The Lost Discipline

Okay.  Blog vacation over.  I’m back.  I have been unbelievably busy for the past two weeks, but am now going to get back to my two-to-three blog a week schedule.  I’m sure you are all relieved…

I have tried in the past couple weeks to keep my thoughts to myself and to simply observe.  And here is what I have observed.  Of all the Christian disciplines and instructions of Jesus and Paul, one seems to be lost — hopefully not irrevocably.  That discipline is: humility.

Could Christians — or more specifically any one Christian — be wrong?  Has our “faith” become entrenched, incontestable, unapproachable dogma?  I have been privy to various “conversations” between Christians, and the one characteristic painfully absent has been any measure of humility.  What happened to not being haughty?  What happened to considering others better than ourselves?  What happened to the faintest trace of civility and kindness?  Oh, many couch their comments in acidic forms of tolerance, but real humility?  Not so much.

What’s up with Christians attacking other Christians for interpreting the Bible differently than they do?  What’s to be gained by insulting other Christians for their unique and individual Christologies?  What gives some Christians a level of assurance that gives them the right to attempt to humiliate other Christians who believe different things than they do?  Sorry, this isn’t a liberal/conservative thing, no matter how much you want to make it so.  This is how one flawed, imperfect human being treats other flawed, imperfect human beings kind of thing.  This is about core beliefs and practices.  This is about how Christians justify pettiness, judgmentalism, violence, narrow-mindedness, hate, hostility, prejudice, ugliness and ignorance as God-fearing virtues.  It makes me sick.

Ooooh, too harsh?  Sorry.  We are the body of Christ.  The evidence of our life in Christ is love.  Joy.  Peace.  Patience. Kindness.  Generosity. Faithfulness.  Generosity.  Self-control.  You know — fruit of the Spirit.  This is what one loving soul told me this week about my penchant for focusing on the fruit of the Spirit.

What about righteousness?  What about holiness?  What about purity?  If the love of God extends to all then our faith is a mockery.  Sin is sin, and your stupid unconditional love theology just shows you don’t understand the mind of God at all. 

Okay.  I’m good with that.  My God is a God of love, not hate.  I can accept that others want to punish and torture those they disagree with.  I don’t have any sympathy for them, but I acknowledge they exist, and if they can sleep at night, I can accept them.  I simply will never accept any theology that strives to hate, exclude, condemn, and judge others simply because they think differently than I do.

The Christian call to humility may be our most extreme challenge.  To not force one’s own opinions on others — wow, how can we live with that?  To allow that others have the right to think differently — how could Christians possibly cope?  To not think more highly of our own thoughts and opinions than those of others?  How un American!  To not judge?  To not hate?  To not condemn?  What fun is that?

Humility.  What does it mean?  What does it look like?  What would our faith look like if more of us took it seriously?  I wonder…

9 replies

  1. It has been helpful for me to remember that to be humble does not mean I am inherently weak. It means I am aware that what strength I have comes from God, and is to be shared in community. Likewise, whatever intelligence, righteousness, material wealth, etc. I have comes from God, and is to be shared in community. It has also been essential for me, and my natural tendency to be passionate about things I believe are important, to remember that God’s ability to bring peace, justice, righteousness, salvation, shalom, or whatever it is I am passionately focused on does not rest solely or even centrally on my bringing those things to be.

    Though I missed your musings over the last little while, I appreciate your taking time to observe, so that you could share your observations.

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