Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Grasping Forward

I’m trying to decide. Maybe you can help.

I told a friend, it’s like grasping in the dark. I don’t even know what questions to ask. I’m just trying to get a sense of what’s in the room. I’m feeling around for ANYTHING.

In this case, for me it starts with figuring out what Jesus really means when he says, “Go. Sell everything you have. Give the money to the poor.” I don’t want to rationalize it away. I mean to take it seriously, but I need to know whether Jesus means it literally or figuratively.

Strangely, those who would stereotypically take it literally are not the fundamentalists (that is, the literalists). Instead it’s the churches often most at odds with fundamentalists who would turn out to be the literalists with Jesus’ words here. The fundamentalists would affirm this Jesus’ command, but would then quickly prioritize so many other things ahead of it and argue that spiritual needs are much more important, that they would effectively squeeze out a literal obedience to meeting the needs of the poor. I know it. That’s where I’ve lived. That’s where I’m coming from.

But now I’m in between, looking both ways, seeing both sides, and feeling torn. So I’m trying to decide. For me, this is the next step into deeper obedience, renewed faithfulness. That’s why I need to answer the question and resolve the issue.

Maybe the answer isn’t either/or—literal versus figurative. Maybe it’s both. That’s a good likelihood. So then, it’s important to determine which one is most important now. Maybe for me specifically, or maybe for us as Christians in a flat global village, or maybe for us in the western suburbs.

I’m trying to decide. Maybe you can help.

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