Emotional

Cannot see God's face

It was shared with me during seminary that one interpretation of why we cannot look at the face of God is because in God's face is reflected all the emotion of the world. So to look at the face of God is to see not only all the joy and happiness in the world but also every sorrow and pain. And if we were to see all of that at one time we would be dead on the spot.

This is what makes God divine. One would have to be divine in order to handle all of that not only for one moment but for all of time.

I find it hard enough to look into the eyes (I mean really look into the eyes) of another person. When we look into each other's eyes for a long time we can see all of their joy, sorrow, happiness and pain. Sometimes it is too much to handle all of that with just one person, I cannot imagine looking into the collective eyes of humanity.

Turns out this was something that was already touched on.

Feeling movement in my bowels

Ancient peoples understood that one's feelings come not from the brain but from the bowels. When we are in love or uncomfortable we can feel it in our bowels and so it makes logical sense that the bowels could be considered the location of emotions. Taking this into account, I am feeling a lot of movement in my bowels today.

After preaching a sermon on John 3:16 (thank you for all the comments and reflections, they were very helpful), I got several comments of the "good news" type. Good jobs, thanks, and that made me think sort of comments. This is to be expected for most preachers most of the time. It is hard for preachers to know if they actually did a good job or if people are just being nice. Anyway, after the accolades it became real to me that perhaps I should not have said what I said.

My argument is essentially one that does not originate with me, but one that I have taken on. It goes something like this.
If God only demanded Jesus to be sacrificed then Jesus would have stayed in the tomb. Jesus would have been like all the other sacrifices before him, dead and forgotten about. But Jesus was resurrected. And because he was resurrected it could be understood that God did not want/need Jesus to die in order for humans and God to be reconciled. It is the resurrection which is the Good News, not that Jesus was killed on the cross.

Anyway, I understand this may not be the dominate story told in Christian communities, however that does not mean that it is all wrong. I admit that there are some weakness in the argument which I need to work out (and I will continue to do that). However, I feel there are many ways to talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the end I have taken the stance that, "I do not have to be wrong for you to be right."

The movement below comes from my fear. I am fearful that I may have upset people. I am fearful that I may have, in some people's eyes, spouted off heresy. I fear that perhaps I have stunted the growth of AHUMC in some way.

And that fear, makes me queasy.

I write this so that I will never forget how I feel right now but also to encourage myself. I spoke out of where I am right now. I spoke knowing that I do not have it all figured out. I spoke out of my struggles with John 3:16 and substitutionary atonement. I spoke as true as I know how.

Now I only hope for the courage to stomach my feelings.