Monday, August 11, 2008

Relationship or doctrine?

Which is more important to you?

Some people answer that question with "doctrine" although they don't usually answer the question verbally but with action. Well to be fair the question isn't usually asked in that way either. What happens is some situation occurs and it becomes apparent to everyone you know that you hold a particular view and suddenly some people simply don't have anything to do with you anymore.

Now some of those same people if asked the question directly would say "relationship" but when faced with a real-life situation their actions speak louder than words.

It doesn't even have to be a total philosophy or religion or belief system. You can agree with some people on 99.99% of stuff or even more and disagree with them on one tiny little fraction of something or other and they'll leave you in the dust.

I know this from both personal observation and personal experience. Several times it has happened to me where someone I considered a good friend abandoned our relationship over some issue or another about which we failed to share to common agreement.

Funny thing is I guess I still consider them friends even though I've not heard from them in years. I bet they don't consider me a friend though.

I am definitely someone who would answer "relationship" is most important to me whether by deed or word. In fact I've been told I am too loyal and it might be true.

At the same time I feel no compulsion to change my belief about something or other either.

It's pretty much impossible to think you might be wrong about something you think you are right about. That's true for all sides of course.

I think it is frequently true that each side has something right about whatever is in dispute. Even if the something is a grain of sand in the desert. But not always.

I've been absolutely, totally wrong. I have been absolutely, totally right. And I've been somewhere in between.

What brought up this issue was that at lunch the other day this fellow was talking about The Shack by William P. Young. I blogged about it under the clever name of The Shack by William P. Young [I thought of it myself].) The fellow at lunch loved the book and went on about it at some length.

Afterwards someone else mentioned that he knew a guy who held just exactly the opposite opinion of the book because he thought it presented Biblically incorrect ideas about God.

What exactly wasn't elaborated but I can guess a few things. Probably the chief complaint is the presentation og God's grandeur and glory and awesome power. Sometimes people talk about Isaiah 6 in contrast. I wrote a paper once on Isaiah 6 when I took some courses at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. It is a glorious chapter just by virtue of the writing, too.

Anyway it is the famous passage where Isaiah declares he is a man of unclean lips and a seraphim flies over and cleanses his lips with a live coal.

So a lot of people have complained that God is presented in a too human way in The Shack.

Personally I just think it is the same old question of relationship or doctrine (if you don't like doctrine just substitute philosophy or whatever you like better).

1 comment:

Lori1955 said...

I would say relationship is more important and I would hope that my actions would show that. Doctrine is what separates us from each other.
Excellent post. Sometimes, I swear that you can read my mind. :)