Theology Thought 1 of 3

 I thought I’d share a little personal philosophy/theology with the interested folks out there. I’m probably not the first one to think of this, but I think it’s worth of discussion. I’d like to break down the Christian world into three basic types of people based on their perception of good and evil, and sin. Please know that this is strictly Kaleb’s opinion and not meant to harm or offend anyone. 

I realize that there are probably thousands of types, but for the sake of discussion, we’re going to break it down into three. I’m also sure that most people will fit in between one of these three profiles, but again for the sake of discussion, we’re going to pretend everyone fits nicely into one of these three. This can also probably be applied to many faiths, but being a Christian I find it easiest to explain it in this way.

1. The Black/White.
We all know this Christian, for better or for worse.  When someone utters the word Christian, this is the person that immediately comes to mind. For decades, he has screamed the name of Jesus loudest, then taken expansive liberties with the application of His lifestyle to his own. This is the man you know that appears confident in his faith, sure of his convictions, often to the point of war or a fistfight in the name of peace.  He may appear on the local nightly news, very patriotic, and committed to “the cause,” but is very likely fighting demons in a very dark closet. 

His way of addressing good and evil is simple. It’s either sin or it’s not. Alcohol=Evil. America=Good. Smoking=Bad. Million-dollar church=Good. Welfare=Evil. Capitalism=Good. Other Religions=Bad. All Christians=Good. So doing, he effectively reduces the amount of effort required to analyze moral decisions and removes the possibility of scary problem areas that may introduce contradictions or difficult questions into his faith. 

Assuming this person manages to isolate himself well enough from the world or avoid major tragedies, he may very well negotiate his entire in this mode. It’s a very comfortable life for the individual, but often introduces some very difficult decisions. In order to adhere to this lifestyle, he must be a person of tremendous personal resolve and character, allowing him avoid sinful situations and seek forgiveness upon inevitable failure. This “Strong Black/White” is a very rare individual, often very respectable, however, understandably distant from society and of limited effectiveness. 

 Should an adherent to this perspective be lacking in resolve, a “Weak Black/White,” a very different person emerges from the fog. Desiring to be a Strong yet lacking the will to execute, the Weak finds himself in a constant battle against the temptation of his natural flesh, and often failing. As a pattern of failure begins to emerge in his life, the guilt begins to build, as well as his defensiveness. He may become even more devout superficially, even as he inwardly dies. 

There is an interesting phenomenon that happens in a variety of flowering plants that we will call the “Bloom of Death.” Sensing it will soon die and fail at its reproductive mandate, a plant will summon all its energy and photosynthetic powers to create one final spectacular bloom in an effort to spread its DNA before it slowly withers away. Exhausted from the effort, the plant dies shortly thereafter. Someone unfamiliar with the plant may see this beautiful display and think “What a spectacular, healthy plant.” However, someone who has seen the plant struggle and wilt will recognize that this display is only an exercise in survival and not an indication of true health.

So it is with the Weak Black/White, he makes the perfect hypocrite. Driven by the desire to be clearly in the white, but constantly stepping into the black, the guilty man hides his tracks in hypocrisy, desperate to be received by his kin. When this too, proves to be too much and he finds the majority of the members of his faith delivering the same performance, he leaves his faith behind, condemning it as restrictive and false.

How many young people have been stillborn into faith by parents that never allowed their children to experience the gray areas of life? Receiving praise in the white and beatings in the black, these kids arrive to adulthood startled by the amount of unanswered questions that their shallow faith does not address. In order to avoid the hypocrisy they perceived by all those around them, they bypass this step and walk defiantly into a life of neither white nor black nor gray. The ultimate in reaction formation, these products of generational knee-jerk faith fill universities and businesses, nursing a bitterness that often never finds relief. 

We'll continue with a "Grey" next. 

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, Kaleb...no apologizes needed for your theological thoughts - keep 'em coming. Looking forward to some good conversations over the holidays!