Darth: People can (and do) do good for goodness sake! Not for reward, not to activate the Jesus super power in their life, Just for the sake of doing good cause its the right thing to do.
It is a point well taken. My husband does good for his neighbors, helps them get up firewood, helps doctor somebody's sick cow, helps a stranger whose beat up old car won't start in a Dollar General parking lot. He has a messed up attitude about Christians from his own issues as well as bad circumstances as a foster child. Stuff Charles Dickens wouldn't write about. His foster "parents" took him to church as a final destructive act. My husband watched the wretched way these Christians treated --not just him--but others in the community. His childhood connection with God was not personal, not strong.
My husband does not call himslf a Christian.
But, just for the sake of this discussion, I want to say that I am suspecting that Jesus looks on my husband differently than that and I am thinking that I should regard my husband's faith in a new light. I have been through a bewildering process over the past two years--about the Scriptures and Jesus and Christianity. I am almost ready to say with full conviction that I have been wrong all my life about Christianity.
What does Jesus do all day long? I think he is working hard to convince us or at least me that I am wrong about what a Christian is really.
Maybe he has been working to have the literate and educated Christians get over themselves. I mean, we have not been able to do any good with scholarship and "accurate knowledge"have we? We carefully avoid the thing that would make us a laughing stock yet is essential to enter his kingdom: We have to become as little children.
But little children are sometimes abused. Like my husband was. When it happens to your body it can happen to their faith. What about that?
My husband told me he wanted to hear from God once he was grown up, and was turned loose from foster care. Through a largely unplanned series of events (involving rodeoing, a badly fracture leg, and a subsequent sabbatical from horses) found himself killing time waiting for his leg to heal at a university near his mother's apartment. Something about that time in life made him deperate to know if God was there. He wanted a sign.
Nothing happened. All his prayer and anguish of soul produced nada. The small childhood faith became a cynical blackhole of disillusion. But he went on, graduated with honors, married and proceded to make a life and career without God.
This unfortunate non-event in his life shows up time and again as the prime point of contention in our own tumultuous marriage. My own flimsey Catholic faith was rocked by his disregard for Christian niceties, which I found enchanting--at first. I merrily ignored all religious and social decorum and plunged into an illicit affair with him until his long-distance marriage finally broke and I had this troubled man all for myself.
Five years into it,I knew I was in way over my head. I would have prayed but I couldn't find access to God. I knew I had discarded him very consciously for my man. But I figured there had to be a way back in, a loop-hole for the truly desperate. (I had even had a face-to-face with a priest over my activities--not helpful). I laid seige to God. It started in the fall, around September and lasted through to a cold, frozen spring.I even read a Bible. But I broke before God did and gave up. It was after that that I "heard from God". It was an experience that I have struggled all my life since to understand in terms of the Christianity I was raised with--I only knew two things though: He was there , He was incredibly kind.
The miracle that occurred was over thirty years ago. And as recently as today I wanted to confirm what has always puzzled me. It is that my husband was not affected much by my own conversion. I asked him as I was writng this post: Remember that winter? What did you think of that experience that changed my life?
My husband, recalling those days, says it was distant from him. He was the only adult around me all that time on our mountain farm and those days did impact our future in many regards but past conversations on the subject brought him to anger. His words are kinder toward me now , but he says basically the same thing now as he told the children we had as they grew up--"Your mother got a great big case of cabin fever back then."
So back to the topic. I'm 58 and my husband is 77. We have been through a lot and have put each other and our children through a lot--I put everyone through the JWs and I have a lot to atone for. I think Jesus has been trying to get us to listen to his teachings-- to stop trying to cram God into the broken mold of religion, the old wineskin. It never hold for my husband and me . It breaks over and over again for us. And my own attempts to express Christianity in the terms that are purely intellectual fail not just in his ears but in my own.
But I have been changing as I "listen to Jesus" like a stupid little child. I stopped worrying about making theological sense to others, and my faith has come clean for me. And, to get a little personal, it has opened the door to a new relationship with my husband. We talk over faith and the existence of God--a no-no in the past. There has been respect and laughter. Our kids are amazed. I told my husband this morning that I am thinking that while my faith and happiness has grown this past year it has made me a ridiculous Christian--both to other Christians and to non-Christians as well. Some do not even consider me a "true Christian" at all.
And Jesus being busy? I think he has a lot to do to teaching us to accept his help--including me and my "un-believing"husband--become a child in heart so we can relearn the simple childish joy of faith and love again.