Stealing From Facebook
By JIM NICHOLS
Following is a short Facebook item I posted a few years ago. It just went out there into Facebook Land somewhere and may or may not have garnered any attention or “likes”; I do not know. I had forgotten about it until someone recently resurrected it and reminded me about it.
I have no recollection of the context for the comments. I do not know what was troubling me or what prompted me to compose it. Upon re-reading it, however, it still rings true to some of my thoughts. Even if the circumstances prompting it are gone now, they have been replaced by new ones that weigh on me in the same manner. I submit it for your consideration.
“This is Jim and I guess I am feeling contemplative tonight. I have some discouragement and concern about some organizations and people I care about, and I also realize that within the past few days I’ve argued/contended about two different topics and have made the same basic argument each time. Perhaps I need to type that out and see how it looks. So, here’s the deal.
It seems to me that on several topics people are simply asking too much of the Bible. They are asking the Bible to address questions and situations that it is not trying to do and are missing the grand scheme of scripture as it speaks to inclusiveness, acceptance, and spiritual freedom (Feed the hungry. Welcome the stranger. Release the captive. Protect the orphan and widow.) William Willimon says that the Bible doesn’t want to give you information—it wants to change you. I agree that we need to take scripture seriously, but we have big time hermeneutic (interpretation) problems. We need to ask clearly what the Bible is and what it is not.
Related to that is that at this stage in life I am not interested in drawing boundaries between Christians in terms of what they can and cannot do; God has gifted all people for the spreading of love, peace, and compassion in the world and I am not interested in telling others how they can do that in their churches, countries, or marriages. If someone has accepted Jesus as their Savior, I am on their side as that person tries to play out that commitment in their life. If they ask my advice on a decision, I will be glad to offer it in love, but it is not my place to make the initial intervention. Life in Christian community does commit us to mutual concern, but drawing un-asked-for boundaries for other believers crosses the line of mutual concern. Certainly, I will be wrong in some judgments, but I will have to trust God’s grace. That is a great gift.”
Jim Nichols is a retired Abilene Christian University biology professor and current hospice chaplain
Kind of like “mind your own business”?