I have been reading about “anonymous letters”. Reading advice on how to deal with letters to a minister from one of their congregation. An anonymous bitter abusive sheep. A sheep who does not even sign their name.
The advice was to read and bin it and move on. But the comments below the advice were interesting. Apparently most ministers are not very logical or objective. So the venom within an anonymous letter hurts more deeply. My thought was that if “most” are touchy-feely, then either God or the God Colleges’ selection criteria is questionable (or maybe the jobspec doesn’t stand-up under logical and objective scrutiny – which begs a question or two).
I was left with the impression that “most” ministers expect the love they invest on their congregation to be returned by their congregation. Which isn’t how love works. Nor is relying on the bible to justify binning these letters how love works. Nor is teaching that the love of this “biblical”God – investment and return, using the bible to justify a preference – is teaching Love. And nor is Love that influenced by the anonymous words of another.
I was left with a sense that this wasn’t a great reflection of Love (as taught).
Love is strong. Love is fierce. Love is level-headed. Love is the freedom to journey. Love is not an academic exercise. Love is not a small herd of Greek words explored and expounded. Love does not need God qualifications. Love invites humanity and compassion. Love is grace freely given. Love allows.
Allows an academic qualification that judges love to be weak. Allows love to be okay if you have God but not if you haven’t. Love allows that crap because that’s what love is. God allows that crap because God is Love. And Love allows.
I allowed the crap. I bought into “most ministers” teaching of love.
Love is not sin and I am sin. So my love is weak. My weak love is not enough. So we buttress the weakness with “buts”: But ya gotta be saved … gotta be forgiven … gotta be a sinner … gotta be a sinner saved … gotta buy into the buts … gotta build walls to keep sin out and God in … gotta build the walls of church high so all will know that God is great … gotta show that God is strong because He could (and should) fry us all but doesn’t – even though we all deserve it just by being born in His likeness – but then not being Him – not loving Him enough – like He loves us – more than we ever can. Because we can’t. Not even the bestest baddest biggest Christian ever can. Not even they can love God as much as He loves me – and I am nowhere near being the bestest baddest biggest Christian – I am a pale faux-imitation with a sinner’s “faux-love”. And that is not love at all (ya sinner).
I used to buy into all that. Because I was taught that is who I am. I am a walking talking pity-party.
And could I have been taught differently? Could I have been taught I am damn wonderful (without all the “buts”)? Yes I could and yes I was: “most” is not “all”. AND because whatever my “teaching” was or is … it can only and ever be that: “teaching”.
Because unless I grow as I am taught … journey the living of my real life amongst real people … find out who I really am … Any teaching is a waste of time. Because teaching is not for the qualifications. Teaching does not endow truth or wisdom or knowing. Teaching teaches me to ask my own questions.
And what I do then is down to me.
I can object to my teaching. I can criticise “most” teachers. And I have and do and will. But never because they don’t allow me to think. Never because they don’t allow me to love as I know I can and do and will. That is my decision. A choice I am free to make. A choice I own no matter my teaching.
I criticise because the teaching in the bible is the SAME teaching that “most” told me is wrong. The same bible teaching that I am enough. I am all I need to be. I am loved without condition. That filled with love I am free of fear. And free of fear and filled of love … ?
That is better than eternity. That is the bible.
Just not as taught by most ministers.
You and I are in congruence.
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Thank you Tom
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Hi Paul, following footsteps in far superiour shoes than mine
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And me Andrew.