Sometimes we look a lot like Gollum and the dad from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off

12 Sep

So I am taking some theology courses online and I find a few students thoroughly frustrating at times. Right now we are talking about atonement and what exactly happened as Christ died on the cross and who Christ died for. The problem I have is that this turns into a who’s in and who’s out conversation. God loves these people and doesn’t love those people. Some have been included while others have been excluded. There are the elect and the non-elect will suffer for not being chosen. Often when I hear people talk like this I think of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. His actual name was Smiegal and he became so enraptured with the ring that he killed to posses it and as a result he himself becomes excluded and isolated by his obsession. And with this ring he gained old age becoming more and more demented and developed a cough which sounded to the hearer as “gollum.” A cough which would be the way that he would be named.

gollum.jpg

When I hear some people speak of the cross of Christ they do it in such a selfish way that when I close my eyes I can almost imagine Gollum standing behind the pulpit holding a little wooden cross in his hands whispering “my precious”. The elect however in the scriptures are God’s tool of blessing to the world around them. Don’t think holy sponge, think holy sprinkler. They are not chosen to the exclusion of others but for the embracing of others.

I also think of Ferris Beuler’s Day Off (If you haven’t seen it for a while rent it). There is this scene in which Ferris’ friend Cameron, who is thoroughly depressed, ditches school with Parker and his girlfriend. They go to a baseball game at Wrigley Field and a parade in which Ferris winds up on a float singing and several other stops during the day. Ferris talks Cameron into driving his fathers carefully restored 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California with the promise that they can reset the odometer. After the day is over, kind of a rebirth experience for Cameron, they take the car and put it on a machine to turn back the mileage. It becomes evident that this will not happen. Ferris begins to apologize profusely and Cameron just flips. Not at Ferris but his father. He begins to kick and beat the hood of this car. All the while he is saying, “He loved this car…he loved this car…he loved this car, more than he loved me.”

I can’t help but think that there are a lot of people that hate Christianity and it has nothing to do with God. It has everything to do with us. Because we in the name of God have worshiped our buildings and ignored those in need and lonely. We’ve moved out of the dangerous city where there those who are different to move to the suburbs where our neighbors are just like us. We traded passion for comfort. We traded a journey for a destination. We traded a power that comes from serving to a pyramid scheme spirituality of power. And maybe worst of all we have taken the the cross that should have brought us to our knees and instead we hold it over others. And in the end I can’t help but feel that those on the outside looking in hear our sermon’s and convincing proofs and the only thing they hear is “gollum”.

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