Not such a bad idea
By Ian Robinson
I have been thinking about ‘bad ideas’ lately. A few decisions I regret, some jobs too hard for me, some commitments on which I think I over reached myself. And some public debates that are pathetic and so they are going nowhere. Bad ideas. To make the depression complete I started thinking about why people don’t want to engage with Jesus, even though I think it would be brilliant idea.
Some say that the suffering of the world points to a pathetic god or no go at all. If that is a statement about the Christian God, why are there so many Christians doing so much about suffering and at such cost to themselves in the name of that God? When we turn to accuse God of doing not very much about the suffering, he can turn around and say: “That’s exactly my question – what are you doing about your neighbour?” Maybe it was statement about santa claus or myself.
Some say that the paedophile scandals and the caught-in-the-act evangelists (add in your own horror story here) are proof that Christianity doesn’t actually work. If that is a statement about Christianity, why are church services every Sunday commenced with confession of sin? If we turn to the church and say “you are full of hypocrisy”, the answer is “We know, we all are. It is the single biggest problem that we are sent here to address.” Maybe it was a statement about arrogance in an organisation, but the church has no freehold on that one.
Some say that the evidence for the existence for God is weak and no proof exists. If that is statement about the Christian God, what could possibly count as proof? This statement is best seen as a sudden realisation that no discipline runs without a set of assumptions and axioms that define it, and which cannot be proved from within it. Even “1+1=2” needs some qualifiers and statement of assumptions, as in this geek joke: “There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand Binary and those who don’t.” The knowledge we have of God is no different to the knowledge we have of anything, so here’s to lifelong learning.
Some say that that the cost of becoming a Christian is too high. On two counts, it is unjust to be forgiven, and the behaviour and attitude adjustments are enormous. Money, time, sex, humility, community, justice – where will it end? On the other hand that’s the very thing that makes me smile – yes I go free, yes it is amazing, yes I can live with that sort of grace. And yes, like any good decision in life it is going to cost me and its going to be worth it.
Can you see from all this above why I think this is not such a bad idea. I get to connect with a loving and non-judgemental God, and am sent into a hurting world to address hypocrisy, injustice and suffering. In the process, I get changed, challenged and healed. And I am not alone. I am part of a very faulty human movement called ‘the church’ that accomplishes amazing things, bats well above its weight, and which falls flat on its face regularly. I can belong to that; I couldn’t belong to a perfect organisation, as in the joke by the brilliant Groucho Marx: ‘I would not want to join any organisation that would accept me as a member.” What else is going to make a difference, to me or anyone else? Politics? Fame? Facebook?