how things really are

I need to tell you something. Someone recently asked how I can feel so connected to atheists, agnostic, backsliders, sinners, Jews, Buddhists, and so on. It’s because at the root of my theology, my thoughts about God and life, is the belief that, somehow, Jesus is the center of all things. Somehow, even though I can’t see it, nor can they, I am connected to all people through Jesus and that all people are somehow connected to me through Jesus, no matter where we are spiritually, theologically, religiously, denominationally, racially, sexually, intellectually, socially… whatever! I see us all like planets orbiting around Jesus. Some seem close, only to be flung into outer space for a time. Some seem far away, only to be pulled close suddenly. In the universe of all things, he is the center.

And this is why I see church the way I do. I automatically think the church should reflect, not this possibility, but this reality! This is why I struggle for unity in diversity. Not because I want some lovey-dovey community feeling, but because this is how things really are. “In him all things hold together” (Colossians 1: 17).

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18 Replies to “how things really are”

  1. an arabic concept is “sanctity of contact”, that those we meet and touch, we are connected with those people in a sacred eternal way…

    and us agnostic, aetheists,buddhist backsliders liars homosexual thieves, drunks and jewish junkies appreciate spiritual people who are accepting of the positions we presently occupy without receiving judgement.

    Some may have chosen a life of difficulty and waywardness to help others seek more clearly- as some who go through painful divorces allow others to see how working at marriage is prefereable.

  2. The thing is: who is “in” and who is “out”? Who are the “spiritual” people, and who are the “sinners”? Later in Colossians, Paul says, “It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teacing everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (1:29). We are all on a journey to maturity in relation to Christ.

  3. This fact that you just expressed is a reflection of mine. Salvation is far greater than we can imagine because of the centrality of Jesus. It or rather HE encompasses everything we see and cannot see. If ,as He says,we ARE salt and light,then simply being in contact with a person,has an effect.Along the line, verbal expression is required. Again ,it is not us ,but Him. He permiates everything.

  4. Can you define ‘connected’ David? That’s a great word but sometimes full of so many shades of meaning that we may end up talking apples and oranges.

    Jesus and the Father are connected.
    Jesus and his Church are connected.
    The body of Christ is connected to each part.
    Is that the same ‘connected’ I share with my wiccan friend?

  5. Good question Brian. Thanks. What I try to do is view things from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. In other words, if we take such things as points of agreement, practice, feelings, etc., as the determining factors in what constitutes the true connection between you and your Wiccan friend, then the connection is lost. However, if we take the concept that all things are reconciled to God in Christ seriously, and that even though we can’t perceive it, somehow all things and people are subject to Christ (Hebrews 2:8), then the connection is maintained. I think if we work from the first idea, which most do, alienation is inevitable. If we work from the last idea, then great things may happen.

  6. ha ha Sandy.. I thot the same thing.. too funny.

    David, I love what you said about there being unity in the midst of diversity. Is it possible?? As for who is “in” and who is “out”? Who are the “spiritual” people, and who are the “sinners”? That is a question that has been at the forefront of my mind for a year and a half now. How can we even answer this.. in our own humanness… how can we say who qualifies and who doesn’t. Yes the Bible says that they will know you are a Christian by your love…. wow that removes a whole lot of people in my mind … hmmmm….

  7. hey Joni, i think the “Who is “in” Who is “Out”?” question is supposed to lead us to realize that there is no “in” or “out”- just different paths.

    We are linked to the same centre. No one is really removed from the conection with Jesus, we just judge one another in a way that God doesn’t. Remember that if you are removing people in your mind from their connection of God… God doesn’t put anyone “out”.

  8. Everyone sucks at it Dave. An “enemy” is somebody who hates and seeks to harm or cause trouble for somebody else. So who takes that pleasantly? You don’t need to ask for prayer about that. Jesus didn’t say, “I’ll pray that you’ll be able to love those who hate you”, or “I’ll pray for you that you’ll be able to bless those who curse you”, or “I’ll pray for you, that you’ll be able to do good to those who revile you”. He just said to do it. It doesn’t mean you have to enjoy it or that it won’t suck.

  9. Thanks for the encouragement Dave. I really love Col. 1:17, In HIM ALL things hold together. ALL THINGS!

  10. I hate to be the wet blanket, and maybe it’s just a matter of defining terms rather than a difference in ideas, but Jesus did define in and out not in and in. I think He’s mainly concerned with us chosing for ourselves whether we’re in or out rather than judging someone else in or out but he was pretty emphatic about it.

    In the larger context we share a common origin but our chosen paths take us further from that common centre or nearer as life goes by. There’s room at the table for everyone and everyone gets the same invitation but not everyone bothers to come to the feast.

  11. I love and respect you Dave, but please help me or anyone else who reads this. I don’t get this. This sounds like politically correct talk. It sounds like “whatever is ok for you is ok” like a new age friend said. Jesus died for everyone for sure. I have friends of different faiths and walks of life, but as Jesus died for the muslims, atheists, satanists and everyone else, didn’t he say we have a choice to make? “You are either for me or against me.” Just because we love a god, even the atheists do, does that mean we don’t have to tell people they will be lost and go to hell without having given Jesus their hearts? God does not force himself or heaven on anyone. Please clarify what you mean because this is too important to just bundle up in a nice fussy blanket.

  12. I see the who’s “in” and who’s “out” simply as a dualistic worldview. Dualism is one of the main obstacles that the institutional church has placed in front of non-church people. It creates and “us” and “them” mentality.
    Salvation is supposed to be worked out daily, not a package deal for a trip down the alter.

    I wonder how many non-church people are seekers of the truth (truth being Jesus, although they may not know his given name as of yet) and are destined for eternity in God’s presence.

  13. I agree with the working out our salvation daily.
    Do you think alter calls and missionaries are obsolete?
    Are people of all faiths and beliefs entitled to Christ and heaven as long as they are seeking something and worshipping some god? I have read the New Age bible and it is scary to see how it is largely based on our bible but re-written to fit all faiths.. Jesus is a star, no mention of his blood etc.
    I guess I need to be spoon fed, no more fussy ideologies, please someone get to the point!

  14. Hi Anne,
    My experience has been, in regards to talking about God (theology), that answers and absolutes have slowly given way to questions and discovery. Do you think that your word fussy could be replaced with the word mystery?
    My best, Kari

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