Thursday, July 17, 2014

A little scriptural interpretation by CS...

Let me start by saying, I'm a believer in God.  In this post, I  don't want to define who or what is God.  I will state,  I don't think He is as loving and caring as I was taught in church.  The Mormon God is kind of a multiple personality being.  One day He blesses you, the next day He punishes you.  Everything good in your life comes from Him, everything bad He allows to happen for your benefit.  He will help you find your keys, because He loves you, but allows famines that last years in  Africa.  He gets credit when you help someone stranded but doesn't get blamed when a rapist attacks someone.  He has given you free agency, you can "choose to not drink alcohol" but takes free choice away from the teenager who gets sexually abused.  He gives the rapist free choice to attack and rape but doesn't allow the victim to choose to get raped.  God always gets the benefit of the doubt.  He gets all the glory and honor for the good done in the world while at the same time never gets blamed for anything bad.  Sounds like a good gig.  In the story of Job, when God and Satan are planning and scheming to test Job, God is praised and Satan is blamed.  Sorry I needed to vent.  I know it was off topic, but I feel better.

In the New Testament Luke 15:3-7, Jesus gave the parable of the lost sheep.

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Jesus was speaking to a group that consisted of "sinners and publicans".  Although we may not agree on what defines a sin, we can all agree in Mormonism,  a sinner is anyone who goes against the norm, the unwritten order of things, the policies, the PR statements, the opinions of old men, the local leader's views, the official "doctrine"--what ever that is.

A publican in Roman and Biblical times was a tax collector.  So Jesus was teaching the down and outers, the outcasts and disliked of society.  Personally, I have felt like an outcast since starting down this road.  I have been criticized, mocked, and accused of all kinds of things by members/family.  In this parable,  "Luke" states,  the Pharisees and scribes were complaining about it.  Why? Why would they care, because they were different?   Now I want to be clear,  I think the concept of Jesus is a great story and although I don't believe it actually happened, I still feel we can learn from the Bible--like any other fictional book.  

In this parable, the subject of the story leaves the group to go out on his/her own. Because He loves the lamb, the Shepherd leaves the rest of the flock to go and find the lamb.  Who is the Shepherd?  According to John 10:11 

 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.   

Jesus states that He is the Shepherd.  It is Jesus that goes out to find the lamb.  He doesn't send his dogs or recruit others to do His job, it is He and He alone. Because it is the Shepherd that goes looking, the lost lamb has a personal experience  with the Good Shepherd.  A personal and intimate experience involving no one else.  Having a relationship/experience with the Shepherd did not require going through a member of the flock.  It just took a step into the unknown.  While in the flock, the lamb was just a number of the group.  Every member of the flock acted and behaved the same. And notice the parable doesn't claim the Shepherd took the lamb back into the fold which most  likely meant going to slaughter. The shepherd called his friends and neighbors (not other lambs) together and has a celebration for finding the one.  

This is the story of members who have found out the truth of the Mormon church.  We have dared to leave the comfort of the flock and wander in uncharted territory.  Obviously the rest of the flock did not dare follow us.  They ignored us, criticized us, turned their backs and even ran from us.  But we are the ones who have that experience with the God within.  We have learned that we are not broken and although we may appear lost to the rest of the flock, we finally know who we truly are-now let's party


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