The Difference Between the Destination and the Journey

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The Difference Between the Destination and the Journey

by baldilocks

(Re-​edited.)

Last week’s Mozilla-​Brendan Eich saga has spawned many con­ver­sa­tions. I have been involved in more than one of these, and they have pro­duced a good amount of frus­tra­tion in me. This frus­tra­tion is borne of the fact that many peo­ple in this allegedly Judeo-​Christian nation are func­tion­ally illit­er­ate as to what they don’t believe, and as to what they do.

When Jesus Christ died and rose again, His work was fin­ished, as He pro­claimed. How­ever, both believer and non-​believer alike seem to think that the work of the indi­vid­ual Chris­t­ian is fin­ished when he/​she accepts Jesus. (This is not to say that a Chris­t­ian must do many things to be saved; he/​she needs only to do one thing. My Catholic friends dif­fer about this, but that is a sep­a­rate topic.)

We Chris­tians do sin – mostly in spir­i­tual pride, but also in other areas, and that is to be expected. How­ever, all too many of us think that Chris­tians have arrived at some point of imag­i­nary per­fec­tion. As a result, con­ver­sa­tions about indi­vid­ual sins — like homo­sex­u­al­ity — spur accu­sa­tions from both Chris­t­ian and non-​Christian alike.

What about your divorce?”

Have you ever fornicated?”

Have you ever lied?”

Have you ever killed some­one or thought about it?”

What about the West­boro Bap­tist Church?

What about Steven Ander­son in Ari­zona?”

If you’ve sinned, then who are you to call homo­sex­u­al­ity a sin or oppose same-​sex marriage?”

And on and on. This sort of thing speaks to an idea that Chris­tians are mem­bers of some sort of club which no one can join unless they become “sin­less.” It also betrays the fact that few really read the source mate­r­ial, includ­ing alleged pastors.

Here on earth, Chris­tian­ity is a jour­ney – a walk in faith – to the Des­ti­na­tion; it is not the Des­ti­na­tion itself. We pick the Des­ti­na­tion – Heaven – when we accept Jesus the Christ as our Lord and our Sav­ior. (Many Chris­tians ignore that first part.)

Paul called the pur­pose of that walk a “per­fect­ing of the saints.” “Per­fect­ing” is, per­haps, an unfor­tu­nate trans­la­tion of the Greek word used. In my opin­ion, he means that saints (all Chris­tians) are to be shaped and molded in the man­ner that a pot­ter shapes and molds clay toward an end ves­sel, one that is of the potter’s desire. And, as we choose to be saved, we also choose the jour­ney — the shap­ing and the molding.

Dur­ing each individual’s jour­ney, the Pot­ter shows that per­son his/​her sins; some of which that per­son may not have pre­vi­ously thought of as wrong. Then, through read­ing the Word, prayer, fast­ing, giv­ing — through obe­di­ence and trust of the Pot­ter — that per­son can be purged of his/​her sin(s). But, again, this is a journey.

The Pot­ter will spin you, shape you, mold you and cut off things He can’t use. And, often, these actions will not feel so good at first. But, your mis­sion as the clay — should you choose to accept it — is to remain on the wheel.

(Side Note: in one of the con­ver­sions, I asked this ques­tion as a thought exper­i­ment: why hasn’t God destroyed San Fran­cisco? The assump­tion was that if God destroyed Sodom and Gomor­rah for the cel­e­bra­tion of homo­sex­u­al­ity, then He should deal thusly with any other munic­i­pal­ity for the same rea­son. Answer: since the fin­ished work of Jesus the Christ, we live in the Dis­pen­sa­tion — the Age — of Grace.)

One of the par­tic­i­pants in the con­ver­sa­tion sug­gested that if homo­sex­u­als did not strug­gle with the thoughts of homo­sex­ual acts, that he/​she should not be labeled a homo­sex­ual. Con­versely, this per­son said, that if a per­son still strug­gled with these thoughts, he/​she wasn’t really saved. I dis­agree, because, I used to strug­gle with wish­ing harm on those who have wronged me, but this wasn’t always so. I had to ask God to be free of those types of thoughts. And, I had to walk to that des­ti­na­tion, that free­dom (which, of course, does not mean that there aren’t other strug­gles with other sins in my life). And here’s another rea­son.

There­fore, I sub­mit that, when dis­cussing the sins of homo­sex­ual thoughts and acts, we Chris­tians should cease label­ing the indi­vid­ual who is try­ing to walk in the faith of Jesus the Christ, but who strug­gles to be free of these things – as ‘homosexuals.’

We should, instead, label them as all Chris­tians are labeled: as sin­ners saved by Grace. And we should, of course, pray for them and ask them to pray for us. And we all should remem­ber that His mercy endures for­ever.

(Thanks to Mike C.)

baldilocks

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2009; the sec­ond edi­tion in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

by baldilocks

(Re-edited.)

Last week’s Mozilla-Brendan Eich saga has spawned many conversations. I have been involved in more than one of these, and they have produced a good amount of frustration in me. This frustration is borne of the fact that many people in this allegedly Judeo-Christian nation are functionally illiterate as to what they don’t believe, and as to what they do.

When Jesus Christ died and rose again, His work was finished, as He proclaimed. However, both believer and non-believer alike seem to think that the work of the individual Christian is finished when he/she accepts Jesus. (This is not to say that a Christian must do many things to be saved; he/she needs only to do one thing. My Catholic friends differ about this, but that is a separate topic.)

We Christians do sin–mostly in spiritual pride, but also in other areas, and that is to be expected. However, all too many of us think that Christians have arrived at some point of imaginary perfection. As a result, conversations about individual sins—like homosexuality—spur accusations from both Christian and non-Christian alike.

“What about your divorce?”

“Have you ever fornicated?”

“Have you ever lied?”

“Have you ever killed someone or thought about it?”

“What about the Westboro Baptist Church?

“What about Steven Anderson in Arizona?”

“If you’ve sinned, then who are you to call homosexuality a sin or oppose same-sex marriage?”

And on and on. This sort of thing speaks to an idea that Christians are members of some sort of club which no one can join unless they become “sinless.” It also betrays the fact that few really read the source material, including alleged pastors.

Here on earth, Christianity is a journey–a walk in faith–to the Destination; it is not the Destination itself. We pick the Destination–Heaven–when we accept Jesus the Christ as our Lord and our Savior. (Many Christians ignore that first part.)

Paul called the purpose of that walk a “perfecting of the saints.” “Perfecting” is, perhaps, an unfortunate translation of the Greek word used. In my opinion, he means that saints (all Christians) are to be shaped and molded in the manner that a potter shapes and molds clay toward an end vessel, one that is of the potter’s desire. And, as we choose to be saved, we also choose the journey—the shaping and the molding.

During each individual’s journey, the Potter shows that person his/her sins; some of which that person may not have previously thought of as wrong. Then, through reading the Word, prayer, fasting, giving—through obedience and trust of the Potter—that person can be purged of his/her sin(s). But, again, this is a journey.

The Potter will spin you, shape you, mold you and cut off things He can’t use. And, often, these actions will not feel so good at first. But, your mission as the clay—should you choose to accept it—is to remain on the wheel.

(Side Note: in one of the conversions, I asked this question as a thought experiment: why hasn’t God destroyed San Francisco? The assumption was that if God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for the celebration of homosexuality, then He should deal thusly with any other municipality for the same reason. Answer: since the finished work of Jesus the Christ, we live in the Dispensation—the Age—of Grace.)

One of the participants in the conversation suggested that if homosexuals did not struggle with the thoughts of homosexual acts, that he/she should not be labeled a homosexual. Conversely, this person said, that if a person still struggled with these thoughts, he/she wasn’t really saved.  I disagree, because, I used to struggle with wishing harm on those who have wronged me, but this wasn’t always so. I had to ask God to be free of those types of thoughts. And, I had to walk to that destination, that freedom (which, of course, does not mean that there aren’t other struggles with other sins in my life). And here’s another reason.

Therefore, I submit that, when discussing the sins of homosexual thoughts and acts, we Christians should cease labeling the individual who is trying to walk in the faith of Jesus the Christ, but who struggles to be free of these things–as ‘homosexuals.’

We should, instead, label them as all Christians are labeled: as sinners saved by Grace. And we should, of course, pray for them and ask them to pray for us. And we all should remember that His mercy endures forever.

(Thanks to Mike C.)

baldilocks

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!