One of the problems I see happening across the board is that God, Jesus, the Spirit, and the Scriptures are being co-opted by all sides. You read almost any book, study any denomination, listen to any preacher, understand the attitude of any church... and on a broader scale, study the underlying attitude of any country, religion or race and you will see that the habit of co-opting the divine and the scriptures to support their existence, identity, meaning and agenda. We all do it. We all do what is right in our own eyes. Therefore, our consciences are clear. I believe that, for the most part, no matter what someone does, they do it sincerely. We do not want to be wrong, immoral, unethical or sinful. So we use the divine or the scripture to support our positions and our opinions. We use scripture to justify and excuse ourselves. Even when we know we are thinking or doing something wrong, we justify it for a greater good or end. This is the significant problem that Paul faced in the Roman church who believed, because God obviously still blesses us after we sin, that it must be okay. They ran to the logical conclusion that God's grace, so abundant where there is sin, must be even more abundant where there is more sin. This is true, but they used this to rewrite their history. We do it all the time. When we see God's good following our sin, we leap to the conclusion that this somehow not only exonerates our sin but blesses it and justifies it. The Roman heresy is our heresy! "Look! I realize I committed adultery and left my wife for another woman. But now she's happily remarried and has a new family, and now I'm happily remarried with a new family. So God has blessed it. It's actually GOOD that this has happened, because we now have two happy families instead of one unhappy one!" Or when a church was started out of our church because of an ugly, divisive and painful split: "Now there are two churches instead of one. It's is GOOD that this has happened!" I believe that is heresy. It is using the free gift of grace to permit us to sin. This, in my opinion, is dangerously misguided but rampantly common. What I look for are people who treat the scriptures as fundamentally critical of humanity and its agenda. They see the scripture like a two-edged sword that cuts through to the marrow and undermines all our pretensions, prides, prejudices and plans. Indeed, this is what the cross stands for: the perpetual sabotaging of human endeavor. Does it not? Instead of what we see today: the manipulation of the cross for our own ends and the constant exploitation of scripture to defend our selfish attitudes and ways and make ourselves look good. This is why I think scripture is best understood by the poor, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the suffering, the self-acknowledged sinners, and those who have no plans to change the world and are powerless to do so... in a word, the meek.

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