I tread somewhat carefully here in writing this for a couple reasons. One being that I may write some form of heresy, two that I not make my point that swirls in my head translate well enough onto typeface.
At some point in the recent past I was sitting with the Wife in a meeting with some fellow church members that had a role in mid level leadership. Trying to be a little vague here its not something that comes naturally to me.
As we all sat in a room discussing various matters the topic eventually leaned to discussing the people who fell under said leadership responsibilities. I was amazed to here statements like "How can we help them do better?", or "I just want them to get it, or at least have something get through." Again I'm paraphrasing to keep the guilty parties anonymous as much as possible. But the rest of the day I was bugged by those statements, and I wasn't really sure why. It finally hit me.
I think there are a vast majority of Christians who are Buddhists, and they don't know it. I'm not talking about California Vegans, who do yoga (which isn't bad for you), and like the Hippie version of Christ, and seek higher enlightenment. I'm talking about the A-typical conservative Christian soccer mom, football dad, American Idol watching crowd.
Here's the deal. The deal being my take on it.
Since that meeting I've listened to a lot of other Christians talk about living out a life of Christ with other Christians, especially those whom they in some capacity teach to. And routinely enough there are statements like "get it, help them to see, etc."
Now this bloggering isn't about Christians and Non-Christians, but Christian on Christian action.
Those statements reek of wanting the "lesser" Christian for lack of a better term to get higher enlightenment from the Christian experience. Hence the Buddhist part. This is were Christianity becomes a religion and stops being a faith.
But wait aren't we all supposed to strive to do better???
Well better in what way exactly. Be a better person? Sure I guess in that generic form of the statement. But here is the real scoop. The real story from a life inside Christ. As a Christian, you don't ever become a "better" person. Your lips still lie, your eyes still lust, you still have the desire to obtain physical things to make better your life. None of that goes away.
Christ didn't come to earth and have all of God's wrath taken out on him, or better yet have God turn His back on His own Son for us to become better or more enlightened, or so that we could "get it" what ever it is.
Christ's execution was to do one thing. Bridge a broken relationship between a Holy, which means perfect and infinite Creator and a completely imperfect person. But that is also where the message of salvation starts and ends. We as people do nothing...nothing...n-o-t-h-i-n-g to earn or get salvation from God. Jesus did that. Period.
Your actions, your moments of truth and clarity, your working at the Church, helping out a stranded motorist all good things, but they don't earn you into heaven. Because there is no earning God's favor.
Man has certain flaws, faults, impurites, limitations, and weakenesses that can not be over come. That is just the fact of the matter. You can not reach a higher level of being human, you can not become a demi-god if you do enough works or enough meditation.
Thus in order for a broken relationship between man and God to be restored there has to be Grace. Grace being this incredibly indispensable gift from God that restores and makes us right, i.e. perfect before God. And that is what Christ did.
You have to look at that and say one of two things. Yes or No. that's it. You either buy it or you don't.
History outside of the bible tells us that Jesus was a Rabbi (teacher) that taught his fellow man to love one another and to be kind to each other. To love your neighbor as yourself. Which is true He did say those very things.
But Jesus wasn't executed, walked to the modern equivalent of a electric chair, because He was preaching love. No Government kills Mr. Rogers, or Ned Flanders.
Jesus from the perspective of the man on the street some 2000 years ago was killed because He claimed to be God. Which was heresy amongst the Jews and punishable by death. Jesus was a Jew and knew Jewish law so in claiming to be God, He was fully aware of the consequences that lay in store for Him. Death. Death by suspension. Suspension from your wrists, until it killed you. Hours and hours of the worst agony imaginable. So in order to accept this. Jesus was either a man who was fundamentally insane and claimed to be something He was not or He was who He claimed to be. That's it. There is no third position, no additional arguments to be made. It was one of the two.
And through that is how man and God are unified. Our part is how we live our life yes, and making the decision to look at God an accept or reject Him. But there are no good Christians, or better Christians.
The man who accepted Christ at 15, the man at 28 who see's he needs God and finds himself on his knees at 2 o'clock on Tuesday, to the woman of 85 who spent her life rejecting God and now on her death bed sees that there is only Christ and a love and forgiveness that extends beyond time, and not a fire insurance policy are all equal to God. Their time reading God's word, doing good deeds or not all are equal to Him.
His Grace is sufficient.