truly expresses the creation story poetically?  The answer is simple, if it is a poem it would require faith in God as opposed to the alternative which simply requires you accept what is written in the text book and you have "proof" that God exists and no faith is needed.

My speculation is that my former friend must have everyone believe what she believes because she is trying to convince herself and not everyone else but hopes that when everyone is convinced she will be convinced.  Sadly when everyone is convinced it will only drown out her doubt while she surrounds herself with the white noise of other people but in the quiet moments that come to us all when we are alone she will still be scared and will turn to her faith and still find it lacking.  In truth she needs the Bible as her text book because ironically she does not have the faith or the belief in God and the Bible.  She judges people based strictly on the most literal interpretation of the Bible because there is not enough faith to look at it any other way.

The Bible is not sufficient for her and she requires proof that the Bible is strictly and literally correct and that is why she looks outside of the Bible to places like the Creation Museum to provide proof that the Bible, her textbook, is literally accurate because the alternative is that the Bible is not an empirical text book and the Creation Museum does not provide empirical proof that the Bible is accurate and that if you are a Christian you must have faith.

I do not think my former friends faith is strong enough for her to believe in the Bible without proof and that is why she is scared and lashing out.  I think this is why she attacked me on those occasions and it is what will drive her to lash out in the future if somebody disagrees with her about creationism or gay marriage or anything that contradicts the literal interpretation of her textbook because she is scared.

When Jesus was asked what where the most important commandments he said that in fact two commandments contain the whole law of God:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

There is a lot of love there and it is what I strive for everyday.  I fall short everyday and what follows is me falling short.  I do not think it is loving to attack a sick man about his opinions on gay marriage, not defend yourself but instigate two fights about gay marriage and then when you lose those fights threaten the sick man that you will abandon him and his wife in their hour of need if he ever brings up that he was attacked by you.  I think she tells herself that she did not attack me and that I have been offended by her "Christian ways" which are not really attacks and that my wife is not upset about her attacking me and that she is also offended by her "Christian ways".  My former friend knew why my wife and I had been "offended" but if she were to acknowledge that she knew why we were "offended" then she would have to admit that her actions at least played a part in us being "offended".

In my opinion my former friend is ignoring the parts about love in her text book.  In order to be saved there is not a requirement for someone to stop sinning and in they do not even need to have read the text book (Bible) but only that they believe in God and accept his Grace.  Then the Holy Spirit will begin to work in your heart and of course you nurture that with fellowship and study.  I have been saved and I do not think you could find many evangelical pastors to say that I am saved I am now going to hell because I am pro gay marriage.  I think the important thing to do is Love thy God and Love thy neighbor and by doing these two things bring the Good News to your neighbors and friends. No where in the Bible does it say that you must be perfect and if that if you are not perfect you should expect attacks from your fellow "Christians" especially if you are sick.    

The end of the post is finally here and it is apparent to me that I have more to work through on this and although I would like for part 3 to be the end of this series I am afraid there will be a part 4 and hopefully I will not fall as short as I did here.

PS

Unfortunately it would not be hard to find an evangelical pastor to say I am not a Christian so if you wanted to use this post in discussion with your less than tolerant Christian friends be aware they are just going to say I am not a Christian.