"Balancing faith and lifestyle choices". Mr. Big is one quarter of a Poly-fi quad. His column will focus on his current struggles to find balance between his chosen lifestyle and the faith he was taught to believe. Join him while he journeys the path of enlightenment.
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Refining Fables and Defining Labels
I received an email from a reader of this column a couple of months ago who "suggested" that I should make it very clear that I am not a Fundamental Christian. "Outspoken" seems to describe me well and as such, I’ve received my fair share of suggestions from others who vehemently disagree with my views. Writing a column blending two seemingly opposing worlds such as Christianity and Polyamory would most obviously draw similar fire since my audience is 80-90% non-Christian. It shouldn’t have, but I must admit that such feedback from a more conservative Christian threw me off balance for a moment.
I had to look up the definition of “Fundamental Christian” to even be able to respond properly and to tell him which points I agreed with and which I didn’t. Many of Wikipedia’s words are used here to try to avoid arguments of definitions before any of you start busting my chops for plagiarism. Wikipedia describes Fundamental Christianity as an American and British movement that started in the late 1800’s that actively affirms a “fundamental” set of five Christian beliefs. Three of these, the virgin birth of Christ, the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus, I agree with. I tend to fall in the liberal Christian camp with the last two beliefs, which are the inerrancy of the Bible and the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Liberal Christians view the Bible as God inspired as opposed to “God breathed.” Instead of being an inventory of factual statements, it documents the human authors' beliefs and feelings about God at the time of its writing, within a historical and cultural context. I probably fall somewhere in the middle, but good luck finding a Fundamentalist that believes any middle ground even exists.
The second belief, and the one which I wish to discuss, is the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Eschatology, the study of end times, has many different views even within the confines of Christianity. Most of the current church teaches a futurist view. The Futurists have been subdivided into "Premillennialism," "Postmillennialism," and "Amillennialism." Many of you may have been made aware of these views from the “Left Behind” series. Most of these views have come about in the last two centuries because of the way the Scoffield Bible explains the meanings behind the book of Revelation. I am a Preterist. I will let you google this to your hearts content rather than try to define it in the space of this column other than to say Preterim does not doubt a second coming of Christ but view it in a much different way and in fact believe it has already happened.
This becomes important because if it seemed easier to scare people out of hell rather than entice them into heaven, the slick salesman that figured this out would also need a way to overcome the human characteristic of procrastination. Nothing sends you for the midnight oil quicker than a deadline as any student can tell you. No deadline looms as large as THE final deadline. Suddenly not only has a deadline been created, but after 2000 years, somehow it is also believed that it is any moment now. Now I’m certain that anyone convinced this is about to happen will swear off all earthly temptation and find themselves center front pew for all three services Sunday morning. Don’t you dare forget to warn your friends and family because they need to hear about the hellfire and brimstone as well. Don’t worry about planning for the future because there won’t be one after the next week or three. If we all took this attitude then the 1000 years mankind was stuck in the dark ages would be a drop in the bucket.
I relayed my letter from the Fundamentalist to (Polyamorous Percolations forum member) Fire God and realized how much the views from people who hold this to be true has driven so many people from the church because they wanted to be able to ask why and not just have to take everything on faith. He told me that those were the only Christians he was aware of. Assuming that he’s not the only one who has had that experience, I decided I needed to spell out what Christianity means to me. If you find you have made decisions without all the facts, keep searching. I think most everyone is searching as they move through life. I learn something from nearly every encounter I have with others whether it’s in person or through their writings. I assure you that your presences in my life through this site have caused me to study and evaluate many portions of my life. I hope I always approach everything in life with open hands both for giving and receiving. I would also wish the same for you.
Mr. Big is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. He can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.
Mr. Big; December 21, 2006
folks have read this article.