Someone sent me a cartoon showing a little boy asking his teacher in Sunday school, “Why did God have to send himself down to earth to become his own son to sacrifice himself to himself just to convince himself to forgive us?”
This is my exact feeling about the theology of the church. It just doesn’t make any sense in the twenty-first century.
My process of deconstruction and reconstruction has taken me about sixty-five years. When I worked for the institutional church, I had to abide by its rules, or I wouldn’t receive my paycheck, so my critical thinking skills were on hold.
Because I haven’t worked for the church since 1975, I have been free to critically think about the church and its theology.
The concept of God is a human construct. The idea of God is not a bad one—most of the time. Innocently, the day I made the connection that God is Creation, I was deconstructing my faith.
Fortunately, science and space exploration (above earth and below) have reinforced my thinking. Scientists have not found heaven, God’s mansions, Pearly Gates, hell, and so on, and they never will.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, with this reconstruction, almost all the theology of the church disappeared. In retrospect, so much of it just doesn’t make sense anyway.
With that distraction out of the way, I could see clearly not only a pathway to viewing Jesus as a fellow human being with a rich message about how to lead a rich and fulfilling life but also a road map of what I had to do as a Follower every day when I got out of bed. No more Immaculate Conceptions, Virgin Birth’s, Son of God, Blessed Mother Mary, and so much foolishness the church pretends is real.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:12 (his “love” letter) began to make sense: “For now we see in a mirror dimly (before deconstruction), then we can see face to face (very clearly) . . . and know in full.” What do I know in full? Agape is what Jesus is all about.
Agape is simple to say but takes a lifetime to learn how to do well because it demands the following:
- Unconditional love—Our prejudices, biases, and preconceived notions are nullified and we have to accept everyone as they are, no matter where they are on their life’s journey.
- Forgiveness—We have to forgive ourselves and others almost instantaneously and move on. To not do this can destroy our lives.
- Caring—We must spend a lifetime taking care of ourselves and others.
And this is what my new book, How to Make Love (the Agape Kind) with Jesus, is all about. My book will be out in August (you can preorder it now).
Peace Love Joy Hope
Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash