life in the suture zone...

In the earthquake faults between tectonic plates, the suture zone is the in between place where they meet. I find in that a metaphor for the times in which we live... and invite your conversation in the suture zone.

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Location: Bakersfield, CA, United States

... a struggling, but mostly joyful, apprentice of Jesus.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

bumper sticker theology...

I saw a bumper sticker on the way to work this morning that made me laugh. Then it made me sad. It said, “Militant agnostic... I don’t know and neither do you!”

You can hardly blame this person for defending their position, and I am certain that they’ve had cause to become militant about not being able to come to a conclusion about God’s existence. You kind of wonder how many Christians have tried to argue them into the Kingdom of God? You wonder if they were accused of stupidity or dishonesty or rebellion in the process? Makes me wonder about us and shake my head.

I see the same thing in those little fish magnets, the ones with legs and the name of Darwin inside. Whatever you think of Darwinian evolution, I think maybe those showed up as a reaction to our browbeating efforts to convince those folks that their view of the universe is somehow ungodly and that they are bound for hell all because of their view on the origins of life. You think that perhaps they are just being honest about what they’ve observed and truly think? You think there might even be some of Jesus’ followers who agree with them? You think a respectful, humble and honest conversation (heavy on the listening with a few mea culpas thrown in) might be in order rather than the complex and strained argument that some “Christian scientist” has come up with to protect the sanctity of the very modern verbal plenary inspiration view of the Scriptures? (If you didn’t know, that’s really what the whole argument is about underneath it all from the “Christian” perspective.)

The saddest and most devastating response I’ve seen to those Darwin magnets is the one that has a Christian fish swallowing the “Darwin” fish. Is this what the inbreaking Kingdom of God is all about, what someone believes about origins? And isn’t that picture of a “Christian” fish eating a “Darwin” fish a bit ironic when you think about it? Doesn’t that prove the point of Darwinian evolution, that the fittest survive? (Have the people who have those Darwin-eating fish even thought about this and how it is perceived by the world???)

Back to the militant agnostic for a moment.... Do you think that maybe they’ve come to that conclusion honestly and with a great deal of thought?

There needs to be a lot more humble listening in this world, in my opinion, especially among Christians. They ought to be leading the way in humility. Sadly, I think many of us at the back of the pack when it comes to that.

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Seems I read that somewhere lately.

Sorry. My rant for the day.

Grace and peace,

Owen

6 Comments:

Blogger Tones said...

I had similar feelings about all those little crosses that popped up in our lawn with that giant anti-abortion sign. I don't think that abortion is a good thing, but good grief, has anyone ever had their mind changed by those finatical signs. I would think that it would create much more resentment than sympathy. And what about the poor women who have struggled with this and maybe even had one and regret it. Do we need to pile on guilt or should we try to love her? What about addressing the brokenness that this causes? Doesn't Jesus have something to say about that?

wait... this isn't my blog... where did this soapbox come from?... sorry Owen...

I think the truth/Darwin fish is stupid too.

Tones

4:24 PM  
Blogger Tones said...

I've felt a similar way about those little white crosses that pop up in the church lawn every year with that horrible sign in bold red and black letters screaming at the passers by the evils of abortion. I happen to think that abortion is a horrible thing, but good grief, has anyone ever changed his or her view about abortion because of a sign? And what about the poor women who are struggling with this issue and maybe even have had one and regret it? Do we really need to pile on the guilt? Should our only message about abortion to our community be that one? What about bringing Jesus into the broken situations and lives that are dealing with this?

wait...where am I?... this isn't my blog... where did this soapbox come from... Sorry Owen

I think the Darwin/truth fish thing is stupid too.

Tones

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Marshall said...

After years of thought, I have deciced that Darwin is right. The DNA evidence is overwhelming. The evidence of the fossil record is very strong. Plus, we simply see evolution taking place - as we selectively breed dogs, for instance. Nature conducts its own selective breeding; that is evolution.

After years of thought, I have decided that I am pro-choice. I do not think that abortion is a good thing; it is the killing of a human being, in my view. But I am pro-choice because I think it better than the alternative. The alternative is for the government to force women who do not want children to have them, which seems to me must lead to abusive, hellish childhoods. We might think that the situation might be alleviated were the government itself to take responsibility for its choice, and take over the care of those children - but that too seems an abusive, hellish situation. Our public schoolyards, as it is, are often anterooms of hell. And surely down that road lie voices crying for eugenics as taxpayers foot the bill for the children of the "irresponsible poor."

No. I think it a terrible thing that one must sometimes kill in self-defence, but it is better that one retain that right than lose it. I think it a terrible thing that one must sometimes kill during war, but it is better that the nation retain the right to defend itself than lose it. And I think it terrible that a woman might sometimes choose to abort a fetus, but I think it better that she retain the right to make such a choice than that the government assume it.

I haven't come to these positions lightly. I have come to them through the use of evidence and logic, based upon the foundation of my own experience and abilities. But understand: I hold the beliefs deeply.

If someone wanted to change my beliefs, they would have to...

1) understand my beliefs - so often I think we fail on this fundamental level.

2) be willing to listen and learn - they would, in other words, have to run the risk that their own beliefs might be ammended.

3) have more in their arsenal than "God says," because that phrase often really means "my limited, context-less misreading of scripture indicates" or "my church teaches."

A belief is not a mere opinion. Often beliefs are the product of arduous, painful spiritual journeys. To insult them is to insult the core of a person. To do so glibly is...foolish. On the other hand, to challenge them, to any meaningful extent, involves the risks of intimacy.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Tones said...

Well said Marshall. The most frustrating thing in the world to me is someone who wants to have a conversation about a belief with me and who wants me to put my beliefs on the table to discuss but is unwilling to put his on the table.

Tones

9:00 AM  
Blogger Tones said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Malia said...

Hey Owen! I'm doing some catch-up blogging. I realized I hadn't checked back with your blog for several weeks.

I was thinking several of the same things about "bumper sticker theology" on our drive back from Florida last week. Although mine was more "roadside theology" in the form of billboards that are supposedly supposed to entice sinners into the fold. I don't think the people who put those billboards up really think about their "message". Looking at them with the eyes of someone who may be a non-believer or on the fringe so to speak, they all come across as very judgemental and accusatory. I feel the same way about a lot of the church marquees I see around town with pithy sayings and clever play on words about how we should live our lives.

1:37 PM  

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