Thursday, March 12, 2009

Complicated Is Overrated

I often wonder if God looks at us and shakes his head in disgust as we take his simple message and complicate it, codify it, elevate the minuscule, divide over the need to unify, and turn liberty into law. Right now I'm looking at Paul's warning to Timothy to be careful of those who do "not agree to the sound instructions of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching."(1 Timothy 6:3) Was this a warning about those who don't agree with certain complicated formulas, steps, doctrines, or interpretive conclusions? We just know that he was talking about those who don't agree with us, or at least our conclusions, but is that really what he's saying? The comparison is with Jesus and what he taught, not whether someone buys into the practices, patterns, and puzzle pieces that we have determined are "sound instructions." I wonder what the first Christians would have said if you asked them what "sound instructions" or as other translations put it, "sound doctrine" consisted of? Would it be a list of doctrines gleaned from multiple sources, or would they say what Jesus did to that young lawyer, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself."
Could it really be that simple? Why not?
Several of us preacher-types where having a discussion about the Kingdom of God. Most members have no idea what a source of controversy there has been through the years as different scholars and theologians have defined THE Kingdom in various ways. It's amazing how complicated so many have made this. Here's my simple definition. The Kingdom of God is the spiritual realm of God - period. Our job is to be in it and aware of it. He'll take care of all the "coming" and "going" of his Kingdom.
I'm not into complicated things. I don't think God is either.

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