a few months ago i tried something different here at the carnival–a video conversation with my friend john, who after a lifetime of christian ministry shed the label “christian.” it stirred up a lot of great conversation here and in other places, too. near the end of our conversation john shared that in order to get to a new place in his faith journey he needed to take “sin and salvation off the table.” whoa. those are some big words packed with a lot of charge. the reason i think it’s so important, though, is that many people are talking about it but don’t have a place to process their questions properly. i also think that like the word “christian”, “salvation” has a lot of baggage with in all different kinds of ways. and we make assumptions that everyone agrees on exactly what “sin” and “salvation” precisely, exactly means.
the part i love about john is saying is that sometimes–in order to get a deeper, free-er, more meaningful faith–we may need to shed some of our tightly held beliefs or suspend them in the category of “i really don’t know” and spend time and energy focusing on the things that we do know. in john’s case, the ways of Jesus–love in action–are the things he is trying to focus his energy on on this leg of his faith journey. love in action is real-relationship-with-real-people-on-the-margins, caring for the poor, advocating for justice on others behalf, cups of cold water & tangible presence with people that supersedes “right” belief. i know for those out there who say that you can’t believe in Jesus without certain things “on the table”, this might stir up some strong feelings or some “yeah, buts…” i totally get that. but john–like others i know–are finding that unless they take certain things “off the table” they can’t get to what’s underneath. and what’s underneath are Jesus’ ways of love in action.
this conversation reminded me of some powerful words a friend shared at our house of refuge last year (by the way, he is extremely conservative in terms of Bible-y stuff): “something’s wrong if we can’t preach the gospel without heaven and hell.”
listen in & please share your thoughts and perspectives. that’s what this space is for.
ps: sorry the audio’s not great & the angles are weird. i’m not a techy!