Thursday, November 1, 2012

Do not blindly follow (use the brain God gave you)

I the past month many people have posted on Facebook positions that they "Fully" support or "Completely" agree with. Some are political, some philosophical and a lot of them are religious. I must admit that when I read or hear someone say. "I completely... or I fully..." when it comes to their pastors or religious leaders, I ask myself, "And have you read the bible and made up your own mind?" See, I am a skeptic and I do not believe that anyone of us can find even one person that we will agree with on every issue in scripture. Even the disciples didn't agree with Jesus and at times argued with him. I think that gives us some room, to disagree with our pastors and religious leaders of today, and maybe even argue with them.

With this in mind I want us to look at what it might mean to, "Love the Lord your God with all of your mind"

What makes me a Baptist is what I call the four fragile freedoms. In a book by the title The Baptist Identity, Walter B. Shurden wrote about these freedoms in 1993. They are:

Bible Freedom
Soul Freedom
Church Freedom
Religious Freedom
For my purpose in defining what it means to love my God with ALL my mind I want to look at "Soul Freedom" (Writers request: if you are not a Baptist indulge me and read this post. This post is not about my denomination but utilizes how my upbringing informs how I interpret the scripture we are examining.)
From this definition we get the term priesthood of the believer. Most Baptists, and I say most because it is no longer ALL Baptists that accept this belief, believe that each person, under the guidance of the holy spirit can and are able to interpret scripture without a priest, pastor or another church leader. In the italicized definition I want to take note of two words; responsibility and every. Sometimes I think as Christians we forget our responsibility when it comes to our faith and depend upon those who are more education or serve on staff at the church. Just because you may not have a degree in Biblical studies and are a lay person rather than on a church staff does not mean you don't have the same access or ability to read and study scripture or encounter God. Jesus never sent his disciples to seminary or divinity school, all he said was "Follow me" and he gave them responsibility.  In John 20: 19 - 23 we read:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed  them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again, Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples, not the chief priests or the religious leaders of the day, but everyday working people. So, why do we rely solely on our pastors and religious leaders of our day to tell us what is true, what is of God and how we should live. When we base our faith and how we live solely on the words and teachings of another human being we are on a slippery slope. Our faith and how we live our life should be based solely on the Jesus and his teachings. So how do we do this? Don't quit going to church, do listen to your Sunday school teachers and your preacher but then go home and read the scripture for yourself, talk with other people, discuss what the teacher or preacher said, and as Paul said, "Therefore, my loved ones, just as you always obey me, not just when I am present but now even more while I am away, carry out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Take responsibility for looking at God's word and through prayer let God and the Holy Spirit show you what is truth and what is profitable to live by. This is how we can love God with our mind. By using it when we read the scripture for ourselves rather than listening and believing everything I or your pastor says.