Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Two Sides to the Same Coin

It's amazing how a simple song can get you thinking on some heavy subjects. It may be because I was bouncing off of the Scripture heavy bloggers, with the emphasis on the written Word and understanding its Truth and Veracity. This song jumped off the radio at me. And this is one of those things that sounds so cool, but must be balanced, just like the Scripture-only-Faith-not-Feelings set:

However, it's important that we know Who and What we believe in, and for some personalities, this intellectual pursuit of faith is what will reach them and bring them into the Kingdom. Others need to be reached by seeing the Relationship that will develop with God--the unconditional love that God has that caused Him to send His Son to the Earth, to live, suffer and die like a ordinary man. The thing is, once you are in the Kingdom, you have to seek the other side to be a fully developed believer. The Bible is clear about this.

I don't think it is an accident that the metaphor of Church as Bride shows up in the Bible. Think about it. Marriages don't stay in that goofy googly eye stage very long--the vicissitudes of daily living won't permit it--but they progress to something deeper, where the love is not just an emotion, but more like a position. So for the Church and its individual pieces--you and me, dear believer. We start out as Christians like all new relationships--kind of starry eyed-- and the relationship changes as we grow to know each other (actually, this is one sided--God already knows all about us--and loves us anyway) and grow into something way bigger, perhaps bigger than we ever intended.

Maybe this Nazarene/Methodist is just biased, but I do think that our tradition does it better than a lot of others. Of course, it's dependent on the individual community of believers--the local church--but I think our tradition tries to balance the "warmed heart" with the curious intellect and frequently succeeds. In fact it's the points of tension--like the controversy in the Church of the Nazarene over plenary inspiration/inerrancy with regard to the Bible--that we sometimes fight over. We can definitely become too subjective, too enamored of the warmed heart and forget that squishy overly open minded belief won't get us into Heaven either. Thus the "liberal/mainline" vs. "conservative/evangelical" fights--and the caution signs thrown up by those who don't want to get too loosey-goosey with biblical interpretation. All this is a reflection of our finite human understandings--"we see as in a mirror..."--and is almost inevitable. And as I've said before in this space, because the stakes are so very high, such disagreements can get mighty strong.

Balance and moderation, as it is in so many things, is the key.

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