Friday, March 13, 2009

I am doll parts

After I wrote yesterday’s post, I found myself thinking a lot about humility. Humility may have been the reason I decided to return to my faith. I decided I didn’t need certainty, that I didn’t need systematic theology--that what I needed to have was humility, and that its lack was exactly what was so wrong with most evangelicals. Micah 6:8, one of my favorite verses, reads: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

I can think of very few better prescriptions for life, very few other verses that some up the whole of the Christian life. But so many Christians forget about it, especially the “humbly” part. My grandmother insists that everyone who voted for Obama is going to hell, solely because he is pro-choice. By voting for him, you are voting for the death of babies, and thus deserve to burn. I see so many problems with that logic I don’t know where to start, but I know that that is not a humble position. When I decided to return to faith I realized that there were many things I couldn’t know. I can’t even believe fully in the existence of heaven and hell. I see little evidence for those doctrines biblically, certainly not as they’re commonly understood. I’m not sure why I have to believe in the trinity. I certainly don’t think there’s much proof in the Bible that voting pro-choice is a damnable sin.

So I am a Christian, but I believe in gay rights and same-sex marriage. I am pro-choice. I am an environmentalist and a feminist and a socialist, more or less. I believe in art and literature, and that beauty changes people’s lives. I believe in science, and evolution, and global warming. I believe that all truth is God’s truth, no matter where it’s found. I don’t believe in the after-life, at least not in any way I’ve heard it explained. I believe that all of us were created in God’s image, and that Christ came to earth to call all people to himself.

But you know what else? I don’t insist that everyone else believe all these thing. Because you know what? I might be wrong. I have made a great effort to believe everything I believe with humility, to accept that my grandmother might be right. For that matter, Osama bin Laden might be right. I don’t believe he is, just like I don’t believe I’ll be damned for voting for Obama. I believe what I believe, and I’ll explain to you why, but I also can’t insist that I’m right. All I can do is live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.

4 comments:

LeeAnne said...

Marzipan! Every once in a while I check in on your blog just to see how you are doing. and I couldn't help but to comment this time. I feel as though we lead parallel spiritual lives at times. I feel like I have rolled around with many of the same things you do. Once I read this book, The Biography of the Bible by Karen Armstrong, and it helped me read the Bible in a way that made sense to me historically and logically. Keep learning and loving, you are what makes life beautiful. love, knuckles (LeeAnne)

Melissa said...

LeeAnne--

So great to hear from you. I still remember how closely we bonded over these exact issues. Those were great days.

I'm getting Springer Fever hardcore this year.... Argh. It's everything I can do to keep myself from hightailing it over there right now. Why am I keeping myself from going again?

Marzipan

Shuaib Meacham said...

I initially encountered your blog in the midst of a google search on Aroostook County, but I was pleased to encounter one of the few writers whose expressions on the Christian experience not only recounts Christian perspectives, but whose eloquence leaves me with a spriritual feeling of the presence of God as I read the work. Thank you for your honest and eloquent descriptions of your Christian experience.

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for your compliment. I'm not only pleased that I'm showing up in searches for Aroostook County (does that mean I'm home? Finally? Yet?) and thank you so much for the thoughts about faith. I believe it's my job as a Christian to love you, my neighbor--the earth--and God. To say that my attempts to put my beliefs into words are "eloquent" is pretty much the biggest compliment I could ask for.