One of the many things I struggle with in the bible is the imagery of Jesus preaching and teaching to these overwhelming crowds of enthusiastic listeners. Because my reality of hot dusty places and living is that they are noisy places with little regard for the sanctity of other’s listening requirements.
So these verses now don’t work for me (Luke 5:1-11):
“Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon … “
These verses are not the meat. They are the “Wow – look at the numbers” wrapping. A numbers game still played today …
How many millions of Christians … how many in church … how many of this denomination or that … how many of the “Muslims” and their like … the “How many have you brought me?” expectation of God … the “How many haven’t I saved?” fear of meeting. And the DNA of the saved …
How can I be useful? Shouldn’t I share God? How do I bring others to God? Shouldn’t I love others intentionally so they know my love is of God? Doesn’t God Jesus Spirit say I should tell others about God? Look at this bit … “Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.”
And the transactional teaching of God’s love remains: I owe God because He created me and everything … died for me on the cross (and Rose Again) to wash away my sins! ALL he asks is that I save others … be a disciple to learn how to save them!
You are a sinner … you will always be a sinner unless … It’s not your fault – it’s Adam and Eve – but nevertheless the fact is that you need saving … I have been saved and I love you because I have been saved … And if you believe then you will love others as well … THAT’s why we worship God and give Him our money each week – because it’s all His to begin with and The Work must continue! We all NEED Him in our lives so We can love You now AND live with Him forever and ever! The bible says and the bible is the Word of God – and God doesn’t lie because He is God! The bible says!
That no longer works for me.
Love NEEDS no reason to “love”. Love NEEDS no “motivation” to “love”. Love is not intentionally “loving” the unchurched so they can become churched. That is being useful. That is being of service. That is holding back love unless the investment of love is worth it.
Just as all the academia of bible study … all the going back to the “original language” … I think is a “religious stasis” to find “evidence” to justify “loving” others … And THAT (for me) is not Love.
That is finding reason not to doubt my “faith” (and jeopardise my reward when I die).
I have been told many times that “love is not enough” – that love does not distinguish between good and bad – nor between those who should be loved and those who can’t be yet – that preaching the Word of God IS loving sinners – that making disciples IS being a good Christian – that going back to church week after week for a lifetime is a command to gather together so that “by this they will know”.
Yet being saved is of an instant …. “coming to God” a millisecond of time. So why is God taught as “complicated”? Why the teaching that we need to be guided by one who knows God better than we do?
How is “Love” complicated?
Why does “Love” need this lifetime of academia to find reasons to “love” and how to “love”? And why the moan even today that … “So many of the flock never graduate from Sunday School.”
Maybe because “The Church” still teaches “The Unconditional Love of God” but still visibly fears “loving unconditionally” such that it still finds conditions not to. And all …
“Because the bible says so – sorry!”