(Note: The views expressed in this blog are entirely my own. They are fluid, subject to change over time, and quite possibly entirely wrong. I tend to disagree with myself on a regular basis. However, at this time of writing, I suspect that I am right. Feel free to build on my opinion, disregard it, or disagree; just be polite in the process – DEREK)
have to be honest, I’ve started and stopped work on today’s post probably ten times already. I wanted to write something to distance myself from the offensive parade of strident religious voices that have been spewing junk-theology, judgment, confusion, and lies about God – yet again – but then I hit “delete,” unable to bring myself to give the subject the time of day.
I’m in a quandary, so I guess I’ll just write my way through it and let the chips fall where they may.
GOD BANNED FROM SCHOOL? This is a response to the sentiments expressed by conservative “Christian” radio host Bryan Fischer (American Family Association) and others that,“God could have protected the victims of this massacre (Newtown), but didn’t because God is not going to go where he is not wanted….”
But, I want us to be clear on this, GOD HAS NEVER BEEN FORCED OUT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
The assertion God has been effectively expelled from school is a lie, a distortion that attempts to play on people’s fears and emotions in the wake of another horrifying tragedy. Don’t believe it; stop passing on those ridiculous emails; and please don’t buy the lie that God is that calloused, or that easily manipulated.
TIPPING POINT: So I think I’ve reached a tipping point when it comes to holding hands and singing “Kum-bah-ya” around the Christian campfire. The bottom line, for me, is this growing realization that, sometimes, I’m not sure we’re even talking about the same God anymore.
You see, I honestly don’t recognize the religion these people are pushing. I am a disciple of Jesus; I call myself a “Jesus-Follower,” and I invest the majority of my creativity and my writing life to further my commitment to be what the 1st Century believers referred to as “A Follower of The Way.”
It is my joy to talk about Jesus and to invite others to follow him too, and it’s my prayer that these posts contribute something to your journey – as a challenge, as an encouragement, or as an inspiration.
TIME TO DRAW THE LINE: If I were to be classified under any resource heading, I’d like it to be “Derek Maul: Contemporary Christian Thinker.”
So today, after years of thinking, conversation, and writing in this area, it’s time to say I believe there’s a clear distinction between “Following The Way of Jesus” and the fundamentalist hard-line religion espoused by the folk who like to leverage tragic events (such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings) by blaming them on people who disagree with their narrow interpretations of scripture.
I don’t know the God they’re talking about. And I think it’s important that those who are curious about becoming followers of Jesus, or who want to understand more about this “Life-Charged Life,” are clear that I’m not even remotely on the same page.
TRY JESUS: Jesus’ invitation is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind;” and to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said everything else that’s important “hangs on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).
And Jesus makes this promise, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28). That is so true; it’s true in my experience, and I know it’s true in our public schools.