Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A rich school Christian club?

I was chatting with a student at school the other day about a few life issues, and things, as they sometimes do, turned to matters of God and Christianity.

For those of you who don't know much about my context, the school where I work two days a week as a Chaplain/Youth Worker is a low-fee non-denominational Christian school on the very Anglo Mornington Peninsula.

Basically, she was talking about al these Christian words that people at the school used that she didn't understand-stuff about accepting Jesus and if you didn't do that you'd go to hell. She said this really messed with her view of God-she had thought He was all good and nice, but this God seemed a little bit mean and exclusive.

She understood that because she'd heard about Jesus and God, she could make an informed decision. But her big gripe with this God she's learnt about at school was that he seemed to discriminate against all of her friends, who are from a slightly poorer area, and don't go to our school. And the only reason he seemed to discriminate against them was because they were too poor to come to our school where they could learn about God. She stressed repeatedly that her friends knew absolutely nothing about God or Jesus, so why should they be sent to hell by this supposedly loving God, just because they've never had the oppurtunity. And all this from a Year 10 I didn't think was that 'deep'. Goes to show how much more kids think about these things than we often expect.

I talked a little about some of my understandings on all of this, and brought up some other things that Jesus said. I had to be honest with her and share some of my questions and struggles about these kind of issues, about the wrestles I've encountered. I could have just 'answered her questions with the things that all the popular books say I should say, but where would the integrity be in those answers if they were not truly my own?

I went on to talk about what it meant for me to have faith in spite of all the things I don't know, in spite of all the negative experiences of Christians I've had, in spite of all of my doubts. I shared a little about John 10:10, and what it would look like if God's Kingdom came to her area, what it could look like if people weren't judged by which people they were friends with, if it wasn't just all about the different crew people are with.

It ended up going well, but has still left me asking some really massive questions all over again.


Garth said...

Its a hard one Digger, and man wasn't she thinking it through! The idea that poor people had less of a chance of hearing about God because they couldn't afford an education that included a gospel presentation. Of course that ain't how God sees it and He isn't exclusive, but I think the Christian community has contributed to that interpretation.

I think we will be surprised in the end who is saved and doesn't know it. I think our all knowing and all loving and just Father has it in hand. While the only certainty can be through a relationship with His son, the NT does speak of gentiles doing in their hearts what they know is right and being justified.

On the other hand JC speaks of 'Christians' who were active in his service 'casting out demons in his name' who call him 'Lord' whom he will deny entry into heaven. Not so straight forward. Its a real heart issue.

It simply defies true Christian logic (for me anyway) that salvation is as 'tidy' as we would have it. He knows the hearts... best be sure and know Jesus and be transformed, but on the other hand we can't absolutely say that those whom have never met him have no chance. They are the gentiles whose hearts are also known.

Don't know if you agree with me, but that's my '2 bobs' worth.

Anonymous said...

mmm been through this issue a number of times- I guess especially with the people I work with at SCOPE.
I find it really hard to know how much these people can mentally comprehend as a lot of them are very Spastic (in the proper use of the word!). And sometimes you just think 'God will take care of them and knows their limitations etc.'
But then am I just writting them off just because they physically can't communicate in the same ways I do and understand and who says they don't understand and digest really complex stuff. -Mim

Digger said...

Yeah na definitely appreciate your thoughts.

I'm totally with you on the complexity of salvation gig, its just something way beyond our comprehension.

Even my Bible college lecturer said so-so it must be right!

The latest Brian McLaren book in the New Kind of Christian trilogy-The Last Word, has a lot of interesting stuff to offer on this topic. As does the first one actually.

Can you remember where that verse about the gentiles doing right in their hearts is? Would be an interesting one to check out.

Hmm, interesting point Mim-not an angle I've looked at it from.

Christop said...

It's in Romans 2:
'Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.'

Garth said...

Thanks Cristop...I was a bit rusty when I was recalling that verse!

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts. My favourite verse
is John 14:6 - motivation for evangelism:
Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the
life. No-one comes to the Father but by Me."

Digger said...

Excellent, thanks Chris. Definitely an interesting verse to consider.
Yeah I agree owl, but we need to be careful how we use that verse-I know of a lot of people who are really turned off by the way some Christians it.
I guess its fine line of staying true to what we believe, without coming across arrogant and exclusivist.

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