Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A HERETIC'S GUIDE TO ETERNITY
I'm in the middle of reading the book shown to the left, A Heretic's Guide to Eternity, by Spencer Burke and Barry Taylor. Here's an excellent quotation from page 62:
Of course, growing up, I had a much different concept of grace. I grew up in an environment where grace was described as "unmerited favor." The only problem was that getting this "unmerited favor" still required doing something -- namely, "asking Jesus in your heart" or praying a prayer.
I'm reminded of those people in the mall who are always offering me a "free" gift -- and then telling me I just have to fill out a survey or apply for a credit card to get it. Let's be clear. If I have to do something to get it, it's not free. The amount of effort I need to put in might be minimal relative to the value or size of the prize, but it's still effort. The offer is still predicated on some kind of transaction.
If grace really is unmerited favor and I really can do nothing to get it, then that should be the end of the story. But in my experience, it never is. Religious people love fine print. They just can't seem to get away from it no matter how hard they try. It's always "God loves
you -- but . . ."
Exactly. I've come across this again and again: "God loves you -- but . . ."!