I resisted this for so long, the slide into what I always assumed was a non-decisive limbo. A place for the cowardly to hide from conviction.
But then my convictions led me here to the in-between spaces… And now I find myself resisting black and whites, resting in the grey.
Because Jesus boiled everything down to the impossibly simple, terribly difficult LOVE. Love God. Love people.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
And when we want to know what love is? Well then, us lawyers, we get our list…
Rejoices in Truth
Which is great and all, but it doesn’t help with a lot of things, does it? It doesn’t tell me how to dress nor what music to listen to. It doesn’t tell me who is in and who is out. It doesn’t tell me how to evangelize. It doesn’t help me decide on a denomination nor which translation of the bible to read. It doesn’t prescribe a specific day for gathering nor does it tell me which holidays are appropriate for Christians to celebrate. It doesn’t say whether or not women should teach or preach. It doesn’t get into ecclesiology at all except to say that we should all be doing all of that. It leaves alone our definitions of God, the Trinity, the Atonement… We don’t see anything about having sound doctrine or saying the right prayers or confessing the correct ideology.
We see… Giving people the benefit of the doubt, having hope that where they seem to fall short they are covered by grace, not assuming our answers are the right ones or the only ones. We see a long road of kindness and gentleness and humility. We see being in intimate relationship with God.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
And I realize there is a lot more in the Bible than these verses. I realize that there is a lot said about living a “righteous” life and a lot of beautiful, life-giving advice on how to conduct ourselves. But less and less am I able to believe that we must get it right to be in God’s good graces.
Perhaps that is a no brainer for you. But for me this is… this is the sky falling. This is the earth bending in ways I didn’t know were possible. This is supernatural – super to my natural state, wanting rules, needing guidelines, drawing borders. This changes everyghing for me.
Less and less am I able to believe that what we read as rules were really meant that way. I’m less able to believe that God wants our religion as I am becoming swept into this idea that God wants us.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)
So whatever we wear, whatever translation we read, whatever we believe about gay marriage or women preachers, whatever we think about baptism or communion, however we organize ourselves, wherever we stand on predestination and free will, whatever we think happens when we die or what the hell Revelations is talking about, we are called to two simple, difficult things that should keep us busy enough to unite over all those peripheral issues: Love God and Love People.
I keep finding myself in fuzzy places because sometimes Love is fuzzy. I keep finding my deepest hopes confirmed – that “God is Love” really does mean what I want it to mean. That he is patient… and kind.. and humble… and forgiving… and submissive… and that he hopes and believes in all things.
So here I am finding myself: in the grey. I enjoy discussions and I enjoy learning… I even enjoy arriving at working conclusions when they make sense! But I am more often pushed back here to a place where my answers are held with a loose grip, where they are never, ever more important to me than Love. And I guess I’m finding that Love is the only thing that’s really black and white.