The latest issue of Next-Wave e-zine online mag is out with a thought-provoking cover story ‘Could I become a Christian?’ If you’re like me, you may relate to part if not all of Ryan’s story:
“. . . I was raised a Christian, that is, God exists as some white bearded guy reclining in the clouds. He’s all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. He created all that exists, he needs 10% of your monthly income, and used to really like the smell of burning meat, but has since given it up (except in certain rarified circumstances). God, when he finally decides (his coming has been eminent for some time now apparently), will punish all those who decided not to obey him by casting them in a lake of fire, in which they will burn forever and ever. And those who obeyed him will bask in his glory forever and ever in some vague place that is supposed to contain ultimate bliss. . . .”
Read the rest of the story here.
I find his idea of a God who has evolved perhaps a bit off-centre, yet in my own understanding, I have come to see the concept of God as having evolved through the millennia (as McLaren brings out in ‘The God Question’ part of A New Kind of Christianity).
I resonate with this part of the story, a quote from Cornel West:
“To be human is to suffer, shudder and struggle courageously in the face of inevitable death. To think deeply and wisely as a human being is to meditate on and prepare for death. The quest for human wisdom requires us to learn how to die–penultimately in the daily death of bad habits and cruel viewpoints and ultimately in the demise of our earthly and temporal bodies. To be human, at the most profound level, is to counter honestly the inescapable circumstances that constrain us, yet muster the courage to struggle compassionately for our own unique individualities and for more democratic and free societies. This courage contains the seeds of lived history–of memory, maturity and melioration–in the face of no guaranteed harvest. Hence, my view of what it means to be human is preeminently existential–a focus on particular, singular, flesh-and-blood persons grappling with dire issues of death, dread, despair, disease and disappointment. Yet I am not an existentialist like the early Sartre, who had a systematic grasp of human existence. Instead, I am a Chekhovian Christian who banks his all on radical–not rational–choice and on the courage to love enacted by a particular Palestinian Jew named Jesus, who was crucified by the powers that be, betrayed by cowardly comrades and misconstrued by corrupt churches that persist, and yet is remembered by those of us terrified and mesmerized by the impossible possibility of his love.”
By the way, Next-Wave e-zine has a number of interesting regular contributions and features each issue. Check out the contents of the current issue as well as their archives.