I was reading about a famous woman who was reported to have embraced Christianity later in life. I wanted to learn a bit more about her conversion, located her own statement of faith, and was saddened. In "About My Faith” she wrote about when her “journey” was made public. Yes, I have picked a tiny portion that spoke to me, but it says a lot:
"I had no intention of going public about my spiritual journey and in no way wanted to be tagged with the fundamentalism that Born-Again Christianity has come to be associated with. I found myself having to defend my action before I was entirely sure what it meant. I did feel reborn, I couldn’t deny that, but it had nothing to do with the perceived doctrines of fundamentalist Christianity."Her perceptions appeared clarified a bit later:
"Words like ‘Thou Shalt,’ ‘Salvation,” ‘Lord,’ and ‘Repentance,’ drowned out one of my favorite Sufi poems by Hafiz" where the refrain has God knowing only four words, "Come dance with Me."She stopped Bible study classes and comes to the conclusion that "experiencing the divine was more important than mere belief in the divine":
"From time to time, there have been the awakened ones, conduits of perception, who, by fully embodying Spirit, have shown us the way—Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, Allah, and others."However, she continues to feel like a Christian:
"Some will say that because of all this I am not a true Christian. So be it. I feel like a Christian, I believe in the teachings of Jesus and try to practice them in my life. I have found Christians all over this country who feel as I do. They may not have been ‘saved’ yet they hum with divine spirit."It reminded me of another woman, a fellow blogger, who spent time studying God’s word, called herself “Christian” but now disavows that label in a continued spiritual search.
It is my concern that both instances are defined by rejecting the Bible as God’s word.
I’ve spent several years encouraging people to read their Bible. I do not have the education or background to point to theological studies that indicate the Bible is what it says it is. I know I agree with Bereans and Peter that scriptures need study and may be hard to understand.
From other writings I’ve not included here, I believe both of these ladies set limitations on their expectations. I also believe that the Bible must be approached with an open mind. It needs to be viewed as any study – there is much to be learned. Some will be easily understood, but questions will remain to be chewed over later. As with feeding infants, meat comes later. There will come a time when we should be teaching, not rejecting:
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14 KJV)
Yesterday’s blog on the importance of prayer for missionaries applies here, too. Please add these two unnamed ladies to prayers for those seeking God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)