Sometimes I have thoughts that ruminate in my thinking for a long time before they gel into a more cohesive paradigm. This blog reflects such a thought.
It starts by considering the difference between “goodness” and “badness.”
The confusion over this issue has created some problems in our culture, especially in relation to how “church goers” are conditioned to relate to the rest of the world. Meaning that the common message is that the world is bad, and that Christian people should be good and distinct from badness, and thus the church becomes known for everything it is against.
So this got me thinking about the reasons I eventually had to leave the cultural church. The reason is that even the best church delivery systems only work based on the following fundamental premise:
“Nearly everything you have ever done is wrong. Your motives, your actions, your outcomes. But if you give your heart to Jesus, and join our system, he will change all that around and you will begin doing everything right.”
I don’t believe this is true. For starters, it’s not accurate. It’s also not observable by looking at the church system.
Instead, I believe the following premise is much more biblical:
“Nearly everything you have ever done is right as far as you could tell. You didn’t turn aside and go after wrong things, you were actually pursuing the right thing, but in the wrong way. Following Jesus will enable you to get both the means and the end you are seeking, but not how you imagine it.”
For many fundamentalist, this idea is way too loose, because they believe a person is corrupt to the core. But this begs the question: “How can a person be corrupt to the core with out first being good to the core?” Goodness must be present if it will ever be spoiled into badness.
But I don’t believe we do bad things! (Now don’t get your knickers in a twist, let me explain.)
We don’t do bad things, we go after good things badly.
The greedy businessman was pursuing financial independence (a good thing), but did so by hurting and neglecting others.
The addict was pursuing physical pleasure (a good thing), but the excess destroyed him.
The lier was seeking approval (a good thing), but couldn’t see that people don’t approve of dishonesty.
The church system is so toxic, it only functions by convincing people to not be bad. It requires a straw-man belief that the world is evil, sinful, and something God hates, when the bible says the opposite. The church teaches that sin is the opposite of virtue, when in reality it is the opposite of Faith.
So church-goers are often tormented with their badness, and they live their lives trying to separate themselves from all that goes in that junk drawer. It’s a life of fear. It’s a silent oppression that is imposed by the system. It keeps them focused on another world where they can be free of the badness. It’s a faith of escape.
But if we can reset the compass, then maybe true North isn’t the farthest place from badness, but our badness is necessary so it can be correctly employed into greatness.
I believe that is something the world would like to hear.