What is your only comfort?

Urban God-talk for the church-o-phobic.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sharing Jesus

After the Dalai Lama delivered a lecture, a member of the audience asked him what the answer to world hunger is. He responded "Sharing" (quoted in Red Eye).

I imagine that this question and response centered around the notion of physical hunger, but upon further reflection, it also applies to spiritual hunger as well. Why is it that many "people of faith" refuse to share God with others? It isn't just about evangelism, but even more so about dogma. Often times we insist that our brand of Christianity, whether evangelical, fundamentalist, progressive or whatever, is the one way to have faith in Christ. Without allowing space for other voices to speak, we preach that it is our way or the highway.

No one likes to share Jesus. As Anne LaMott points out "If the God you believe in hates all the same people you do, then you know you've created God in your own image." Instead of hating others, we are called to love one another as God loves us.

I'll be the first to admit that this isn't an easy thing to do. Sometimes Christians can hurt one another so badly, say such horrible things and do such merciless acts, that I just want to crawl up in a ball and disappear away from the church. But then, when I come to my senses, I realize that each one of us has a right to our own understanding of God - even when that understanding is radically different from the one I have.

It's when we insist that God only loves people who look like us, think like us, or act like us that we fall into the trap of hoarding. When we hoard the Gospel, or God or Christ, we may inadvertently keep others from fulfilling their own spiritual hunger. I have been told countless times by individuals that they don't feel safe or welcomed in church because of what they think Christians supposedly believe. One of my friends has a history of hyperventilating just when he passes a church.

The spiritual damage that we unknowingly inflict when we beat our Bibles and demand that we know exactly who and what God is and who and what God loves is monumental - and it is sinful. Perhaps the Dalai Lama is right - sharing may be the key to eradicating spiritual hunger.


At 10:34 PM, Blogger Troy said...

Good points, Ann. I would also add that "creating God in our image" is a form of idolatry. It's part of what got us into trouble in the first place; we think that we can be God or at the very least we think we can know God without mystery. It's these attempts to cram the divine into a box that always seem to be getting us into trouble, and I would venture that the church often sees revival when God busts out of our boxes and becomes something to people that we never expected God to be.

Thanks for the post.


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