8.16.2005

I am nearing the end of what is either a controversial book or a piece of junk, depending on your point of view. The book is Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God, by Gregory Boyd.

It sounds rather ridiculous to say, as Boyd does, that our chief sin as human beings, per Adam and Eve in the Garden, is the sin of placing ourselves in God's rightful place, as judge of others. Boyd contends that what we are called to do is experience the unconditional love of God and allow that love to flow out of us to others. Instead, he says, when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil what they did (we did) was decide to judge others for their sins. Rather than drawing our life from God (via the Tree of Life), we draw our life from judging others, hiding who we really are, pretending to be better than we are and blaming others -- judgmentalism.

What would happen, Boyd wonders, if we learned to love others as we have been loved by God? Again, I admit that a book that seems to condemn judgmentalism can, in fact, fall into some level of judgmentalism itself. At least I think I can admit that. I certainly have not felt that way as I've read the book, but then again, I've already been wrestling with the fact that the second part of the Greatest Commandment is all about loving others as we do ourselves.

I'd like to know what it would look like in my life and in the lives of my church if we could learn, for say a whole month, merely to love one another and others outside our walls. Would we dissolve in a puddle of emotionalism and fantasy? Would sin run rampant in our midst because "dealing with it" and naming it were no longer what we felt we were to be about? Or would something else happen? Something I can't even imagine?

Someone help me here. Is there something to be said for forgoing all forms of judgment for the sake of loving others? Is there something to be said for focussing primarily on our own sins (the log in our own eyes) rather than the sins of others? Is Boyd way off base here? Am I?

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