Stuck in the middle

Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 Do not be overrighteous,neither be overwise—why destroy yourself? Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool—why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.

I ran across ti passage in college and have always been intrigued by it. I don’t think it means that we shouldn’t take sides or that we should remain Luke-warm about important issues, but I do think God wants us to seek a certain balance.

Today I got involved in a sticky discussion on a Facebook group for progressive Christians. Someone asked if you had to believe in the resurrection to be a Christian. I sited 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 where it says that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, our faith is in vain. Someone came back at me with something along the lines of, yeah well, that’s just Paul’s opinion, which he’s entitled to, but I’m just as entitled to mine.

Blew me away.

For years now, I’ve been the liberal in a red state made to feel unclean because Obama is the antichrist and voting for Democrats puts my very soul in eternal peril. Meanwhile lying us into an unprovoked war, obscene wealth disparity, religious adherence to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, denying civil rights and promoting anti-intellectualism is okay?

Now suddenly I’m seen as the backward bully for espousing orthodoxy and adhering to the ecumenical creeds?

Isn’t it possible to both believe in Jesus teachings and example of love, acceptance, grace, mercy, forgiveness and social justice AND also accept Him as my Lord and Savior, the only begotten son of the Living God who was crucified, died and rose again to forgive me for my sins?

Can’t I read BOTH Dorothy Day AND Karl Barth?

Seems that both extremes of universalism and fundamentalism are dangerous. Guess what? Absolutism is every bit as dangerous as relativism. Although, I’ll concede that relativism is pretty dumb.

Just like the Pharisees, conservative Christians must resist becoming heartless moralists, judging and demanding more from others than themselves, presuming to have a monopoly on God’s revealed truth and His favor.

Be that as it may, progressive Christians should also resist becoming modern day Sadducees, assuming that there is no mysticism, no miracles, no spiritual realm, no sin that separates us from God and no resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.

You’re both wrong. How can you be opposed to helping the poor and for tax cuts for the rich and paying CEOs 300x as much as their employees and call yourself a Christian? But at the same time, how can you not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the resurrected son of God, king of the universe and call yourself a Christian?

Call me a hypocrite, call me a heretic, call me a contradiction, but I believe that “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.” The Jesus I encounter in the Bible is the third way- indeed He IS “the Way.”

Sorry conservative friends, I will continue to be the prophetic voice, demanding reflection and stirring up cognitive dissonance. And sorry liberal friends, I still believe that God is the creator and not just some sociological construct that civilizations have created in their own images.

If this makes me an outcast in both communities, so be it. Here I stand, I can do no other.



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