Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Come, Take the First Step

  Well, the doctor's visit wasn't all bad.  I've got to get my cholesterol down, but it's less than it was last year.  My sugars are lower now.  Thanks to no longer drinking pop, and reducing rice and bread intake.  I've just got to exercise more and perhaps I should get back on my primal diet again.

   Sigh... it's SO hard to get back on that, particularly with our North American Standard diet which is prevalent EVERYWHERE in this country.

   So yesterday I was talking about how I left Church.  I think I'll continue on and share a bit about the path I took after I left the ICOC.  Before I get into that, I really wanted to share something I have been constantly thinking about from the time my daughter was born.

  Once Cassidy came into my life, I couldn't believe how much a human being could love someone else.  Even more so that she is adopted.  She is not my flesh and blood, but she is completely my daughter.  The similarity in this to the relationship we have with God was not lost on me.

  We are adopted into the household of God, Romans 11 goes into this.  We are not Israelites, we are from the nations and yet God graciously brings us into his family.  It amazes me every day, how beautifully this is illustrated in my family.

   Cassidy is not flesh and blood, but we do not seperate her from my family in this.  My parents and in-laws lavish her as richly as any other family member.  My in-laws even more so, as she may be their only grand daughter.  Being my daughter, I still discipline her the same as I would any child of mine.  I love her unconditionally, no matter how stinky, rebellious, sick or undesirable should could possibly be.  There is nothing that would stop me from loving her.  EVEN when she dishonors me in her ignorance as a child.

  If me, a mere human being could love my child this way, how much more could God love us?  Even before I came to my understanding of Grace, I intuitively understood this.  Thus began my rejection of the traditional view of an angry, vengeful god.  The kind of god Mark Driscoll and other sadistic religious teachers paint.  Our God IS love.

  After all Matthew 7:9 paints the illustration of a Father who loves to extremes.  He DOES care, despite what religion would have you think.


Now that I've gotten my thought of the day out, let me share the first thing that began me on this journey.

  Sometime not long after I left the ICOC in 2004 I began to see the influence of the Catholic church still remained in Christian religion.  While we may have called ourselves "protestant" in influence we were still very much "New wine in old wine skins" (Mark 2:22) 

  We still had the hierarchy  though not as heavily so.  We still had traditional trappings such as: communion, days of worship, creeds, confession, sermons, even hymns and songs had become traditional.

  Mark 7:6-13 warns against a gospel that is based on such things.  It always amused me that the ICOC preached this but yet, DID the same things they preached against.  Religion is so blinded to their own hypocrisy.

   This forced me to sit back.  Once I left the Church I had to re-examine every tradition and dispose of it.  Every single tradition I have been taught is a complete lie.  Trinity? lie.  Hell? lie.  Communion? lie. etc. etc.

  Only once we clear away the cobwebs of traditions from our theology can we be ready to understand the truth.

   There's an interesting parable someone shared, I think it was on Facebook or somewhere.  A teacher in a school had a transparent glass on table filled with unclean brackish water.  He poured a jug of clean water into the glass, and it simply overflowed but remained murky and unclean.  "Can I clean the water in this glass by pouring more clean water into it?"

  The class murmured no and people shook their heads.  He dumped the glass of water into the sink and again filled it with clean water this time, now the glass was transparent and pure.

  "To begin to learn correctly, we must first clear our misconceptions.  Only once those are cleared, can we begin to learn."

  Our relationship with God is no different.

Travis Penner