You pop up an article, generally about something that piques your interest, or something that's important to you and underneath it can be a slew of comments, debates, and hateful rhetoric.
Kinda a downer.
The funny thing is, you can get sucked into reading them, and even joining the comment war. It's so messed up.
I often read articles about prominent religious figures, or concepts. If you read this space, then you probably aren't surprised by this factoid.
I've noticed a disturbing trend in the posts of bloggers (many of whom I don't agree with, but read anyway for a different perspective), and those who jump into comment arguments.
It's the idea that only certain people have the qualifications to speak about God.
No joke. I read a comment just last night, in which, the author said that C.S. Lewis, being a writer not a theologian, would have no qualification to speak on the issue being discussed.
One of the single greatest apologists for the Christian faith in the last century, is being dismissed because he wasn't a theologian?
Never mind that he's consistently referenced by theologians, but really?
Have we come this far? Has Christianity really come to this?
I'm not a theologian. Let's start with that.
I don't have a fancy degree. I don't have pastoral experience. And I haven't studied the accepted books that most evangelicals are supposed to study to gain acceptance.
But God is real to me.
He's real to millions of people around the Earth who didn't go to seminary.
The culture that Jesus lived in, was one of dogmatic elitism. The religious leaders were the authorities, and no one else had a say.
Didn't Jesus speak out against that?
Weren't his disciples the unwanted? The "not-good-enoughs"?
Yet in American culture, about two thousand years later, we have people who profess to be Christian, telling people the same sorts of things that the Jewish leaders told the Jews of Jesus' day.
This is what happens when you institutionalize a deeply personal way of life.
I may not have the degree.
I may not wear the suit and tie.
I may not use words like "salvation" and "sanctification" or "penal substitution."
But I know that God is real, powerful, and beyond a human's credentials.
I know that God doesn't care if you went to Wheaton or Brown.
I know that God doesn't care if you were a pastor or a stripper.
I do know, that Jesus, cares for people.
That he seeks people.
And that knowing him, is an invitation extended to all.
I also believe that sharing an experience with Christ is not a privilege confined to a small group of pastoral elite.
The whole premise of Jesus' ministry was to shake the foundations of a stale, dead, religious system, and bring people a life of peace with God.
He came for the B-team as well as the A-team.
He came for the clumsy as well as the polished.
Authority to share God, and thoughts of what God is like, isn't given to the Bible colleges of America. Truth and goodness are accessible to all. All have the great honor of sharing God's love with the world. Not just some.
God isn't a theology. He's a real, genuine being, who cares deeply about people, meets them where they're at, and shapes them into the person he's designed them to be.