Blessing
As with many of my posts, this one was inspired by something I heard in passing, and have been thinking about lately. Last Christmas, I wrote a post about living a rich and satisfying life. Part of that life for me, for the past 10+ years, has been being involved with my church, and learning to know God through Christianity. But although I do consider myself a Christian, there are still parts of the typical Christian teachings that just don't sit right with me.

One great example is the focus on the afterlife, especially to the exclusion of life here on earth. While I understand the concept, and can appreciate the value of not getting too caught up in the material things of this world, on the other hand I feel that this can be a really dangerous way of thinking...

As I was driving to work one morning last week, I had the radio tuned to a Christian station, which was playing a popular song with the lyric, "this is not where I belong." I thought, I really don't care for the message of this song, and changed the station. But as I did so, I started thinking about why it bothered me so much. I thought, that's silly, of course this is where I belong - otherwise, God would not have put me here!

Your opinion may be different than mine, but I do believe we are all here for a purpose, and I believe God has a plan for each and every one of us. We may not understand the plan, we may not agree with it, and we may take a whole lifetime and never feel like we've figured it out. (We may even deviate from the plan through our own free will, but hopefully when we do so, we probably have a niggling sense that we are on the wrong path - or maybe not. But that's not what I'm talking about today.)  The bottom line is, we are here on earth because we have work to do. 

And that's one of the things that bothers me about this particular Christian teaching - the focus on the afterlife instead of life here on earth - the idea that our earthly lives are not as important. They ARE at least as important - otherwise we would not be here! I don't believe God put us on earth just to wait to die! You may not know why you're here exactly, but I'm willing to bet you're not sitting around just waiting for life to be over (if you are, some therapy may be in order).

Honestly, many Christian pastors do a good job of helping people understand how Christianity can relate to their modern lives. But if you listen much to Christian radio, this message is everywhere, and not only is it unhelpful, but I feel it can actually be a very dangerous way of thinking.

If you believe that what you do in your earthly life doesn't have much significance, you're not likely to try to do anything of significance. Even worse, if you believe that you have been "saved" so you are going to heaven no matter what you do, what is to stop you from any number of irresponsible and unloving behaviors? Of course, the "good Christian" would say, if you are a "good Christian," you will regulate your behavior to act in alignment with God's will. But this is a slippery slope. How many of us have heard of fanatical cult leaders saying they were "doing God's will"?

I believe if we are to discover and practice a Christianity that works in today's modern world, we've got to take the focus off of Heaven, and put it right here on earth. As Jesus said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10:7) Some people take this to mean, it's time to go! But if you read the entire passage, that's not what he's talking about at all, as he continues....
"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give."

Jesus is clearly giving instructions for how to life life here - on earth.

Don't get me wrong - there is certainly value in seeking a connection with the spiritual. Focusing on things outside of yourself, and even outside of this life, can be a useful thing. It can help bring you peace, relief from stress, and a sense of connection with something greater. But for true satisfaction in life, you've got to focus on the life you've been given, and what you're doing with it.

You DO belong here, and what you do here does matter! So take responsibility for your life. Use it to bless and help others. Take good care of the body God gave you. Take good care of this beautiful amazing planet that God gave us to live on! Live richly. Live well. Love deeply. Give generously.  Whether you know it or not, God has a plan for you here. Live your life with passion and purpose, and do your best to discover and live out that plan.

If you do so, I promise, your life will be so rich and satisfying that when it comes time to go into that afterlife - whatever it may be, you will have no regrets.

Wishing you a life of satisfaction,
Rose.
 


Comments

03/27/2015 6:54pm

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