God-o-Meter Today

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This week I’ve sensed a faith resurgence, so I’ve kept a little quiet. It’s always in direct correlation to how angry I am with God one minute and how “chastened” I feel the next. Today’s God-o-Meter measures about 0.7 on the scale above. Why? I’m not sure. Perhaps because I picked up a bible the other day and turned to Romans 4 and 5. Or maybe it’s because all events are conducive to faith right now. You know those serendipitous moments I’m always talking about, when everything I see and hear is about a certain topic? Guess which topic I’ve heard everywhere lately? Yup, you guessed it–forgiveness. (And, the distinction between forgiveness and pardon).

On morning radio, I heard powerful interviews of the parents of that shooter at Youth With a Mission in Colorado and the parents who lost two daughters in that same shooting. Both were sitting in the same studio, right next to each other, and offering comfort to the other. Amazing. It seems that Christians can forgive each other in horrendous circumstances, but cannot seem to forgive the neighbor in the pew next to them who commits adultery. They can forgive spree killers, but cannot forgive someone who is addicted to pornography. Why is that? Why is there more forgiveness for the massive wrongs, but very little for the personal ones? And it’s not even as if those who are sinning (adultery, pornography, gossip, lying) are harming their neighbor in the pew in any way at all. Some of these are private sins. Yet when Christians are honest, expose their struggles, and seek help from a congregation, they are most times completely ostracized rather than rehabilitated through grace (as in Ted Haggard‘s case). Why is it then that there is no distinction between a BIG sin and a little sin (among Protestants anyway) –that there is supposedly no scale of sin, that we create a scale anyway and measure everyone by it? But that’s another topic. I contend that it’s all just emotion and how we respond to sin in our lives and the lives of other people. It’s all about what we personally can tolerate.

Some say we should never base our faith on emotions or feelings this way, but in the case of faith and sin, I think that’s what everyone does. It’s ALL about how we feel at the moment. We come to Jesus with emotion and we castigate our fellow believers with the same emotion. In fact, I do not think it’s normal to base our whole lives on our intellect. We are not, at heart, intellectual creatures. Our intellect doesn’t get us out of bad situations. Our intellect doesn’t tell us who to marry. Our intellect doesn’t convince us of whether there is a God or not. In fact, most times our intellect is a hindrance to our safety when we think we can reason with criminals or the mentally unstable during an assault or personal crime. It’s equally a hindrance when we try to intellectually convince or castigate others in debate. You can try to convince me all day long that there is no outward evidence for this or that, but if my experience tells me otherwise, or if my heart warns or warms me, no amount of factual evidence will sway me. It’s just the nature of the beast. I tire of such “intellectual” arguments. That’s not how I operate most of the time. Perhaps if we all had a lot more love and acceptance of each other and much less certainty that we are intellectually “right,” we’d all get along much better. But I doubt that will happen.

Excuse me, now, while I put my pessimism glasses back on now.

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10 thoughts on “God-o-Meter Today

  1. I wonder if we don’t get into trouble whenever we separate intellect from emotion and for that matter, intuition from intellect? Rather then leaning towards seeing them as “separate”…why not see them as parts of a whole? Each informs the other.

    Just early morning ruminations.

  2. Interesting, I never thought about it before but there is a difference between forgiveness and pardon. Pardon appeals to the intellectual aspect of actions and consequences and forgiveness is the emotional aspect that allows us to pardon and accept a person once again with compassion. A very good contemplation for the day. Thanks.

  3. Zoe,

    Yes, I have a tendency to “separate” that probably isn’t necessary, but since a lot of other people do as well, I thought it best to categorize. Our hearts should inform our minds and vice-versa, but so often there is a disconnect; me included!

  4. Marge,

    Yes, the distinction escapes me sometimes, but pardon implies legality of an actions consequences and forgiveness implies a heartfelt empathy.

    You’re welcome. 🙂

  5. Maybe it depends on how much the small sins focus on sex? Because that does seem to dominate conservative Christian circles. Even look at the Religious Right. The two big hitters for them are tied to sex: abortion and homosexuality.

    Because I think if the small sins involved gluttony or pride, even those would be forgiven more easily than something big.

  6. OSS,

    Yes, fundies do seem obsessed with sexual sin. But these feel far inferior to the sin of murder, yet that is forgiven and sexual sin hardly ever is. Bizarre.

  7. Some years ago, I saw a Sunday morning panel program with a few liberal Christians, and a conservative evangelical – I think it was Dr. Dobson. One of the liberals said, “Whenever we try to talk to you people about what you perceive as sin, it always ends up being about sexual sin – primarily, these days, homosexuality.” Incredibly, Dobson denied it.

  8. cipher,

    HAHHAA! That’s rich. Dobson talks about it all the time. I tune in to his radio program on the way to work sometimes (hence hearing the above program) and they LOVE to blame everything on two things: The “Occult” and “the Homosexual Agenda.” I’ve never heard about anything else so much. Amazing the denial!

  9. Again, I think it was Dobson. In any case, you’re right – the denial is staggering. It always it.

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