Where do I start?

Just the other day I checked an online map service to get the travel time to a work site. It became a metaphor for the way some religious people act. In the case of my map search, despite every attempt, it placed my home address nearly an hour to the west. Even when I entered the address by postal code the programme changed it back to the wrong one.

So I turned to a different service. It put my start point in the right place, but the route choices were wrong. The fastest route showed as the slowest. The time totalled over an hour. In reality it took about forty-five minutes.

The only place for a Christian to begin a life journey of time or education or growing up rests upon the Bible. Some would start with an opinion, or a feeling, or a doctrine or even a denominational tradition. But when you start at the wrong place, whether by seduction of a lie or indiscriminate obedience to human authority, surely the route and timing must be wrong.

Or some modernist may make a convincing argument, based on only one doctrine (God is love), that Jesus represents only one way to God, and so their route varies from the Biblical image of a straight and narrow path.

Elders, teachers and other guides of the faith have a duty to grow, learn and teach the First Commandment,

“Have no other gods”.


P Bible

P Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Alas, the advice they give often falls short, demanding that the crowd obey the pastor (even when in sin) or a sectarian tradition which trumps the law and authority of the One True God.

How does one figure out which voice to follow? Well, some simple observations make this much easier than any institution would have you believe.

  1. On any religious matter, a human, individually or in a group or organization, who demands authority over another cannot have begun with the Bible (Mark 10:42-45//Matthew 20:25-28).
  2. When a church makes decisions in secret and demands all the other members accept without question, you know the decision bursts out as contrary to the will of Creator who does nothing in secret (Mark 4:22//Luke 8:17).
  3. Whoever would condemn a child of God cannot have sin. How many people in authority in church remarry after divorce (Jesus says that constitutes adultery in Mark 10:11-12)? How many judgments follow gossip or witness of only one voice? Where did the process begin?
  4. Did you, or the group you intend to obey, follow the clear directions of Matthew 18:15-17, the process to use if anyone who claims to follow Jesus makes an accusation against anyone who follows Jesus?
  5. If you stood as the accused would you hope the accusers followed this process against you if you were targeted (Matthew 7:12)?

Where do you end up if you don’t start in the place you think you start? God only knows, and as the gospel song says, “I’m happy with you Lord…Are you happy with me?” (sung by the Talley Trio). After all, what I think of you has merit, but dims into obscurity compared to the importance of what God thinks of you.

Where do you start?