My Christian Faith - A Favorite AnalogysteemCreated with Sketch.

in religion •  5 months ago

christianity-cross-dawn-70847.jpg
Pexels

I don't share much when it comes to religion. I have always been of the mindset that if it comes up organically in the course of a conversation, I'm more than happy to talk about it, but I generally don't dive into matters of faith unsolicited. I guess today is an exception. Why? I would like to get my thoughts out onto the blockchain at least once, for starters. And also, a song in church struck me yesterday with its simplicity and how powerfully the message resonated with me.

text01.png

For those not in the know, modern music at the kind of church where the pastor wears jeans (like my church) has come a long way from the days of the pipe organ and the hymnal. Nowadays it's much peppier, with all kinds of instruments. But oh boy do I prefer those hymns. To me, the guitar has and always will be just a little too "college kid trying to impress the ladies" for me to take it seriously at the front of a church. Give me a good old hymnal, a pianist who knows what they're doing, a choir, and I'm there. But that seems to be mutually exclusive to the whole "church that has a single congregant under the age of 50" idea, so I am stuck with modern worship music, complete with guitar and no fewer than 120 beats per minute.

You can imagine my delight, then, when my church began introducing a "hymn" as part of their morning worship a week or so ago. Unfortunately, the accompaniment still had six strings and the song moved at about twice the speed of the original, but the melody was largely intact and the lyrics were generally unchanged. So yesterday, we sang this song, which I have probalby not heard or sang before then for at least a decade: "Jesus Paid It All." The chorus goes like this:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

The Bible is full of all kinds of symbolism and imagery. Most of it was pretty relevant to daily life back when it was written, I'm sure. Agricultural analogies abound, and there is a fair amount of animal husbandry and blood in there. Not too easy to interpret in the 21st century. But financial imagery, now that I can understand without the aid of a pastor or a concordance.

text01.png

I had an epiphany of sorts while singing this song, which is this: the first two lines of the chorus perfectly summarize my faith. This is what I believe, and how it relates back to that song:

In the cosmic ledger of life, God keeps an account for each of us. The moment we do something wrong, it's tallied against us as a debt we have to pay. That small lie you told about why you were late to work? Debt to pay. That time you swore at your mom back in high school? Debt to pay. That time you robbed a bank and had to murder the only witness? Debt to pay. These debts stack up and stack up your entire life. Then you die. And then you are in front of a collections agency run by God, and it's time to pony up.

Even if you only owe a single penny, you're still on the hook for payment. Unfortunately, we have nothing God wants at that point and no ability to pay. So, unable to settle our debt, we are separated from Him forever. What that looks like, some people call hell, or a lake of fire, or any number of other things. But at the end of the day, it's really just separation from God for eternity.

The only way to join God after this life is over is to have lived a perfect life. To have accrued zero debt. Clearly, this is impossible. Personally, I'm waaaaay in the hole at this stage of the game. The point is, it doesn't matter how good a life I lived: if I messed up just once in my life, I'm not good enough.

But what if someone else paid my debt for me? What if someone came along, lived a perfect life, and then took on my debt? What if this person did that purely out of love, and offered this gift of debt-elimination to me? Would I accept that gift? Several years ago, I did. My debt has been paid by someone else.

Now the second line: all to Him I owe. Because I am so incredibly grateful for the fact that someone paid off my debt, I want to give anything and everything I can to this person. I will never be able to repay what was done for me, but I want to try.

text01.png

I love how this hymn, in those two short lines, basically summarizes what it means to me to be a Christian. You owe a debt to pay for all the wrong you've every done. It's impossible for you to ever pay off this debt. However, someone else has paid your debt for you, and you just need to accept the gift. With that acceptance comes a gratitude that impacts your behavior and your outlook on life from that point on.

If this mirrors what you believe or close to it, I hope you found some encouragement here.

If this is something that's just "not for you", I still thank you for reading my post. I just want to leave you with one thought: there is hope out there. If you ever feel hopeless or empty, I personally believe that anyone can find answers through Jesus.

If this is all new to you or you've heard it before but just never given it much thought and now you'd like to know more, I'd love to speak with you. Feel free to message me on Discord where I am DollarsAndSense#7718.

text04.png

Steemit Bloggers
Join us @steemitbloggers
Animation By @zord189, Dividers By @jaynie

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Certainly Jesus paid everything in the work of the cross when he said: "consummate is", he meant to say everything is already paid
It only remains to be thankful for that sacrifice, recognizing that everything we are and have to him we owe it
Excellent @dollarsandsense

·

Thank you @ricci01, I appreciate the comment.

howdy dollarsandsense! well said sir! All I can add to that is an Amen! lol.
Except I know what you mean about the worship these days which is more like a concert in most churches. I do like the relaxed dress code but that's probably more about my laziness!

·

Thank you! I'll take an amen :)

The only argument I see for dress code is that it's a respect issue. But respect is in your own mind and your own heart, so if it takes a suit and tie for you to feel like you are paying the proper respect, then I say go for it, no harm in that. But I don't feel like it's a requirement or anything - it's all about what's in your heart.

·
·

yes sir .. Amen to that too! lol. Yes God judges the heart. I love to watch the black churches on tv though, and I've been to quite a few. But I like the way they dress to the nines! And the women with those hats..awesome.

I wish I could believe as you do. Very nicely put though.

·

Oh don't get me wrong, it's a conscious choice to believe. But I think anyone can make that leap of faith. I hope you can one day too :)

Gave me an idea to write about.

Good one @dollarsandsense!

·

Yay, thank you! Tag me when you post it!

Hi @dollarsandsense!

Your post was upvoted by @steem-ua, new Steem dApp, using UserAuthority for algorithmic post curation!
Your UA account score is currently 2.920 which ranks you at #11072 across all Steem accounts.
Your rank has improved 21 places in the last three days (old rank 11093).

In our last Algorithmic Curation Round, consisting of 243 contributions, your post is ranked at #167.

Evaluation of your UA score:
  • Only a few people are following you, try to convince more people with good work.
  • The readers like your work!
  • Try to improve on your user engagement! The more interesting interaction in the comments of your post, the better!

Feel free to join our @steem-ua Discord server

Greetings fellow #steemitblogger! I grew up in a Southern Baptist household. Couldn't agree more with you that the old school hymns are where it's at.

Well, unless the pastor doesn't get the type of turn out he's looking for at the end and decides to have the choir sing a few more rounds of 'How Great Thou Art' to coax the wishy washy folks on up to get saved ☺️

I'm very happy to read your thoughts on how your connection with Christ has enriched your life. Thanks for sharing!

Posted using Partiko Android

·

Hey there @abhaya504! Southern Baptist, eh? That's the high-octane version of Christianity for sure! Depending on the pastor they're a little too "fire-and-brimstone" for my tastes, but I agree that doctrinally they are closer to my own personal interpretation of the Bible than most other denominations.

Do you still go to a Southern Baptist church today? I'm always fascinated to hear about people's journeys across the spectrum of Christianity. My wife grew up Lutheran and I started out Methodist, and we're both more more on the evangelical side of the spectrum now, attending an independent Christian church that's probably farther to the more conservative side of the doctrine scale.

·
·

I stopped attending Baptist services at 16 years of age--the time when my mother an d I agreed that I could decide for myself. I converted to Catholocism at the time, and attended services daily throughout high school. The chaplain at my school was my best friend at the time. He was a Jesuit, and increadible man. I consider him to be my first spiritual teacher. He died about six months after I graduated.

I began attending services at my local churches, and honestly, ther magic wasn't there. I walked away from Christianity alltogether, and went into a six year bout of agnosticism.

One day while be driven through Houston I had a strong inkling that I need to check into Buddhism, so I did. I sat with a Zen center in Dallas for about a year--great people, but Zen is super boring, and the instruction was mediocre.

Then I met my current teacher and everything went back to high school levels of dedication. I no longer identify as a Christian, although I have deep respect for Christ, and His teachings. His actual teachings, and not necessarily the beliefs and values of His followers.

While my current teacher is a tantric yoga master, I don't identify as a yogi. I consider myself to be an esoteric occultist drawing inspiration and practices from many of the hidden traditions of the East and West.

I'm sure the word 'occult' might be startling, but I assure you that in reality the teachings/practices don't live up to the hype of the Church.

What I've found that at their core, all True traditions teach the same thing. The only differences are the methods used to approach developing the ability to weave the teachings into daily life.

Hope I didn't pyt you off there. I know ho my mom reacts to the word 'occult,' even when I expalin to her that the word simply means "hidden," and even in it's early days, Christanity would have fallen under the auspices of occultism (practiced in secrecy).

We are SO proud to have you as a member of our
FANTABULOUS @steemitbloggers family!
uvoted and resteemed!

❤ MWAH!!! ❤

interested in joining the Steemit Bloggers Community?

@dollarsandsense Hey there! Thanks for this post; I really appreciated what you have written. Very beautifully encapsulated the Truth (:

At my church we sing mainly hymns and I really love them <3
out of many, one of them is "Abide With Me".

·

Thank you so much! I appreciate the kind words.

Glad to see a fellow hymn-lover :D

Interesting analogy regarding debt and the payment of it. I'm personally not a believer, but I do like to explore the beliefs of various religions. Can you explain what you mean when you say:

we have nothing God wants

Pulling from pop culture, I've always heard there was a fierce battle going on between God and the Devil for our souls. Does God not want our soul? Is that not worth anything to him?

Barring that even, does God not want us? Just to spend time with us or be with us, like a parent wants to spend time with a child? I guess your statement (and I could be reading too much into it - I'm an English major after all) just sounds rather defeatist to me, as if we have no worth at all, but rather have to somehow bribe God to let us stick around.

I certainly don't expect you to know the mind of God, but I do like to hear perspectives different from my own. What are your thoughts?

·

Hey @mattifer, happy to explain more! I agree, learning about other people's beliefs is fascinating. Even within the broad spectrum of "Christianity" there is a staggering array of beliefs and interpretations. That's actually the subject of a post I'd love to do one day, but it's such a mammoth undertaking that I wonder if I'll ever get there...

But on to your question! The quote about "not having anything God wants" was just meant in the context of payment for our debts. To continue my analogy... so just like the people at the bank might really appreciate those cookies you made for them, or their 5k that you participated in, or the fact that you referred some customers, it's not worth anything towards the debt you owe them.

I believe that God wants a personal relationship with each and every one of us while we are alive, and he wants us to join him in his presence when we die. Unfortunately for us, in order to be in his presence we need to be blameless, and that's impossible once you've done a single bad thing. So even though he wants us to join him, we have nothing he wants as payment for our debts. We don't measure up to his standard, and so we can't be in his presence. Does that make more sense?

To expand a little on what he wants while we're on earth, and to your point about the nature of the relationship, the Bible uses three analogies that I like in order to depict the kind of relationship he wants. First, as parent/child. Us seeking his guidance. Confiding in him. Asking him for help. Obeying. Second, as husband/wife (under the model of traditional gender roles, haha). Submissive. Faithful. Dedicated. Affectionate. Finally as shepherd/sheep. Reliant. Dependent. Trusting. Owned.

The beautiful thing about Christianity, in my opinion, is that your relationship with God is your own. It's not corporate (part of the reason Catholicism is not for me - too much "I'll take your message and let God know" for my tastes). It's personal and you get out what you put into it. If you talk to a friend every day, that relationship will thrive. If you talk to God every day, through prayer and reading the Bible, I believe your relationship with him will thrive. And I believe God wants this kind of relationship with each and ever human on the planet. Including you, by the way :)

·
·

Thanks for taking the time to write a thorough response. I appreciate that. I see what you mean a bit better now.

·
·
·

Think of a home mortgage with a balloon payment. The home is legally yours, there is some value but when the final payment is due, the remaining total must be paid. We will all fall short at the end, an inch or a mile makes no difference. God calls us in our free will to accept His gift of salvation - that is what HE wants. He did not create robots to act as programmed.
Blessings to you.
And I LOVE the old Hymns as well.

·
·
·
·

That's an interesting analogy...but as a real estate agent I'd recommend staying far away from mortgages that involve balloon payments. You're right though - most people can't afford that final payment!

@dollarsandsense,

Beautifully written. You could write an article about paint drying and it would still be captivating. Your writing style is ... "calming," almost hypnotically so. I have no idea how you're doing it.

I'm not religious but I'm not irreligious either and have actually kicked the crap (with words, you'd be proud) out of more than a few strident atheists who make sport of deriding religionists. Remember, I'm a science guy ... I know where all our bodies are buried.

That said, I love old time hymns as well. And piano ... that's my poison too.

A lot of critics spend too much time yapping about the literal impossibility of this Biblical story or that. Thomas Jefferson wrote a Bible stripped of all the miraculous accounts (called, not surprisingly, the Jeffersonian Bible). His conclusion: That it was the greatest moral code ever created.

Even if that's all it is ... that's not nothing.

One of my favorite hymns is Amazing Grace. Here's a combination of Scotland the Brave and Amazing Grace ... I find it profoundly beautiful. If one cannot feel the Divine when listening to this, whatever one might believe that to be ... then perhaps one has lost their ability to feel.

Quill

·

Thank you, sir! I appreciate the compliment.

I have no idea how you're doing it.

I'd venture to say it's through analogies. I love 'em, and I would guess that a decent number of my posts have one.

To me, I feel like atheism requires just as much faith as religion. Agnosticism makes much more sense to me, and is really what most non-religious people actually are. ("I mean, maybe there's a god, I don't know"). Either that or a deist ("there's probably a god, but we don't really know who or what he is"). Sounds like you fall somewhere between agnostic and deist, which is a demographic that I have no trouble getting along with. And if you can appreciate the music and the moral message, then I don't think we'll be getting into any debates over this area of life :D

That video is something else! And as you said, profoundly beautiful. The bagpipes coming back in gave me chills. Amazing Grace is one of those songs that will kick you right in the feels.

Loading...