A few questions for the ages
By Darlene Warren
BIG SANDY, Texas--Unless you've been sitting in a cave in Petra, you are well aware of the state of the church. (If you are in Petra, how's the cell-phone reception? Just curious.)
Regarding the church and organized religion, we know that it has taken a beating in recent years. With televangelists pleading with their viewers to send more money, priests molesting children and hierarchical potentates dictating how to live your life, you would have to be insane not to be at least a little disillusioned with the whole church scene.
I would like to be able to say, "We've come a long way, baby," and we have--but sometimes it's been in the wrong direction.
Face to face
I wonder what some of the people in the Bible would say if they could see us now. Could we find any common ground to base a conversation on? What could we possibly say to them? What questions have plagued mankind for ages that we would like to have answered?
Which questions would we ask first? Would those folks even have a clue to what we were asking?
Once we actually come face to face with the people we have read about in the Bible, we will have the answers to the most pressing questions. We will know then that indeed there really is life after death. We will have concrete proof of what we knew in our hearts all along, that there is a God, and the question of how many Gods there are will finally be laid to rest.
With a little questioning, we'll find out what form of government God chooses to use; we'll know if and to whom we should tithe and whether Peter was the head apostle or not.
And, of course, by then it will have been revealed if Petra was indeed the place of safety.
Initially, I'm sure we'll get some pretty weird looks in return for our questioning.
But, aside from doctrinal issues and religious disputes, we'll be able to ask the burning questions that only the biblical characters themselves can answer.
I think we'll be dumbfounded at what we will discover when we get to meet these famous people. We'll find out from Naomi and Ruth how and why they devised the slumber party in Boaz's barn. Most parents feel that if their daughters ever did anything like that they'd never see the light of day again.
These people we have read about in the Bible will finally come to life, literally and figuratively. I'm sure they'll seem like strangers for a while, but the more time we spend with them the more personal we can get.
The Bible tells us that David was a man of great bravery and that he loved God with his whole heart. He slew Goliath with a rock and he soothed the troubled soul of Saul with his lovely music, but did he really dance without underwear?
The history of Jesus tells us of the great miracles He performed. He healed the blind, the leper and the lame. He cast out demons, He turned water into wine, and He walked on the Sea of Galilee. He raised the dead. He fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Why didn't He perform a miracle for Martha so she could sit down and listen to Jesus along with Mary? It's all rather puzzling, isn't it?
The time is coming
The day will come when we'll know without a doubt which calendar we should be using; whether the apostles practiced a form of hierarchy or not or if each was allowed to vote on the issues at hand; and whether we should eat at a restaurant on the Sabbath or not.
We'll discover the legitimate reasons for disfellowshipping someone from the fold, and I doubt that disagreeing with "God's Restored United Philadelphian Government on Earth" will be on the short list.
The time is coming when we'll be able to ask questions and express opinions without fear of being told, "We bear you no ill will, and have a nice time in the lake of fire."
Many of us may be fed up with so-called organized religion, but we may discover that the people whose lives are recorded in the Scriptures also shunned the accepted Statement of Beliefs of their day.
Christ wasn't exactly a Jewish poster boy when it came to following religious traditions.
He told the Pharisees where to get off on occasion and never felt a shred of guilt for doing so.
If organized religion isn't your bag, just remember you're in good company. In fact, the very best.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God