Christians we have a problem. We are selfish and arrogant to keep God for ourselves. We feel justified in this selfishness because we believe it is a mystery why God elected some to receive grace (those that believe in Jesus), and for all others to receive rejection and destruction no matter what they do (because they don't believe in Jesus). We know that salvation of the elect few is contradictory with "God so loved the world" but we just credit God with making the universe this way. Oh well, too bad, lucky for me. I believe the right thing.
Arrogant? We get God, no matter what we do, and they don't get God no matter what they do (except become one of us).
Selfish? We're content as long as we get all the cookies and ice cream. Not enough for you. I'm sorry.
The choice to believe in Jesus or not, is not the choice between good and evil. Its a very different thing, caught up in tradition, ethnicity, culture, history. We are arrogant to think that our circumstances which give us our beliefs make us the elite elect. We are selfish to smugly accept that situation. Doesn't it bother you to condemn the rest of the world? Doesn't the pain eat you up at night?
God is everywhere in all things good. God calls me through all of life. Through experiences. Through love. Through joy. Through the majesty of nature, the cosmic and the microscopic. Through the eyes of a child. As Jesus said, he can be found on the streets, as the poor, naked and hungry reaching out to be fed. God can reach to China or Timbuktu. Even without Christian missionaries. God is. God seeks. God speaks. God prevails.
We are not the elect, the elite, the privileged. No, we are human. We are the object of an enormous unquenchable love that seeks us out. Yes God spoke through becoming the incarnation, the Messiah, the king, Jesus. But in the process Jesus did not doom the rest of the world. He came to seek and save. And that he did. Even those that don't see it the same way as we do. Why do we have to turn "the way, the truth and the life" into a death sentence?
Christians, the kingdom is bigger that you think. The scale is grander. The shepherd has sheep which are not of this fold. We can't keep God to ourselves. It's selfish and arrogant to try.
I'm a Christian because of my belief in Jesus and my love for God. But I'm not the only kind of God lover in this world. Yes it's a slippery slope. Yes that means I need to open my heart to Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, both of which believe in Jesus, but differently than I do. Yes that means I need to open my heart to Jews and Muslims, both of which share my love for the God of Abraham (and also believe in Jesus in their own way). Yes that means that people in the Orient, India, Africa, people of indigenous tribes, those that have distinctly non-Christian paths to see God, may be regarding with love the same God that I am, seeking him (or her :) ), and that God is answering back! And of course there are many Christians in those areas as well.
If you were God, what would you do when your creation called out to you?
What about atheists and agnostics? Well, these folks can embrace the good of humanity and creation just as well as any God-lover. I can't condemn or judge the condition of the heart of the atheist, nor can I excuse the cold heart of any God believer. We just can't draw the lines since they only do harm.
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The only sane answer is "One God. Many Paths". What does that make me, a Christian or not? A Universalist or not? Maybe this: Christian Universalism on wikipedia. You can decide for yourself whether people like me are "Christians" as you define it. For me, I will continue to love God, love Jesus, love the Holy Spirit, and they will love me back. And I will try to let go of the arrogance and selfishness that come from being the elite elect, the chosen few, in order to make room in my heart for the sheep that are "not of this fold".
|Share the cookies and ice cream!|
|God loves us all.|