This past week I’ve thought a bit more about the goal in all of this.
My belief in ultimate redemption began with wrestling through questions I had and inconsistencies I saw in my system of belief, and that wrestling has been, and continues to be, helpful for me. I hope I’m approaching the discussion honestly, willing to go where the path leads, not being afraid of what I may find, but acknowledging our limitations to know it all. Through it all, I have found many people out there, many of you, walking a similar path, willing to engage the discussion and think through things carefully. Thank you.
As we walk down the path, I suppose we could pitch as idealistic a goal as each and every person embracing the message of Jesus so that the world is transformed . . . but that might be a little too lofty. That the whole evangelical world would accept, or at least tolerate, ultimate redemption as within the evangelical fold might be a little more realistic, even if it doesn’t happen for several decades . . . but such a goal is beyond my scope and is not personally helpful for you, me, or others on this journey.
And so, for the moment I have landed at three places, three areas where I hope to be helpful, three goals in all of this. I acknowledge even these may be lofty for a single blog, and certainly they go beyond what we have addressed up to this point, but hopefully a single blog can be helpful in some way in these three areas. They are these:
- I hope to provide a forum or a place to help people find their way on their spiritual journey, a place where people can ask their questions and share their doubts, where people can find Jesus WITHOUT fearing that they or anyone at all is going to spend eternity separated from God. I think the doctrine of hell as eternal damnation has been a hindrance to people following Jesus and we need a place where people come to Jesus not out of fear but out of the realization that His way is best.
- I hope to provide a forum or place to help people follow Jesus, a place where people can pursue righteousness and godliness, where people can love one another and others WITHOUT feeling any pressure to do anything to earn either the love of God or points of favor with God. Reading your Bible, praying, sharing your faith, having compassion on people, caring for those in need, loving your enemies, cultivating generosity and all other things like these do not make someone a better Christian; rather, they are done by people who have learned that life is better when they follow the example and teaching of Jesus.
- I hope to provide a forum or place where people can be open about who they are, where people can be vulnerable about what they’ve done, where people find support for life’s struggles WITHOUT the fear of condemnation or expulsion. We want a community of Jesus’s followers to have a reputation of being a place of broken people, a place where people go to find hope and healing. We want it to be the first place people turn when they are hurting and hopeless because they expect to find there other people who have been where they are. We need to meet people where they are with love that allows people to be open, works to deal with people’s hurts, and helps people to move toward healing through Jesus, no matter how difficult the path.
So, I guess that’s a working answer to the question: What’s the goal?”
Here, or in our interactions elsewhere, I pray in some way both you and I will find hope, peace, joy, and freedom.
I pray we will discover, or be reminded, that the gospel is really good news, really.