Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Things I Never Heard in Fundamentalism (Part 1)

I got that phrase from Camille and it crosses my mind a lot . . . hey, that's something I never heard growing up. or, That's something I never heard at Bob Jones or any of the Calvary Baptist churches I went to through the years.

Reading Daring to Draw Near this morning, I had another such moment. Concluding discussion on David's prayer, Psalm 51: "[David saw] that outward religious observances were no substitute for a right attitude toward God and sin."

In my experience, fundamentalism is all about outward religious observances. How many services attended a week (we don't care if you have 167 research papers to grade and what's taking you so long anyway? Just pass all the church members' children), how long your skirt or big your white collar, how big your Bible or long your public prayers. Are you "busy" to the point of thinking you have mono? Well, you're not doing enough. Maybe God will look your way if you try harder. Maybe you can do enough one of these days to not feel so guilty and weighed down. Maybe. You're not really good enough for God to love.

White: We ourselves forget this. We try to compensate for sin by our twentieth-century sacrifices. We atone by trying harder, by being extra kind to someone we have hurt, by praying longer and more frequently. Yet none of these things are acceptable to God. . . . He wants us simply to say, "There is nothing I can do to make up for what I have done." (pages 78-79)

And this, the giant weight lifting off my heart, the chains of guilt that drag me down breaking: all that is needed is to show God the spot and say, "I cannot make it clean."

I can't. But He can. And He loves me.

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