First, I need you to know that I no longer see the Bible as inerrant or GOD channeled. I see the Bible as man's attempts to explain the world and the way they thought GOD interacted with them and they with GOD. If I actually had to believe in the GOD of the , I'd be an atheist. I could never worship a GOD who was that schizophrenic, kind one moment, murderous the next. A GOD who promoted and committed genocide. A GOD worse than any terrorist we've ever known. I now see the Bible as a primer. A starter book for coming to know about GOD, but it's not where we should "stay" in our faith/in our relationship with GOD. We need to step out of/past the Bible and into direct relationship with GOD through the . Less law, more relationship/grace. This is a piece I wrote on my blog on grace:
I spend time in as I have come to see it, to more legalistic believers. I have to tell you, it's like trying to explain rain to someone who has never experienced it. 's Christian chat rooms. I have since about 2001. My theology has meta-morphed a great deal since then and because of this I find myself sometimes having to define "grace" Their standard quip is that Grace only would leave us lawless and in chaos. This is a total misunderstanding of Grace. Once you have the concept of a loving, compassionate, forgiving GOD internalized, you find that you don't want/need to step outside of grace out of natural response to the loving GOD, not because some Damocles ruler is about to smack you on the head/hand/heart. When you FINALLY "get" the concept of love GOD/love others, it becomes a natural extension of who you are (in your heart/mind) and is no longer a response to an external set of rules. But they don't get the "you don't WANT to hurt/lie/steal/rob/abuse" part! So I wanted to share this piece that was shared on an E-list I'm on:
As one of the [UU] denomination’s many itinerant clergy, he [Hosea Ballou] was riding the circuit in the New Hampshire hills with a Baptist preacher one afternoon. They argued theology as they traveled. At one point, the Baptist looked over and said, “Brother Ballou, if I were a Universalist and feared not the fires of hell, I could hit you over the head, steal your horse and saddle, and ride away, and I’d still go to heaven.” Hosea Ballou looked over at him and said, “If you were a Universalist, the idea would never occur to you.” ~ told by the Rev. Elizabeth Strong
THIS is Grace in action, Grace lived out in our life. That our heart is so profoundly changed that the concept of doing wrong no longer even naturally occurs to us...May we all be found walking the road of GraceNow on to hell... Our concept of Hell is much different than that held by the people of Christ's time. Hell didn't become this place of endless torture until much later in the Christianity game. I'm not sure I EVER believed in Hell as a place of ETERNAL TORMENT. Think about that...GOD, our eternal parent, who taught us to love our enemies as ourselves, is going to send BILLIONS of people to Hell to be tormented FOR ALL ETERNITY? And we get to watch and rejoice? No thank you.
IF there is a Hell, it is redemptive, because GOD is all about redemption. Like the potter and pot in the kiln or the jeweler and the ore in the smelter, all about burning away the imperfections and coming out on the other side whole, perfected, healed and one with GOD. In Adam all man died. In Christ all man lives. Losing BILLIONS of people isn't ALL and it isn't living. IT'S UTTER FAILURE. GOD doesn't fail. He set us up, he set up the world, and he set it up so GOD WINS. GOD wins because EVERY SINGLE SOUL WILL FIND REDEMPTION IN HIM. Yes, Hitler. Yes, Jeffrey Dahlmer. They will come to see how broken they were and find complete healing and forgiveness in the Father who created them and who loves them enough to send his Son to die for them. Who is all about the prodigals. And the world is full of prodigals. I know that for some, this loving GOD doesn't work. Life conditions us to believe that GOD will be "fair" by HUMAN standards. But his standards are not our standards. And he wins. Hands down, 100% totally wins. Anything else would be a victory for evil. And that just wouldn't work with the GOD of the universe. People who have been severely used and abused by life have trouble with a Grace-enough-to-save-us-all GOD also. We want retribution (we call it justice) and we WANT people to suffer like we did. But every person who has harmed another person in this life, was once harmed by another. Abusers are not born. They are created by another person. GOD could never hold that against someone for all eternity. He would KNOW their story and love them in spite of their pain no matter how they acted out on it. And he would KNOW how to heal them to be exactly right, perfect, whole and healthy. Anyway, I know that you will probably never see GOD like I do. This saddens me, but I've come to recognize that some people cannot or will not. And that's OK. I have the right to see GOD the way GOD reveals himself to me. And you have the right to see GOD how he reveals himself to you.
AND I know that this doesn't have to affect our friendship either, cuz we have never agreed on all things anyway.