I was an atheist… a dabbling buddhist… and an analytical philosphy student… all before I found faith in God. That story is interesting, but longer than the time and space here (I’d be happy to share it if anyone is interested)
Hopefully, many folks reading are a little skeptical, or from another faith background, or just trying to find out a little bit about what faith means. For these folks, if I were to say to you the standard, traditional, Christian line: “Jesus died for your sins so that you may have eternal life as long as you profess faith in him as Lord” you might get that icky feeling so many people get: it sounds intolerent, it sounds judgmental… and those who say it are liable to be hypocritical… and what the heck does ‘Lord’ and ‘profess faith’ and ‘sin’ really mean.
Back in the day when Acts was written (we are in chapter 13 again) that traditional phrase was cutting edge… and it didn’t have any of the baggage it has today. In fact, despite the tension of the times… people asked to hear all about it:
on the sabbath day [Paul and Barnabas] went into the synagogue and sat down. After the reading of the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of teaching for the people, give it.
The rest of the chapter is the story of God’s incredible work and promises fulfilled throughout history (up until that time of course).
If we just had a better way to talk about faith in God… the role that Jesus played 2000 years ago, and what it means for us today in Barnegat (or wherever) I think, together, we could get past the judgementalism, intolerance, and hypocrisy. We could actually make that message cutting edge again!
Let’s do that over the next couple of days.