Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Language of Sinners and The Language of Saints

It is Lent! Yes, we are knee deep into the 40 days in the desert and I am tired and frustrated and borderline despair. I just wrapped up a discussion over at Father Mark Harris's PRELUDIUM" blog with "YBIC, Phil."

I really should know better. I write and he mis-reads, somewhat intentionally, as he describes. We do not speak the same language and I am coming to the conclusion I speak the language of the sinner and Phil (and most of his friends and neighbors) speak the language of saints. Now, before one jumps to conclusions I am not trying to be disparaging, though it may seem that way. Phil and his bunch speak from a position of commanding attention. They use the commandments like they know them and can keep them. I speak the language of Matthew and Peter, I am never quite sure of my position and I need to continue to search until I find the right answers. I envy them to some extent, they seem to have the right answers. I only wish I could so readily and easily accept those same answers.

The Phil bunch talks of covenants - making them and keeping them. I am leery of covenants because I know I am human and I am unconvinced that I could keep one if I made one. The Phil bunch talks of those who should be shunned, or better, who need to make peace with their God before they can break bread with each other. I am willing to break bread with everyone and then talk about who should be shunned or not.

I speak a language that is apparently imprecise. I do not know all that the Bible has revealed but I am working on it. The Phil group look to the Bible as the LAW and I look to the Bible as a love poem between me and my God. I am willing to interpret and reinterpret the Bible as I grow and live. I do not hear that from the Phil group.

I am willing to exchange the peace and share the table with everyone because every time I pass a beggar on the streets and do not give something I am scared that I have just passed up Christ on the road to Emmaeus. I do not hear that from Phil and his group. They seem to be convinced that there are people set to just not get to heaven. Buddhists, Jainists, Shintoists, all sorts because they are different and do not follow "the formula". I am just not that sure -- really.

Finally, my world view is that of a sinner. I know cannot live up to all the commandments and I rely solely on Jesus and his sacrifice to save me. As a result I look to others as I would have them look to me. I am not a saint and I know I cannot get there without the Savior. But by the same token, I cannot say that about anyone else nor would I. My sinner's language tells me that God is all powerful and as soon s I try to limit God by way of who has the formula, who gets into heaven, who goes to hell, who I break bread with and who I make peace with I shrink that God. As a sinner, I cannot do that. As a sinner I better not do that, I need the largest, greatest biggest, most magnificent God I can get!

The long and the short of it is some of us do not speak the same language. I am coming to the conclusion I do not live in the same world, certainly not in the same desert.

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