|Here is a picture of a fuzzy caterpillar I found on my house. It has nothing to do with anything in this post. He's so fluffy, I'm gonna die!|
Because, um. Yes. That is exactly how I feel: "Why not just be a Jesus follower, and leave all the craziness in the church behind?" And his answer sort of floored me. And this part of it made me laugh out loud: "That obviously presupposes that any reason for being a Christian is that you don't go to hell when you die. Surely nobody who is actually a Christian would consider that as remotely an attractive view point. If you're really a Christian, is it only about getting out of hell? I mean, crap on a stick is all I can think to say to that." Because, um. That seemed like the whole point of being a Christian growing up. Not going to hell and/via not having premarital sex. Right? But regarding church, he says God's purpose is to build community; so being a Christian and not being part of a church community is sort of meaningless. And I was like, what? I thought going to church was like a punishment, not the point, of Christianity? Like a form of atonement. Like fasting. It sucks but you have to do it sometimes to be a part of the not-going-to-hell club. I had never considered it as, instead of a condition of Christianity, kinda the whole point of it. Huh? Weird.
...the question I get asked most as a universalist (and one that you did address in your book to some extent) is this: if everyone will ultimately be saved, why bother being a Christian? I'm not even entirely sure how to process this question, because my first inclination is to respond that, if the removal of the threat of hell eliminates all motivation for following Jesus, then we have a serious problem. At the same time, though, I don't really have an answer for folks who say, "Well then why not just be a good person, even try to live like Jesus, but not bother with Christianity?" Quite frankly, as an LGBT person in the church, I'm beginning to see the appeal of this approach. Why not just be a Jesus follower, and leave all the craziness in the church behind? I'm not sure this is exactly a question, but any thoughts on this would be great.
Anyway, this church is way across town from my house. But I might just have to give it a try.