Religion is Complicated. Jesus is Not.

I'm so sick of arguments over the variety of beliefs various "Christians" have. We poke, prod, and pester one another about all sorts of things that none of us really have a freakin' clue about. I used to be the leader of the pack, but no more.  There are other things in my life that are of far greater importance and benefit.

Religion is complicated. Jesus is not.

Most of the questions, I have heard all my life, but there's something about the way they have been asked recently that really chaps my hide. This idea that any of us have it all figured out really bothers me. These days, most of the time my answer is a non-answer.  I am perfectly fine saying, "I don't know" or "I don't care" on matters of personal theology. 

I also frequently ask, "What difference does it make?"

I think that may be the most important question of all. Because if we have it all figured out, but we still live like hell here on earth, what difference does it make?

When I was a college student and a 20something, I remember getting into heated debates over the nuances of the Christian faith, but why?  To prove that I "get it" better than another person who is grappling and struggling with their faith the same way that I am?

One thing this questioning of beliefs has done in recent weeks is send me digging deeper, to the core of what I do actually believe and what I feel matters most. I'll list them for you here, in no particular order:

  • I believe my daughter cares more about the next bite of muffin than my views on sanctification.
  • I believe my five-year-old cares more about whether I read him "just one more" bedtime story than he does about this very blog.
  • I believe my wife has far greater concern over whether or not I remembered to unload the dishwasher than the ins and outs of predestination or my understanding of the Trinity.  (I forgot to call the dentist today, by the way.)
  • I believe life is too short to get caught up in arguments over theology.
  • I believe I was put here to do my best to love God, love my wife and children, and love my neighbor ...and that when I fail at any of those, Grace picks up my slack.
  • I believe life is a journey and none of us have "arrived".  I am highly skeptical of anyone who thinks they have all the answers.
  • I believe so much of this life is about learning to see ourselves the way God already does: though eyes of Love.

I am not a Theologian. They exist, but I am not one. I am a sign language interpreter, a writer, and a photographer.  More importantly, I am a husband and father and I am not an expert at any of those things.  I sincerely wish everyone would realize we are all part of the same family.  I wish we could work together and support each other instead of bickering over who holds the corner market on Jesus.

One blog I read captures my point pretty well:

Arguing theology just doesn’t look like Jesus to me.  Somehow I can’t imagine Jesus arguing theology.  I can imagine him partying with sinners, forgiving prostitutes, healing people and dying for me.  I can imagine him talking about the Father’s love.  I can imagine him engaged in lively discussions with the Pharisees.   But I cannot imagine him arguing theology.

I am Steve Austin: an imperfect, undeserving, less-than-fascinating human being, who is just trying to make the world a little bit better, this side of "forever". I believe in a Jesus who straightened out all the crooked paths we humans devised and made the complicated things simple. I believe in a Jesus who welcomed the little children who longed to be near him. I am one of those little children, and I am content to simply sit at God's feet.

Want to come and sit next to me?

--Steve

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