OK, before you read this, you have to do a little background reading on an interesting conversation in which I have been participating this week. If you have read the popular novel The Da Vinci Code, you may want to join this conversation. A well-known Christian author named Brian McLaren (whose books I am currently reading and enjoying) was interviewed about his thoughts on the Da Vinci Code…read that article here. A gentleman with the Christian Worldview Network named Jason Carlson wrote a response (rebuttal might be a better word) to that interview. You can read that response here. Be sure to read the comments posted to that article (I have one of the comments below;) interesting and probably quite representative of the level of strong feelings this topic stirs up! Based on that article on the Christian Worldview Network’s site, my fellow blogger Neil wrote an interesting piece on what the words “Christian Worldview” mean to the people who advocate that we all need to have one. Read that blog entry here.
The Christian Worldview Network offers a quiz on their website that you can take to see just how “Christian” your worldview is (according to their definitions, of course.) According to their scoring, I’m pretty much a heretic and need to take their seminars to be healed of my “wrong” thinking. Without giving too much importance to an online quiz, I think the agenda of this organization and organizations like these is divisive at best and frightening at worst. The level of arrogance exhibited by those who believe they have ALL the answers is, in my opinion, driving people away from the church in droves. Here is what one guy said in response to the Mr. Carlson’s attack on Brian McLaren:
I, for one, am beginning to believe that God is bigger than me- that I haven’t got Him all figured out, and that maybe many of the people I disagree with are right. But maybe I’m right, too. That’s how I see the whole “emergent” thing. It’s not that truth doesn’t exist… but that God is Truth, and that his ways are higher than our ways. Predestined or free? Pre-Post-Mid trib? Sprinkle or dunk? Creation or Theistic evolution? Women in leadership? R-rated movies? TV? Rock and Roll? Alcohol? Maybe we’re all right- I think this is what the emergent church is trying to grasp. Maybe God is big enough that YOUR truth about predestination and MY truth about predestination are both right because GOD’s truth is bigger than both. Maybe God really meant it when He said that they’ll know we’re believers by the love we have for one another. Maybe that’s our real call. To live true to our convictions as the Holy spirit reveals them, and to love our brothers and sisters to whom the Holy Spirit has revealed something else.
I’m going to tell you a secret….lean in close, I have to whisper so that the orthodoxy police don’t hear me…ready? I am not entirely sure that I believe Adam and Eve were actual people who lived in an actual place called the Garden of Eden. I am also skeptical about the earth being created in six 24 hour days. In addition, I think that the debate about creation and evolution is more of an also/and proposition rather than an either/or absolute. I’m also open to the idea that I may be wrong. Perhaps during the course of my journey with God, He will choose to guide my thinking in another direction…I just don’t know. In the mean time, my doubts about a literal, word-for-word interpretation of every single story in the bible do not negate my deep love for my Savior and my profound gratitude for the love letter He wrote to me (and you) within the pages of scripture. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and I believe that the Bible contains absolute Truth, but I also believe that we need the Holy Spirit to interpret and discern that Truth in the context of a personal relationship with God. In my opinion, no man or woman or denomination or representatives of certain political parties have the absolute, definitive, last word on what every word in the Bible should mean to the human race. I have come to love the places that God chooses to allow us to remain in the realm of mystery…our questions cause us to continue to seek Him for the answers, or to learn to be content in not knowing and just let Him be God.
I have been hanging around the church long enough that I am pretty secure in my belonging, even when I am struggling with a particular doctrine or theory. I KNOW that God loves me, that I am forgiven and that I will be with Him forever when I die. I know this because I KNOW Him, I talk to Him every day! I am secure in Jesus, even if others wonder about my theology and/or my politics sometimes 🙂 However, here’s the problem; there are others I know that believe that their doubts make them ineligible for church participation…or worse, they are afraid to be identified as doubters so they pretend to be sure of the party line and always worry they will be “caught.” Factions of the church today are sending the message that there is no room for doubt within her fellowship…that you must buy it all to belong…that within the walls of the church is not a safe place to wonder. Going back to my thoughts the other day and some other thoughts from March, I wonder if we are inadvertently communicating to people that our attachment to a particular doctrine and our need to be right is more important to us than the living, breathing, searching person standing right in front of us.
The Da Vinci Code is a book of fiction and I enjoyed it thoroughly as just that. On May 19th, it will be released as a movie. As McLaren says in the interview, the release of the movie gives us a wonderful opportunity to engage in conversations with others about Jesus. It is my hope that we will take those opportunities as a gift and handle them with love and humility. Perhaps we can take the hand of someone who is searching and say “I don’t know all the answers to all your questions, but I do know Jesus and He is everything to me. I’m willing to share with you the answers that I have found and hear more about your questions. Here are the places I look when I am looking for answers to my questions…” Then, we get out of the way and let the Spirit do His thing!!