-Pastor Melissa Fain-
I have countering beliefs and theologies. It’s a dangerous place to be, because it means I say one thing, and act another. I used to not realize what I was doing.
Let me explain.
The theology: God is not a candy machine.
I actually laughed at myself as I wrote that subheading down. Of course I know God is not a candy machine. If maybe not a candy machine, perhaps a wish granter for the ultra-pious? It’s the same thing, but worded differently.
People can get caught up in the “stuff” of the world, and what the stuff means. It’s a trap and we fall into it. We want our faith to equal health and prosperity. I get it. There’s not a payscale to working with God. It’s not like you become a Christian and get tier one blessings, but once you’ve been a Christian for at least, I don’t know, ten years, the blessings increase.
Once again, it sounds ridiculous wording it that way, but I’m confident someone reading this will realize that’s exactly how they hope their faith life works, and now they have it in text.
You don’t grow up in the situations I was in and have a candy machine theology. Not if you are like me, and enjoy digging deep into the text. I mentally knew this was not how life worked, and in turn, it influenced my theological view.
Let me put this out first.
I believe God has answered so many of my prayers. It’s just that many prayers are answered in the negative. Many more were answered in the affirmative. I believe that's because I never prayed for an end result, but for the tools to help me get to that result. I also think there are ways I’ve been placed to grow, learn, and help others do the same.
Now that I’ve put that out there, let me get to it.
For a species that has achieved free-will, we will follow a crowd faster than a pack of raging hyenas to a newly dead zebra.
This leads us to an idea that comes from me. I’m talking about Communal Sin. (Tons of links to me talking about this at the bottom of the page.) This differs from Corporate Sin. Corporate sin is sin that is enacted by an entire group. Think, the Golden Calf in Deuteronomy. These are clear cut events that show sin being acted out by an entire group. When I’m using the term “communal sin,” I’m talking more implicitly. These are actions that not only are still sins, but are so ingrained in society they are social norms.
When thinking of corporate sin, a person can step away from it. Example: I’m not giving you my gold to help you make a false god. We can see the community sinning, and we can choose not to participate in it.
Communal sin, however, cannot be seen or easily walked away from. Well, I'll take part of that back. Each person has their own blind and deaf spots. We cannot see everything, so our brain turns off what happens every day. The more comfortable we are, the more likely we are blind and deaf to whatever draws us comfort.
(BTW- this is where some fuddy-duddy theologians would get all bristly and say that my distinction is still part of Corporate Sin. Fine. Lump it all together, and see how well that goes. If that’s you, just know I disagree, and let’s move on.)
The reason I’m bringing up communal sin is because it hurts people we don’t see.
My whole life is a series of actions where people forget or misplace my worth. I’m easy to forget because I can get things working, and when things are working, it’s something that brings us comfort, so it becomes a place we are blind and deaf to.
That’s what’s so earth rockingly difficult about all this. To see the value in those who suffer from communal sin, means to destroy the thing that brings us comfort. The other way is to finally see the person behind the comfort, and in seeing them, it becomes impossible to be comfortable in that situation.
It’s an easy way to tell if the person actually sees the problem, or just saying they see the problem. It’s impossible to be comfortable once the blindness has been removed.
I have a dual problem.
On one side, people see what I see, but it makes them uncomfortable so they leave for something that gives them comfort, often where they can be blind and deaf once more.
On the other side, people don’t see what I see, and I’m simply forgotten.
None of that is God’s fault.
None of that is happening because I didn’t pray the right way.
I still destroy myself because I try to pray myself out of it.
Deep down somewhere, I still want God to take my gift and give me a treat.
Then I hate myself for thinking that.
Then the cycle starts all over again.