I just finished reading “The Story We Find Ourselves In” by Brian D. McLaren which is a fictional account of conversations McLaren has had while exploring the postmodern world and how the Christian church fits into the current culture. Parts of the story take some serious concentration because McLaren goes into some complicated stuff, scientific and theological theories that most of us don’t think about every day. I’d give examples, but I’m too tired right now.
The main thing that I got from this book is that a lot of the ‘religious’ aspects of Christianity don’t seem relevant to many people who have never been exposed to ‘church things.’ Many people are offended when they think of God as being a great engineer who controls everything, deciding ahead of time what our lives are going to be like, and knowing in advance who will be saved and who won’t. To be honest, that irritates me too, and I’ve been a Christian for over ten years now.
It seems like we have been taught that God pushes us from behind, or from the past. Like he created us and then began pushing us forward into the future. In essence, forcing us to move ahead with our only choice being to turn left or right, heading inexorably toward death, judgment, and heaven or hell.
One of the interesting things this book brought up is a shift in this theory. What if, instead of pushing us from behind, God is beckoning us [from the future] toward him. The analogy used in the book that really resonated with me was a couple with a child who is just learning to walk. Suppose the father has the child in one corner of the room and the mother goes across the room to another. The mother kneels down, holds her arms out and says, “Come to Mommy!” The child wants her mommy, so she takes one step, then another, and falls. That’s when big brother comes and helps baby up, encouraging her to keep going. Mommy is still calling, and waiting, Daddy is watching and hoping, and big brother is standing guard, encouraging and helping when Baby stumbles, falls, or gets distracted by the big red ball that rolls into her path.
What if that’s how it is with God, only in our story, he is mommy, daddy, and brother all rolled up into one? He began by creating something out of nothing, coaxed it into something that was good, even very good [note that the Bible doesn’t say perfect? What if he created the universe as a ‘baby’ so to speak, and it’s been developing, changing, growing, and dare I say it, evolving ever since?]
Sheesh, there’s so much in my brain, and I’m struggling with how to get it out and be coherent at the same time. I think I need to sleep on this and come back tomorrow. Join me for part 2, won’t you?