I've written about Heresy before, and I've probably been guilty of it more than once.

Before you shout "ah ha!" I knew it! That Think Theos lunatic is a heretic, and by his own admission!", read this:

I firmly believe that God needs to judge for us, because when we do it we totally mess it up (as I'll demonstrate shortly). Our responsibility as Christians is not to judge but to love, and let's face it: we can do a terrible job even with this. Sometimes I wonder if when we reach the pearly gates, St Peter is going to look at us sideways and say "He gave you one command ... one! I had to follow 640 laws and more in my day. All you had to do was love one another, and you just couldn't figure it out ... Seriously, people!"

Anyhow, within the framework of God as judge in our place, I do believe there's plenty of room for loving correction when we see our friends walking or driving down dangerous or unhelpful roads. The key there is "when we see our friends ....".

You can be stuck for decades in a spiritual pit if the whole of your Christian faith is just doing religious things, even good things. But it's not up to me as a complete stranger to tell you what to do. I can give you my opinion, if you want to suffer through that. But we have no relationship. Take it or leave it, it's cool either way.  On the other hand, it's good to have wise people in your life who can speak into your life about how you are living it, because let's face it: none of us has a golden perspective on everything. We all have biases and blinders that we need others to shake off of us.

Sound crazy? It might be, but it's true. I know it because I lived it. For me, it was playing the religion game. I was both the deliverer and receiver of the religious horeshit of needing to accept perfect ideas about God in order to be a "real Christian". As a result, not so long ago, I would have categorized myself as "done" when it came to "Religious Affiliation". No one can live under the pressure of perfect theology. I became stuck in the pit of needing to have right theology in order for God to approve of me, and it made me into an impossibly arrogant asshat, and then I just gave up.

I'm still not fully recovered.

What snapped me out of it? Wise friends, that's what ... or who, rather.

So when I read blog posts like this one, which de-contextualize quotes from an accused heretic, completely changing the meaning of what was being said in the same spirit of horeshit I mentioned above, I get angry. In this particular blog post, I found the blogger's appeals to tradition ironic in that he sets his own tradition up as the ultimate interpretive authority, which is pretty close to what he is accusing someone else of doing. When I read that kind of internet barf, my first thought tends to be: "what an asshat". But then I'm reminded, "just like me".

"Thanks for that, brain", I'll say begrudgingly as I eat the humble pie which is served to me not by my brain, but by Jesus.

It's a pretty judgemental situation, even though there's a check and balance. But it's my natural instinct to judge people based on external criteria like what they say or do (or write), or even how they look. We can pretend we don't do this, but I hope we know better than to seriously believe we are above judging people by what we see.

God, on the other hand, judges the heart. I can't compete with that.

So I won't.

The second (technically, the third) thought I have been learning to have after the "asshat" moments is this one: He/she too was made in the image of God, just like me. They have unsurpassable worth, just like me. Jesus loves them unconditionally, just like me, and for no other reason than he simply loves them. Just as he loves me. Nothing they do will change that, just as nothing I do will change it.

This changes the judgement tape that seems to run constantly in my head. In time, I hope that what is now my secondary response will become my first response.

Here's what I'm working toward: "Do everything in Love" 1 Corinthians 16:14

It's hard, but it's the right way to do things - and the more I rely on Jesus as the final authority in my life, the easier this becomes.

And just to be clear ... if at any point during your reading of this post, your thoughts wandered to judging me because of my course language or because I indirectly called another blogger an asshat, then my point has been proven: It's our instinct to judge, and we need to develop better instincts.


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