Humans are fashioned to love people more than principles, and Jesus fully exemplified this pattern. But many seem to prefer loving principles --- as if you can really do such a thing. Like Moses, we each need to know God face to face. [Exodus 33:11, Numbers 12:8] Note how Jesus said 'God is not a God of the dead but of the living (for to him all people are alive) [Luke 20:38] In my opinion, his aliveness made it so much easier for people to trust their own aliveness and thus relate to God, because like knows like. --Richard Rohr The Universal Christ
I came across this quote this week, and it meant so much to me because I've been wrestling in my mind and heart with people who do put principles ahead of people. All things spiritual have been at the center of my life for as long as I can remember. I discovered that much of theology was made up by men who did not have the inspiration of Jesus or of any great avatar, so they made up rules that had to be followed or else... (what else depends on the times, could mean re-education camps, shunning or burning or gas chambering or burning in hell forever or...).
It also has led, and is leading, to splintering factions and fights between factions - one stands on this "principle" and another stands on a differing "principle." Most have little or nothing to do with the founder/namesake of the group/religion.
My current dilemma in understanding comes from the splits regarding people who are gay. As far as I know, Jesus never put an asterick on his statements. Love one another as I have loved you* (*except for some people. ) He never put an asterick on his definition of God, God is love* (*except towards some people).
I have often thought that if we go back to the original - in my case Jesus - we gain clarity. If we go to people over history who have mused over what Jesus really meant, we get a mixed bag, and we get distorted thinking.
Even in science, which is pretty much a collection of principles, the scientist keeps on testing the principles and hypothesizing and testing new principles - in attempts to come to know what is true.
So what if we cut down on the emotions of protecting the "principles" we've become attached to, and just sought Truth, going to the source, listening with our hearts, living the most loving lives we can? What if we just considered the wild theologies of the ages as interesting history that may or may not contain useful clues, not rules from the hand of God? What if we went back to those who really did know God face to face? What if we were radical lovers of God and God's creation?