Monday, September 15, 2008

Liberal

I don't want to be a conservative anymore. I'll leave the gate-keeping to Peter, and the watch-dogging to the AFA; I'll let the political circus run its tour, and weed out the 'lesser of two evils' (or as one columnist recently said, 'the evil of two lessers').

What I won't do is conserve.

Conserving is for my job-depleted, fuel-depleted, moral-depleted, eco-friendly nation. It is their approach to life consumed by the fear of scarcity. It can also be the way of religion. Their food is biblical truth--their fuel the Spirit of God. But God is not scarce. He is unlimited, renewable, and does not need to be plugged in at night for a full charge.

Jesus did not conserve His life; He poured it out and God raised Him. Paul did not conserve his life; he poured it out and God continued to fill him. This is living liberally. A liberal does not save the best for last.

The words of Annie Dillard are appropriate:

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

God fills from every direction. And he fills better and faster when the vessel has made room.

2 comments:

Jay said...

I never thought of it that way. Wow.

Thanks Tim!

epistemaniac said...

sounds good.... sounds cool... sounds hip, trendy even... sounds oh so politically correct, but, unfortunately, failure to "keep the gates" is failure to be obedient to the Scripture.... we are to test all things, prove all things.... we are to judge those within the church, even.... gasp.... exercise church discipline if necessary, and most obviously, we should be able to judge the beliefs (are their beliefs true or false? that is to say, are their beliefs biblical?) of those who are outside of the church (that is at least part of the reason why someone is outside of the church!!!), or, worse, for those who claim to be within the church, but who are being heretical (yes, I used the "h" word!! lol) and teaching false doctrines, trying to introduce false gospels... or, say for instance, those persons who deny the central tenets of the Christian faith, and who are not therefore Christians. Sound harsh? Is that gate keeping? Hopefully. If it sounds harsh, it wasn't in the time of Christ, though in our day of rampant pluralism "you believe what you want to believe and so will I, you and I can believe anything we want ... lets just not EVER say that the other wrong!"... that's the last taboo..... Jesus Himself was quite bold in being a gatekeeper, it was quite simple, deny Him, and you were condemned. "But that's Jesus, and we are not Jesus".... true, but Jesus left us the Scriptures, which is, after all, His word, which in turn bears His authority, and which we in turn are to use for our edification, but we are not to be navel gazers, the Word also pertains to the external edification of the church, and it is not edifying to the body to not care if there are wolves in amongst the sheep. We are to be on the lookout for false christs, for false teachers, and we are supposed to more concerned with protecting the flock than with hurting the feelings of those who are teaching false doctrine, even if it would be easier and less offensive to do so, and we must say so even to those who would abandon their posts, to those who are supposed to be shepherding and protecting their flock. The problem is the thinking that is either/or.... either we must be a gatekeeper OR we do not conserve.... is there any reason that we cannot give our lives away, and still follow the biblical mandate to watch for those teaching false doctrine, which deny the very Christ we are supposed to be honoring? Further, its stigmatizing, its poisoning the well, to suggest that those who are following THEIR consciences by "gatekeeping" are therefore, automatically NOT giving their all. Those who feel called and led of God to be "gatekeepers" are fulfilling these very words "the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive." So we feel it is shameful to NOT be gatekeepers, for we have learned in the Scriptures that there are false gospels, false christs, and false teachers, and if we are to beware of such things, surely we have to be able identify them... to know a false christ from the one true Christ, to know the true gospel from a false gospel, to know a true teacher from a false one... we feel it is destructive AND dishonoring to Christ to allow persons to fellowship in good standing with the body of Christ and to harm the faith of Christ's little ones.