God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. — JN 3:16-18
This is my favorite Gospel reading. Short. Clear. Simple.
I’m a simple guy. I believe most problems have an obvious answer. We may not like the answer and it may not be easy, but right is right and wrong it wrong.
That being my view, I’m astonished at how complicated we make our faith. People study for years to become Bible scholars. The scholars write millions or books and articles. We fill libraries with books analyzing everything in the Bible and everything anyone has ever writer about anything ever said about what is in the Bible.
I enjoy reading, and I read many books about the faith. I tend to enjoy books about people who have heroically lived their faith. I’m not as enthusiastic about books that argue the fine points of theology. I’m glad there are theologians, but I’m even more glad I’m not one of them.
I searched the book section of Amazon and got more than half a million results for “Bible.” Should I laugh or cry?
Catholics of all varieties have been debating of late whether divorced and remarried Catholics can receive communion. I have an opinion, but in light of the gospel passage above, I’m not sure my opinion is all that important.
I have orthodox views, what many people call conservative. If everyone observed the 10 commandments, the world would be a safer, more peaceful place. The commandments may not be easy to follow – but they are simple. But rules alone can’t make us happy and won’t get us into heaven.
Jesus isn’t about rules. He is about salvation, which comes from believing. He is about mercy, not punishment. He is about love, not law enforcement. He is the Word and invites us into a personal relationship.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve been transported back to pre-Christian times. Debate abounds over church music, church architecture and what color shoes altar servers should wear. We need more rules and better enforcement, right?
Pre-Christian Israel had lots of rules, but it wasn’t working. So God did something that changed everything: