To be honest, I was a little disturbed at Care & Share Group last night. Somehow the little theological debate that took place on who gets into heaven, and who doesn't, got me a little sick to the stomach. It just all sounded so exclusive. Like we're only interested to know whether our Buddhist neighbour across the street is invited to the party, or not.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm not pointing fingers because it's nobody's fault, really. Most Christians have indeed been brought up with these foundations that we have built our Christian faith upon. I was once like that too. Actually, I see myself straddling both sides, with one half of me still holding on to traditional Christian foundations, with the other side reaching out in search of answers to questions that had never been answered satisfactorily.
Once again, I have to blame Brian McLaren for this. I've just finished reading The Last Word and the Word After That for the second time (I really had to) and my head is still spinning as I struggle to digest everything. The scary thing is that I agree with the way he sees things!
To put it very simply, it bothers me to use exclusive and Jesus in the same sentence. Reading about Jesus' life and His teachings in the Gospels seems to imply that He was about inclusion, not exclusion.
And before anyone starts to write me off as a heretic, here's what I believe...
I believe that Jesus is the only way, that He is the embodiment of truth and of life as God had purposed for mankind to live. And I believe that He IS the only way for us to come into an interactive relationship with God.
But to say that you have to believe in Him in a certain way in order to gain access into the "in" club has just been something that I cannot comprehend. To me, it actually sounds like what the Pharisees would say.