So meeting one of my new favorite authors was quite a surprise. Wayne Jabobsen, of The God Journey was in town and stayed with friends last night so we could have dinner, hang out and talk about our journeys.
I have read one of his books co-authored and written under a pseudonym, and have read, and am currently digesting, The Shack, which he helped write, edit, and has published.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I thought I knew God, and understood the trinity, and was on close terms with Jesus. Then I saw Him through new eyes in the pages of this book's story and my preconceptions have been rearranged. I recognize the truth in what I am beginning to see. I am having a hard time realizing how much more He is. I am also having a hard time admitting that most of what I have been taught is through the lenses of an Old Testament understanding. I am also discovering how religious practice has dictated my response to Him. And all I can say is "I did not know".
For instance, chew on this....as we were talking about the cross last night, Wayne asked, "If you did something to some guy, and really hurt him, and he said that the only way he could ever accept you as a friend was if someone paid...and then he went home and beat the tar out of his son with a baseball bat, then came and said that it was OK now, and you could be friends, would you ever WANT to be friends with someone like that?"
NO! Yet that is basically my understanding of the cross...someone innocent had to pay for my shortcomings. But as we talked, Wayne presented another analogy about the cross, which was never for God; it was all for ME.
His analogy is this; We have a terminal blood disease (sin), and the only cure is chemo, which will also absolutely kill us (the law). So Jesus, being God, and being Love, takes our diseased blood into His healthy body and transfuses His healthy blood to us. The disease kills Him, but when He has died, we are left with the antibodies for all time, for everyone who suffers from this disease. He provides both a cure for the disease, (sin) and relief from the deadly "cure", (the law). That is love, that is His sacrifice.
Our God is not one who ever needed us to sacrifice for Him, unlike every other god and religion. He desired to sacrifice for us. Our sacrifice is worthless to Him. His message to us in the Old Testament is this: Sin kills, and the law will cover it up but will never cure us, and will never make us feel remotely clean. The law is as deadly as the disease of sin.
But surely we have to qualify, by our righteous acts, for this gift of relief from sin, and for it's cure?
We qualify when we give ourselves to Him, in Love and of our free will.
This immediately makes perfect sense to me. It is the Gospels.
There was a lot more, all of which I will be attempting to assimilate over the next few months... and years. Meanwhile, check out his blog, linked above and in the Lifestream link on the right hand side of the blog.