There are some things churches don’t like talking about, but one author says a broader Christian worldview would be better in the long run.
How broad is the Christian worldview you grew up with? A recent post by author Matthew DiStefano lists five things he wishes his pastor would have said about Christianity, things that would have helped him (and others) apply their faith as they got older.
DiStefano’s list, titled, “5 Things I Wish My Pastors Told Me,” explains that the “facts” of Christianity pastors taught as DiStephano was growing up simply couldn’t stand the test of time.
I think all Christians go through moments like this, especially as we learn more and more about this world and try to reconcile it with what we’ve been told we’re supposed to believe, often without question.
Of his five items, two really jumped off the page at me.
The first was it’s okay to not take everything in the Bible hyper-literally.
Too few churches seem willing to go there. Using DiStefano’s example, if the Bible says God created the cosmos in six days, then it was six days. A total of 144 hours. Nothing else can possibly be true.
Even when science finds that earth is much older than the Bible allows for, some Christians seem too determined to dig their heels into the sand, insisting that science is wrong and a book written by non-scientists who said they were inspired by God must be right. (And they’re right because they say they were right.
DiStefano makes this important point:
“…just because we affirm science, doesn’t mean we are abandoning the Bible.”
Maybe — just maybe — the point of these kinds of Biblical stories, I’ve always believed, was much more about establishing God as Creator than being scientifically accurate. This is to say, it doesn’t matter exactly how long the process took; the timing is just an illustration designed to help us understand as best we mortals can that it was God doing the creating.
The second is that it’s okay to question things and that it’s okay to be wrong.
DiStefano has said what I’ve heard other Christian leaders say over the years: while they were encouraged to question things when they were younger, the first attempt at doing so casts the questioner in an almost-heretical light.
DiStefano says this, in a way, makes sense because of a very basic fear:
“If we end up being wrong, we could be screwed in the worst of ways.”
That worst of ways is, of course, “burning in Hell forever.”
But Christians love to remind each other that “God knows what’s in our heart.” If we’re wrong, but we’re trying our best to apply what we genuinely believe has to be right about God and how He wants us treating each other, believers or non-believers, can’t God see that much?
We can’t believe God knows all but doesn’t know our true motivations, sometimes even better than we know our own.
DiStefano says there is great freedom in taking a chance at being wrong when the true motivation is trying to be what God calls us to be, even when it may not be a popular decision inside the church itself.
Doing so and being a Christian, he says, is not mutually exclusive because, “Christianity isn’t supposed to so much be about having the correct beliefs, but about having the correct heart.”
These are just two of the things he says he wishes he’d known earlier.
I think a lot of us can relate to that. We wish the same things for ourselves and we still wish it for those around us.
Click here to read his full post and see if you agree with the other three points he wishes he’d known sooner.