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Monday, September 08, 2008

Something Powerful

I've been reading the Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, and I've decided I've finally found the perfect spokesperson to my own personal theology.

"There is a myth flourishing in the church today that has caused incalculable harm: once converted, fully converted. In other words, once I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, an irreversible, sinless future beckons. Discipleship will be an untarnished success story; life will be an unbroken upward spiral toward holiness."

Wow... Can I just raise my hand here and say that I've been one of those? Thinking that there was something wrong with me because I haven't suddenly crossed over that invisible barrier turning me into the perfect Christian. I've struggled with wondering why I haven't "gotten it" yet, and why it seems like for every step forward I take, I end up making a thousand giant leaps back.

Manning continues with, "Tell that to poor Peter who, after three times professing his love for Jesus on the beach and after receiving the fullness of the Spirit at Pentecost, was still jealous of Paul's apostolic success."

I love reading stories in the Bible where our heroes mess up. Not because I rejoice in the failure of others, but because I know that even the most perfect Christians aren't perfect.

As Manning says, "the Christ-encounter did not transfigure me into an angel. Because justification by grace through faith means I have been set in right relationship with God, not made the equivalent of a patient etherized on a table."

I have to say, this above all gives me the most hope. Jesus gave us the opportunity for a relationship with Him, not a brainwashing to turn us into little Jesus robots. If He'd wanted that, He'd have done it. We'd all be perfect little Jesus clones running around the planet, doing all the good things we're supposed to do. But it doesn't work that way. Relationship means that sometimes we do it right, sometimes we get it wrong, and together we work it out.

Isn't God cool?


Anonymous said...

I've been reading that right now as well.
Sort of.
It's an audio book. I listen to about a fifth then wait a few weeks.
Good stuff.

Danica Favorite said...

Yeah, that's how I'm reading it. I need the time to process, you know?

Delia said...

That sounds interesting. Like something I'd like to read. I think I'll have to go find it :)

Donna said...

I think I might need that book, too. Great post.