Saturday, July 21, 2007

After a good night's sleep...

I'm growing increasingly concerned for several reasons. I never expected my blog to stir up so much of this... senseless arguing. I use this as an outlet. A place for me to write and express my opinions, concerns, feelings, thoughts or anything else I feel like sharing.

I've been asked why I don't use more Scripture when writing on Biblical topics. Two reasons: 1) I don't wanna sound like some pompous a-hole. I don't wanna sound like a Biblical know it all; 2) this isn't authoritative. I'm not "preaching". I'm not trying to convince anyone else that I'm right. I'm not writing my graduate level exegesis. I am expressing my viewpoint. Take it or leave it.

For those of you who disagree with me, I don't care. I really don't care. And I'm getting really tired of reading your lengthy responses and dealing with phone calls, to be honest. I'm surprised people can't talk to me like a rational human being. I'm surprised people that don't know me at all don't have the guts to talk to me first before letting loose some bitter Biblical diatribe about what I think--calling my beliefs wrong because they disagree. I've never deleted a comment before. And I'm not about to start. Why? Because you are welcome to think what you want. Because I believe what 1st Corinthians 13 says about us never having it all figured out until we stand, one day, before God. Here on earth, no one is going to have all the answers. Therefore, I'm willing to admit that this is what I think, but I could be wrong. Everyone else should be willing to do the same thing. You should be willing to say: "This is what I believe, here's why, but I could be wrong, no big deal."

Oh, and when we stand before God one day, and full knowledge is finally available, I don't think we'll care. I don't think God cares about what we think NOW. Everyone is so wrapped up in orthodoxy. In believing the "correct" way. I don't hear anyone talking about orthopraxy. About living like Christ. Some of you are all torn up about my personal beliefs, but I don't see anyone talking about the 50,000+ people who died yesterday from starvation, lack of clean water, and AIDS. I don't see anyone who's critical of me, getting worked up about how far American Christianity is from what Jesus started. I just don't get it guys.

This is my place to write what I want. Feel free to comment. Feel free to respond. Feel free to agree. Feel free to disagree. But to those who are so blind as to call me wrong, I ask: you think I'm wrong based on what? YOU THINK I'm wrong. YOU do. I've heard people say things like: "I read the Bible for what it says, without interpretation." Impossible. We are all going to have our own view of things like the Bible. We all come from different backgrounds, from different places, with different parents, with different thoughts and feelings. No matter what, we all interpret these Christian Scriptures as we read them. We're human.

I still hold to my statement that asking questions and searching for answers and healthy doubt is a good thing. My wife made a good point in her comment: no one can say they've never doubted anything about their faith. How can you grow if you've never questioned your own beliefs? One of my favorite songs is by the OC Supertones that says "I don't believe in what you call blind faith." I can't just accept what someone else teaches me as truth. That's not faith. That's stupid. One of my favorite Religious Studies teachers taught me that. He's a Harvard Biblical scholar, and he encouraged me to question him. I would have no confidence in Biblical texts if I hadn't had doubts. Because of those doubts, I have taken the time to research the Bible's history, research what historical outside texts say about it, read it in its original languages. Because of my questions, I have a stronger faith. I choose to follow Jesus. I choose to pursue seeing his kingdom come. Not blindly, but with confidence in what I believe. I understand someone's concern with my using the word doubt (the book of James was quoted), but don't take that section out of context and don't take what I'm saying out of context. Basically, quit using Scripture to win an argument in the first place.

I'm going to go back to normal writing on Monday. I'm done responding to the mess some people are stirring up. This is John David Ryan. This is my blog. This what I think. What I want to say. Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. It means a lot, it really does. Keep expanding your horizons. Keep searching. Keep pushing forward. But don't lose sight of the big picture. Holler back...


Sheffield said...

John David, I don't follow your logic, just because you don't use scripture doesn't exempt you from being a pompous a-hole. Hahahaha I couldn't resist myself.

Anonymous said...

I dont think your reasons for not using scripture make much sense. While some may use scripture for there selfish gain or to prop up their pride we should use scripture at every chance we get. From most of what you have written you sound like a pretty humble guy. I dont think it would make you arrogant if you allowed scripture to speak for itself. The best thing for people, believers and unbelievers alike is to see and hear scripture. To the christian it is food for our souls, while it also penetrates the hearts of unbelieving men who suppress the truth about God. Or Lord Jesus used scripture to fend off satan, as well as the pharisees and saducees. My only other question is, If you arent preaching, why are you putting all of this on a public domain website? Thanks for the post!