Hallo! Home again. Wednesday I go back to my other one.
Here, have a long, incoherent blog post.
I’ve had a good, thought-provoking week at Spring Harvest. It’s not surprising really, but I had a very different week to the one I had the year before, when I went with good friends. This week I went with my church family, and I was feeling my looming dissertation deadline (still am, actually), so I spent most of my time working in the chalet, restricting myself to one or two events a day and only socialising in the evenings. A big plus side to this was that I did get some productive work done. fwee.
One of the negative effects of this was that I only went to seminars I knew I’d get something out of and avoided ones on topics I’d previously had bad experiences with. The particular one I have in mind was Andrew Marin (of the Marin Foundation) on homosexuality, because I was jaded enough to think I knew what he was going to say, that I’d heard it before and that it would only upset me. and I was completely wrong.
What I’d really like to remember from this week is the focus it laid on the acts that make someone a Christian. One night in the big top, the most confronting and challenging sermon I’ve ever heard was delivered by Tony Campolo. he made the point that even the devil believes in God. he is, in fact, Biblically sound. so belief doesn’t get us anywhere, of itself, even though this is what all our time and energy ends up focused on, along with the big, divisive church issues that make it into the news. they’re important, but they’re not nearly as important as we think.
so we end up focusing on these things when the Bible doesn’t. instead the Bible says walk humbly, do justly, love mercy, and live like Jesus did. it’s not whether we know God’s there, whether we have the warm fuzzies about universal destiny and meaning. it’s about our committment, about the billions of people in the world who should not be dying from starvation and preventable diseases and other injustices.
The Bible can be used for so many agendas, and always has been – slavery, sexism, homophobia – but at the bottom of everything is that the word of God is found in a man who loved everyone just the same, who spent his life with the people that so-called holy men condemned and ignored. and while the son of God did say something against divorce, which the church has mostly come to terms with, he never once said anything about gay people. and yet here we are. we can’t support this agenda with Jesus.
I think about what Ruth Dearnley said on our final morning, about how we should be asking for forgiveness and thanking gay Christians for their patience with the rest of us. the big top was silent for a moment after she said that and then people started clapping and it just made me want to cry. I had thought I was the only one to think it. I had thought I was the only one who had been torn apart.
it is high time that Christians started living like Jesus. That’s what I learnt this week. my faith in God is pretty sound, but this week reaffirmed my faith in his people. this is all a bit wordy and incoherent, but I’m writing it down so that I’ll remember.
…and also so that I can concentrate better. back to work…