Marmanold, I went to the link you provided and was familiar with a couple of authors, but I'd of course at least heard of all. I do find it interesting in scripture that not once did Jesus tell his friends to avenge his suffering, nor did he make his resurrection known to his enemies. Instead of using the resurrection as an opportunity to wreak revenge, he used it to offer forgiveness, even pardoning Peter for his betrayal. One area that's been difficult for me to deal with is the book of Revelation, with Jesus returning on a white horse, a bloody sword in hand. He defeats his enemies and casts them into hell. Talk about a Hollywood movie! As humans, we bristle at the notion of abandoning a heavenly ledger. Which is it? The sword and blood and violence, or, a perfect God who says, "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye and tooth for tooth'. But I tell you, do not resist as eveil person. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn to him the other also.: Matt. 5 38:39
Unjustly condemned, Jesus could have demanded a life for a life, rather, he prayed, "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." These acts of grace achieve what justice cannot-God's new heaven and new earth. While I understand the need for consequence and punishment, I no longer believe that Christ will return in vengeance and cast many into hell. Would we send our children to their rooms forever? I think not. So my vision of grace is one that is greater than what is taught in most Christian churches today. Eternal punishment defies God's commitment to restoring all things. And I believe we are called upon to be ambassadors of reconciliaton. From Dr. Martin Luther King: "We shall match your capacity to endure suffering. Se shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory." Amen, and amen.
A good friend who is trying to encourage and pray for our family to join a "bible-based" church after our exit from Mormonism... she keeps asking if me and my husband have "said the sinner's prayer?" ... I think some Christian consider those to be the "magic words".
I don't think it takes the words, but I do think that, for some of us, we need to see God's grace to bring us up from where we fall emotionally and spiritually. For me, that need is fulfilled in Christ.
Now, I feel free to love the mission and the message and life of Christ more now than I ever did as a Mormon. I'm definitely not fundamentalist. The last thing holding me to Mormonism was the lack of a true hell for the vast majority of us. So, imagine my surprise to find a really cool and inspiring theology which does fit me... Christian Universalist. I've studied Phillip Gulley, Brian McClaren and Rob Bell that I like the best.
This is a great post. I've read all the comments and am happy to find some like minds. I don't feel like such a weirdo now! :)
Thanks for the tip on the newsletters. I think I will like those.
I completely agree with everything you said.
One thing I have found frustrating too is the picking on atheists. Even the word atheist is almost always used as a perjorative. I really don't like that. I don't like atheist slamming on my beliefs and I don't like done the other way either. Nobody "owns" moral behavior. Either you are trying to live your life with love and peace or you are not.
I am gonna definitely need a liberal church when I am ready to join one again. But they are kind of few and far between compared to the conservative churches. Sad.
Just my 2 cents.