Can I just apologize now? Lindsey tells me that when I write about what’s on my mind it’s kinda depressing. I’ll admit, it is. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m just down in the dumps all the time. I think I’m going through a crisis. To believe what I believe means that every decision I make is affected by my faith. If this whole Christianity thing is a crock of shit, then why believe it? Well, I don’t think it’s a crock of shit. I think Jesus was here. I think Jesus is still here. And I love Jesus. I think what’s happening is that I just want to know more about what I believe and I want to throw out what my culture says I’m supposed to be and, as best I can, develop a believe that’s genuine and means something to me. I want to keep my eyes open, and I will accept things that I agree with and I’ll reject those I don’t. I still want to be careful, though. I don’t want to wander too far from what Jesus set for us as an example.
Speaking of...someone who’s wandered. I’m reading Rob Bell’s Love Wins. I’m about halfway through, reading about what Bell thinks about Hell. There are some nice thoughts, and I think he has some great points. Not just on Hell, Heaven and judgment, but on a lot of things Christians consider “decided” subjects. Bell might be a wacko in the Christian community, but maybe we should consider what he has to say instead of just dismissing him. I’m not saying that I’m accepting every word he says, but I’ll consider them. Christian culture has formed how I believe up until now, and I think it’s good to challenge what it is that you think.
Anyway, I’m reading my Bible today and drinking a delicious Canteen Stout (formally Il Vaccino). It’s delicious beer and some good reading. Today, I’m reading Jeremiah 5. Here we see God’s thought process when considering justice toward his people, the Israelites. Now, I’m still trying to figure out how this was recorded. Did Jeremiah talk to God in person, just like we talk to each other? Did he have dreams? Was he under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms? Did he find some gold plates buried in North America? Did he seclude himself in a cave and hear from God there? I might have missed it if it was explained, but God is talking in the text.
Justice. He’s talking about how the Israelites are just terrible people, doing all sorts of bad things. In verses 28 and 29 it says, “They know no bounds of evil”, “they do not defend the rights of the needy”, “shall I not punish them for these things?” So, a couple of things, “they know no bounds of evil”. That’s intense. As humans, I think we’re all born with an internal moral compass. I think that if I were to grow up as a wolf man, secluded, and managed to keep my sanity, that I would know a general difference between evil and good. These people got to a point where to “knew no bounds”, everything was permitted. I could imagine what this was. Were they like the Mayans, sacrificing kids? Did they steal from each other? Did they kill? There’s probably an archaeologist that knows the answer to those questions. But I’m guessing that there was some evil crap happening. The verse continues saying “they do not defend the rights of the needy”. So, that’s important. And consistent with what God incarnate, Jesus, taught. Defend the rights of the needy. These people didn't do that. So God asks, shouldn't I punish these evil people?
I think the Old Testament God is often looked as a much different God as the New Testament God. He might be. I haven’t read enough of the Bible to tell the difference. I see here consistencies. I see a group of people that have run amok. I see a God who will deal with them, and he’s using Jeremiah to at least warn these fools, and point them back to God. But, God loves Justice, and will correct his people. I don’t think that punishment is bad. The scales need to be balanced many times.
Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that. There might be more lessons here, but I’m going to finish my dang book. I also have a delicious stout to finish.