So much has happened, is happening. I re-read the two previous posts and shook my head. Badly written, confused, scattered. I was going to re-write them both, then thought better. There’s something to be said for recording one’s state of mind in the lines and between them.
One of the biggest changes in my post-Mars Hill, post-SSA phase (wait, what did he say?? POST?? Does that mean…? No, but that’s another post…) is that through the questioning, the rage, the fear, the tears, and the soul-rending loneliness, I’ve come to the conclusion that so much of what I was exposed to at Mars Hill was a theology that questioned love, that treated love like some soft, squishy, sin-approving emotion. What really needs to happen, I’d hear, is to bring sinners to Christ through some theology that challenges your pride, your relationship with God, and bangs home that you are so far short of the mark that your relationship with God is the only thing that will save you and you best not question, waiver, falter, or otherwise grieve Him or you are going to find yourself in Hell, up to your chin in monkey vomit with imps riding speedboats around you. As predestination is left unconsidered by so many non-reformed, grace was never explained in much detail at Mars Hill. Even Pastor Mark preached a sermon on grace and how he had trouble with it.
No, that’s not all reformed theology in general. Good grief, no. Put away the urge to hit the comment button. Many of the most loving, supportive friends I have hold to reformed theology. Some of them have saved and nurtured my faith during the highest and lowest of points. It was, frankly, Mars Hill damage.
Part of my re-invention, healing, recovery, what have you, is this: I have come to hold to the fact that we are God’s walking billboards. That Jesus lived a life of love and grace and mercy so vast and deep and all-encompassing the best theologians among us can only grasp but a fraction. It is one thing to have a ready scripture for any situation; another thing entirely to BE that scripture, living and alive, in a relationship with another human being.
I watch the gay/Evangelical mess get worse, pride overwhelming both sides, and the struggle is one I find myself wanting to quit. In the battle, I am a conscientious objector. The Jesus I have come to re-acquaint myself with was called a drunkard and a glutton. He hung with all the socially incorrect people and infuriated the Pharisees in doing so. He loved people so well that people ripped roofs off houses to get to Him. He was unbelievably funny, gracious, generous, and even in his rage, he would protect the most innocent. Stripped of all that, He is the most important. In the middle of this gay/straight tension, this is how I wish to be known: as someone who does his best to show all the great qualities of Jesus.