The central locus of the Christian faith, the very heart of the matter, is in a set of relationships that we’re invited into. Like politics or the mob, it’s not about WHAT you know but WHO you know. Jesus is all like, “I’m in the Father, He’s in me, so if you’re in me, He’s in you.” He’s all like, “Phillip, don’t you KNOW me?” It started with an “eternity past” self-sustaining triune love relationship. Then people come along and we get invited to the party, to a love feast. Before some book of rules floated down from the sky, the first human was in the habit of taking walks with God. Very cool.
So in my opinion, salvation is more about relationship to the Truth (Jesus, both the cosmic and incarnate “logos”) than it is about the exegetical purity of your creed. (by the way Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, and C.S. Lewis helped me out there.) Actually, I think God’s going to laugh at some of our ridiculous theology. Oh he’ll judge us alright. But not by the bullet points of our creed.
So… ya know how it feels when you sit down with someone and see past all the nonsense (work, pedigree, image) to the real person beneath, the inner 10-year-old? I wish we could do that with everybody we meet. It wouldn’t excuse their beliefs and behaviors, but it sure would shed some light on the brokenness that informs their thoughts and decisions. I’ve been recently offended by people who come off as passive-aggressive, arrogant, and judgmental. But the more I know about their back stories, their families of origin, the more compassion I have. Their behavior is still unacceptable and I believe they should be in counseling. But THEY are acceptable. That’s the difference. Here I am, lumping people into groups and condemning them when every single person is totally unique.
The cool thing is, God sees the heart of every individual. He has compassion on them in all their brokenness. He invites them into His family, but doesn’t tolerate immature and insecure behavior. I wish I were more like that, seeing past the outer orbit to the core of the human heart.
The end of the story (I’m reading John 14 again, btw) is Jesus really wants everyone to join his Dad’s commune. He’s going up to heaven to put fresh sheets on our beds so that “you also may be where I am.” He’s inviting us all upstairs for the ultimate slumber party. Everything else flows out of that relational proximity, that closeness to the Truth.
My favorite hang out time in community is in the morning over a cup of coffee. So I make a habit of spending my mornings in community with Jesus, not saying a lot, just enjoying His companionship. That’s what I’m doing right now. Just sidling up close to Jesus: my housemate, my mob boss, my friend.