Words of Hope: Dogging Dogmatism Part 1

Dad had an expansive faith. He rooted his faith in both firm convictions and deepest wonder and awe. One of his good friends has strong opinions about faith, so absolute and dogmatic. Dogmatic means you lay down principles as incontrovertibly accurate. His friend would demand that my Dad believe the same way he did or shake his head in pity that Dad was not as theologically astute as he was. I would get angry. “Dad, doesn’t it bug you to be friends with someone who acts sanctimonious and judgmental about scripture when his relationships are distant and cold? He gets so aggressive about this or that part of scripture but misses being loving to you.” Dad always laughed when I felt indignant about how I perceived he was being treated. “Jennifer,” Dad would say, “One of the skills God gave me was to see strategies play out to the end conclusion. I don’t know why I have this gift, but I do. I can see how a play will end in failure or success on the court. The same is true for our faith. I am placing my absolute faith and confidence in the death and resurrection of Jesus. I believe in Him and His promise that I will be resurrected to new life—this is my simple faith. Whatever I believe that distracts me from this mission is just argumentation and diversion from my mission. If this person feels called by God to be dogmatic and judgmental about certain aspects of his faith, my question to him will be—’ Does this belief draw you and me closer to Jesus and His transformational love, or is it a distraction?'” 

“And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ – Matthew 22: 36-39