In Religion: Throw the Hammer Away

Not really sure…but moving from hunch to verity…I believe that understanding should trump judgment.

Okay. What’s that headed for?

Has to do with what we do with what we believe. Has to do with expression more than intrusion. Think it has to do with…

Let me explain, because at least this works personally. Over the years, but who’s counting, right?, I have never told someone, “This is what you should believe.” Nor have I used the word “unless.” That is, never said, “Unless you believe as I there’s no hope for you.”

My theological and political beliefs are not right for everyone. And I mean “right” as in being correct rather than political/theological tilting. That is to say, I know what I believe…deep inside. But never to be arbitrary.

The test though is whether or not those words are reflected—no, make that mirrored—in my actions. I do believe a litmus test is for the word to become works. Never stranger to each other.

To the point…it is irksome…meddling…and offensive…that people must put down others in order to have self-elevation. And to see religious verity as they see it, only on their terms.

More to the point. My take on religious truths is neither possessive nor mandating. In other words, if someone should ask me what I believe…let’s say especially about Jesus Christ and the manner of life that should be ordered from his living and dying and not staying in the tomb, I will only say what I believe. I do not convey any notions on that unless asked. Why? Because only when someone asks, is curiosity and need in place.

For religious truth there is never a hammer. Only an open hand and willingness to share. On that I’ve always considered religious truth [and any other truth you consider] to be shared as description; never prescription.

I move beyond dislike—truth coming here—I move toward furious rejection—for anyone to tell me what I HAVE to believe. That may be their understanding, but it’s not mine. Even more when someone tells me, never with a doubt, “This is what you SHOULD believe,” the turn-off switch flips automatically.

Here is the way, if I can be perceptive enough, I’d hope the dialogue happens. Let’s take this: “Mark, what you believe about Jesus?”

Before answering, I’d make every attempt to learn where the inquirer comes from? What is their current understanding and situation? What prompts the question? Does it go beyond the academic?

Reason being, at least in my lexicon of speaking of religion, to be in the spirit of Jesus is to ALWAYS consider the situation. And never. Never ever. Come with a “should-upon-list.” Rather, do what can be done to START where the inquirer is…and then share…so the connection with current situation and need is addressed. And. Such conversation is, with hope and commitment, always reciprocating. At least. That’s how I consider the need for religion to be considered.

Now. Not what’s in your wallet? Rather. What do you believe? In your heart? And. Does that have evidence in how you live?

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About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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