Debating Society or Living in Love

A teacher recently explained something of the difference between the Reformed view of Scripture and the Dispensationalist view. I found it interesting to learn that I was closer to the Reformed view than I’d have expected.

The Reformed strain begins with Luther, then Calvin and others of the 16th and 17th Century. The Dispensationalists (precursors of much of today’s “fundamentalists”) originated in the 19th Century.

By the way, these are Protestant strains of thought. There are other theologies alive in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. I say that lest we think that we’ve discovered the one true way through some philosopher.

I’ve always found it instructive to read the earliest sources and tend to find writings that seek to explain the “secrets” of the Bible to be less than instructive.

To me, the Bible exists to show us how to live our lives in relationship with God. What would our lives look like if we did so.

I thought about this in relationship to theology and organized religion. I realized that over the course of the past 35 years or so, I’ve spent very little time thinking about religion. I used to subscribe to theology journals, but found the playing of mind games merely entertaining–not instructive.

There was a song that appeared in the mid-late 60s I think co-written by Paul Stookey of the folk music group Peter, Paul and Mary (and I’ve forgotten the title), that starts “Sunday morning very bright, I read your book by colored light that came in through the pretty window picture.” It’s about a person who shows up in church at times but finds it not nourishing. In one verse, he says they passed a plate and I just had time to write note that said “I believe in You.”

Jesus said we’d know his followers by their love. Sometimes I wonder if we’ve forgotten that simple description in our quest for theological purity (of a philosophy developed 1600 or 1900 years after Jesus) or doctrinal argument or unlocking the “secrets” of the Bible.

What have we done to show love today? It’s just that simple. And that hard.

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