D&D is short for Dogma and Doctrine, which reminds me of a riddle: Why don’t cats go to church? Too much dogma! (Shame on me!)
Watch what happens to most of the D&D when the theistic god of yesterday is promoted to encompass the entire universe. One can no longer think about a small Master Puppeteer but more in terms of a force that some call Creation or Ground of All Being. This force has no gender, sexuality, children, color, or religion. It’s simply there, everywhere, creating.
I have given up trying to define this force, which, for me, is indescribable.
Paul, Matthew, Luke, and John all lived in a tiered world, highly influenced by Greek culture, which seemed to have gods all over the place. It was easy for them to promote Jesus from itinerant teacher/preacher to the Messiah, the Son of God, or the Paschal Lamb who died for our sins. John, in his gospel, elevated Jesus to be God, since before the beginning (see John’s Prologue, John 1:1-18). All this happened in an eighty-year period. But today, we find folks suggesting that Jesus be demoted to simply a fellow human.
Here is the fallout to our D&D by demoting Jesus. First, we no longer have a Virgin Birth. (It’s an oxymoron.) Jesus now must have a human father, maybe Joseph. Probably not. The two birth stories now become metaphors, not history. Next goes the doctrine of an immaculate conception, the sinlessness of Mary. Mary now joins the ranks of sinners. She is no longer a virgin. Eradicating the cult of Mariology is going to be difficult, but Mary simply being a woman who had a baby certainly should help. Next, Jesus is going to lose all his titles. He is no longer the Son of God, the Paschal Lamb, the Messiah, the Son of Man, the Lamb of God, the propitiation for our sins, and on and on. He is simply one of us—with a lot of charisma. It’s this human Jesus with whom I identify, despite all his “warts.”
Next to go is the Trinity, my personal hair shirt. I’ll never have to preach or teach about it again.
With the eradication of the tiered world goes the fantasy of heaven, hell, purgatory, pearly gates, and the gate keeper, Saint Peter. Gone are “report cards” sharing every misdeed in our life, long lines of souls waiting for a decision, judgment, and a bunch of lousy jokes.
At long last, all the ancient creeds will go in the trash can of history.
Since we have promoted god to be a force, we can now return the Bible (the world’s best seller, which hardly anyone reads) to its rightful authors, our fellow human beings who had a point of view. Because we have human writers, we can now state—without being stuck by lightning—that sections of it are boring, it’s full of contradictions, and some things are just plain wrong.
It is also full of great truths, and some sections never fail to inspire.
Let’s look at what is called the Kingdom of God which, for many, is “pie in the sky in the great bye and bye.” Now, take out the first “g,” put in a hyphen, and we have the Kin-dom of Creation, which is here and now, driven by the Spirit of Agape.
Prayer is no longer a shopping list for NoOne UpThere to do for us—it becomes our marching orders so that we can go out and minister to “the least of these my brothers and sisters” (Matthew 25:40).
The Second Coming isn’t a fantasy about leading an army to la-la land but is a reality when the Followers of Jesus spend their time, talents, and treasures to serve the hurting world (see Matthew 25 for specific instructions).
The so-called Divine Plan is simply the command to for all of us to do agape, 24/7.
Which Jesus do you like? The one laden with all the D&D, or the human one?