Gungor Fan?? REAL Faith, Not Dogma

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“If you asked any Christian before the birth of the modern era and the Enlightenment, ‘what is the foundation of Christianity?’, they would say ‘Jesus Christ.’  If you asked many Christians that same question today in the post-Enlightenment world, they would respond, ‘the Bible.'” – Gungor

Perhaps you heard about the latest brouhaha over Gungor’s nonliteral reading of Genesis. (A Baptist church canceled an upcoming Gungor concert because Gungor does not believe in a literal six-day creation).

Yeah — that’s just one of the many things some fundamentalist Christians consider a hill to die on, while many other Christians consider it peripheral to the foundation of their faith.

The problem here is not our ‘literal’ versus ‘nonliteral’ reading of Scripture – that’s another post. The real problem is Christians’ response to dissenting voices.

I have written before about Christians’ fear-response to anything outside their box. [Christians, Why Are You Afraid of Gay Marriage?] Today I share Gungor’s thoughts on this, beautifully articulated in two parts on his blog [one and two].

…fundamentalists tend to huddle together out of fear. And in an attempt to shut the evil of the world out of these huddles, they also tend to shut out all of the good and true things that the world has discovered as well. These huddles tend to emphasize things that don’t really matter to anybody but those within the huddle. It’s a way of knowing who the other huddlers are. Those boundary markers can be things like “we don’t dance.” Or “we don’t play cards.” Or “we don’t drink alcohol.” Or “we believe that there was a literal naked couple in a garden 6,000 years ago.”

So what’s happening here is some people thought Gungor was in their huddle, and now we are displaying some signs that we might not be, and they are freaked out a little bit by it. We might be one of ‘them!’ And if we were one of the outsiders (the dangerous, worldly people who threaten to tear apart the huddle), how can they know they are safe?

But listen, huddle people… I’m for you. I really am. And I’m with you. I was raised in the huddle. Some of the best people I know are in the huddle. But you don’t need to be so afraid. You don’t need to repress your intellectual ability to ask questions and seek truth in order to stay in the shadow of the huddle. Because, let me tell you something, there is light outside. In fact, God is both inside and outside of your huddle. And you can still love God and love people and read those early Genesis stories as myth with some important things to teach us. Not all of you will be ready to do that, and that’s perfectly ok. But know that if you create these dichotomies where we force people to either fall into the camp of scientifically blind biblical literalism or a camp where they totally write off the Bible as a complete lie, you’re going to rob a lot of people of some of the richness that the Bible offers. You’re going to create a lot more jaded, cynical people that are completely anti-religion out there. And you are going to continue to repress the questions that lurk in the back of your own mind. And that’s just not healthy. That sort of thinking actually quashes and limits human thriving in the world. So that’s the danger of this sort of fundamentalist thinking.

If you believe that the foundation of your faith is the Bible, instead of Jesus Christ, then every issue, every item will come as a severe threat. You’ll be like a woman in abject poverty who pores over every receipt for any single overcharge, because every loss threatens her survival.

But if you truly believe in a God bigger than all creation who loves you tenderly like a nursing mother, then you can rest and stop focusing on defending your beliefs.

The religious rulers of the day asked Jesus to help them defend their beliefs by confirming which commands were critical – and his response to us today is the same as it was to them… Love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.

 

6 thoughts on “Gungor Fan?? REAL Faith, Not Dogma

  1. I am going through this exact shift myself. If we limit God to what the Bible directly addresses or what it meant back in the culture of the day, we are missing out on a lot. Take acupuncture….many Christians shun this because it involves Eastern Medicine and supposed “woo woo” knowledge dealing with the meridians of the body. I embrace it because I figure, even in this enlightened age of medicine, that God knows a lot more about the way our body works than we do.

    Two hundred years ago, people would have been freaked about by many of our modern medical practices, thinking them as Satanic (just read the Outlander books). Christians are still freaking out now about things having to do with the human body and mind: gay orientation, transgender. Two hundred years from now, we hopefully will most likely be totally comfortable with the understanding that is all within God’s purview of creation…hopefully that understanding will come sooner rather than later.

    It’s all a question of trusting God in His ultimate knowledge of the universe, rather than limiting him to our understanding. We will live a much fuller, less fearful life if we can trust that “all truth is God’s truth” and that we are still limited in our understanding in many ways.

    • Love all that you said, Debbie. I have thought of that too, Christians’ concern about “new age” things, but who created it all? If there is healing in that Eastern Medicine, then God made it so. To live in so much fear of “the unknown” is really to say, “I don’t trust God to have it all going on.” So… that’s where the issue is. It’s not to go fix someone else. Thank you, Debbie!

  2. Love Gungor! Their music meant a lot to me when I was on the journey back out of the closet, especially “Beautiful Things” (All this pain / I wonder if I’ll ever find my way / I wonder if my life could really change at all / All this earth / Could all that is lost ever be found? / Could a garden come up from this ground at all? /
    You make beautiful things / You make beautiful things out of the dust / You make beautiful things / You make beautiful things out of us) and “You Have Me” (My faith was torn to shreds; Heart in the balance/ But you were there/ Always faithful/ Always good/ You still have me/ You still have my heart).

    Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome, Giddy! thanks for sharing that, too. Beautiful lyrics — I love that about Gungor, as well as the sweet, peaceful melodies. Glad you found some encouragement on your journey… and glad you made it out of the closet. It’s a lot bigger with more breathing room out here! ❤

  3. Great article! I am not a Biblical literalist. Not because I don’t believe it COULD be literal, but because God’s ways are higher than my ways and I have enough trouble loving and loving well … I do not have time to get into all that stuff. But if it were not so sad I would laugh out loud at the Biblical literalist who say “everything” is literal, but they do not behave that way. Everything is literal BUT what affects them or their loved ones. If you are going to take it literally then take it ALL literally, the gluttony, the shellfish, the pork, the divorce, ALL of it. It is either literal or it is not. One thing I am fairly certain of it is not “sorta” literal. You continue to ROCK!!!

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