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"After all, you can't be happy and Christian without certainty."This part has surprised me too. I don't have much certainty and yet I am so much happier. It is counter-intuitive, I guess.I am really enjoying reading about your journey. Love your writing style.IMHO, it really is all about the journey. And being on this journey with my fellow travellers, be they full of "fuzzy lines" or certainty, is quite the ecstatic experience.Ampersand
Julie,Outstanding. I love your writing. I look forward to seeing where this leads for you.
Glad you are happy!A lot easier to let things have their place when you don't make your own boxes for them to fit into.
As a Christian, the hardest part to swallow is the fact that we are taught that our loving God will send those to hell that do not believe in Jesus, when it is hard for many to believe the supernatural things that surround Jesus' life (virgin birth, miracles, walking around three days after his death). If I hadn't been born Christian, growing up with the history of Jesus' life, I'm not so sure I'd believe in Jesus myself. So why, when the stories in the bible seem so fantastic, and there are so many religions out there that get to the same place of God, will we go to Hell if we don't believe in Jesus? I just can't buy it anymore. I believe in Jesus, I believe in Him as my Savior, but I do not believe that God really means for non-believers to go to Hell. What if we all go to the same place regardless of our beliefs? What if we are the wrong ones, or what if nobody is right about what we are to believe in? Anything is possible. Thank you for your article.
I can see that your happy! :-)Susan
Hannah Whitall Smith wrote a book (published nearly 100 years ago), The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life. It is the same 'secret' revealed in 12-Step Programs and in many and various belief systems--surrendering to the God of one's understanding. The longer I live and the more folks I speak with and listen to, the more I realize we are all on a journey filled with uncertainty--whether we admit it or not. I realize I can be happy with or without certainty. Source, Higher Power, God, or Lord (whatever term one uses) is part of my process (I won't speak for others)--whether I'm 'sure' or unsure. Karen/Mom
Found your UPI column via Rick at A New Life Emerging...It's amazing how I'd never heard of Bonhoeffer until this month, yet now I keep seeing his name everywhere. Then again, I'm not a theologian by any stretch.God would have us know that we must live as men who manage our lives without him. I see so much wisdom in these words -- they quite eloquantly express one of my frustrations with many religious Christians I've encountered: they seem to refuse to take responsibility for their own lives. Yes, God's there to look out for us, but it's also up to us to create our life for him to look after it, I think.Great stuff. How often will you post columns?Off to peruse your blog...someday, I might actually get back to posting to mine (oops).
I write for UPI once per week and they come out on Thursdays. I will usually post a link from this blog too so that if people want to discuss, they can. You can read my other articles by scrolling down the columnists tab at the top of the UPI page (I have to use my down arrow key because holding the mouse and scrolling doesn't work in Firefox).Glad you dropped in Allison. Bonhoeffer is my favorite. I am writing my MA thesis on his writings.Julie
Hi Crissi.There is a theologian by the name of John Hicks who puts forward an idea that is similar to what you describe. He says that the religions are not more similar than they are different, but are in fact radically different from each other. This difference may be manifest even in our destinations after death.I have only just scratched the surface of his writings but I have found his thinking challenging.A book that deals with how Christians think about the world religions and salvation that is excellent is Introducing Theologies of Religion by Paul Knitter. I've taken a comparative religious ethics course with him and find his thinking really helpful on this topic. That book was a watershed moment in my faith. I highly recommend it.
Rick, thanks for linking to my column/blog! I love reading yours. You ask great questions.
Mom, I don't know if you remember, but I edited one of John Wimber's books which was all about Hannah Whitall Smith's book. I have read it. I remember one of the funny things that happened after Wimber preached a series on that book - he got in trouble for using a writer who was a universalist with regard to salvation.The book I edited/ghostwrote for him never went to publication (the only one of four I worked on with him that didn't get published). It was my favorite of the four, but the Vineyard was afraid of the theological implications. Ironic.
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