No unexamined life

I clearly hurt feelings with my initial “Caffeinated Jesus” post on Thursday night and that was not my intention. Although I didn’t mention the specific church at the root of my criticism, those who know me and also attend made the obvious connection. I personally hurt a few of them with my post and have apologized to them. I intentionally did not name the particular church and took down posts that made specific references because I believe that what doesn’t work for me in the worship experience may be exactly what others need. I wouldn’t want to send people away because of my views.

I really didn’t think that anyone would take my criticisms about a coffee bar and nice buildings so personally. I underestimated that and would have softened my tone. The comment was posted in a point of frustration in knowing the estimated size of that church’s budget and the amount they plow into capital improvements, operations, and payroll as opposed to missions. (In fairness, they do some pretty significant local missions, albeit manned by a small number of volunteers.) I should have sat on that frustration for a little while longer and wrote more dispassionately.

If my writing is so heinous as to actually cause someone to LOSE faith, then I am truly sorry. But I think that any faith so frail is no faith. The reason behind my posts is simply to get people to think, and yes, to squirm a little. I may be wrong in my opinions and I’m okay with that. I’m eager to be corrected when the person doing the correcting is providing me with valid counterpoints. Two older brothers from that big church did exactly that. We essentially concluded that we were each wrong and each right in many respects.

Plato reports in “Aploghma” (Apology) that in his legendary trial for heresy Socrates said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates believed that public discussion of the great issues of life is a necessary part of human life. For what it’s worth, I’m simply trying to see the world through a panoramic lens. It is hard to be open to different viewpoints in politics, faith, and other important topics, but it is also deeply rewarding.

For example, I went to my first Erev Rosh Hashanah service this year. It was my first time in a Jewish synagogue. It was eye opening to begin to understand some of the traditions that our own Christianity evolved from. Don’t forget that Jesus wasn’t a Christian; he was a Jewish rabbi bringing a new “way.” Christianity became that new way, taking up the yoke of the new rabbi. Understanding how Jews worship God today cast new light on my understanding of the roots of Christianity.

I believe that God is far greater, more righteous, more truth than humans can ever know. That leads me to believe that God can withstand any scrutiny from a guy like me. I’m no Socrates, and am no Jesus. But I’m convinced that we were created for this struggle over the essence of who or what God is and how we relate to God. I believe that if anything can make God happy, nothing would give greater pleasure than an earnest attempt to know and understand more through honest seeking. I think that God is far more complex than a pat answer or a recipe (on which I’ve written previously).

Switching metaphors, I’d far rather jump in the ocean of thought – with utmost confidence that the ocean is good, righteous, and just – with all of its attendant perils and fears than float in a secure pool bound by human limitations.

Comment from “Mark”:

I didn’t read the post which led to this one, but I get the drift. While it may seem hypocritical to some to promote worship through coffee bars or other fads, anything that draws people to true faith is worth the effort – like marketing for faith. Your sincere apology indicates that you are a thinking man of faith and not driven by blind faith. I personally think dialogue helps further our understanding of whatever is under discussion, including faith. The unexamined quote is quite appropriate in this situation.

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