Are We There Yet?
I’m obsessed with the book of Hebrews. I love the layers upon infinite layers of truth. I love how it addresses the educated leaders of Christianity and gives them a whoopin’. I love a good whoopin’. I love correction. I love truth.
What hooked me was when a mentor-friend of mine and Lance’s met me for coffee nearly four years ago and we were discussing “getting off of the foundation” as it relates to Christianity—that is, not forsaking it, but growing/building upon it. And he brought up the verses toward the end of chapter five in Hebrews which discusses this very thing.
“Yes,” said my wise friend “the writer essentially says to stop being hung up about basic things like baptism, and to stop merely revolving around the laying on of hands—and do you know what else the writer lumps into the ‘basic’ category, according to my Bible’s translation? Faith in God. Faith… in God.”
Faith in God? If that’s basic, what is … un-basic? What is there beyond that?
This much I knew about the setting of that infamous “get off of the baby’s milk, already” statement: the religious people of the Christian church have gathered around for some teaching. In their small vision for eternal life, they seek only instruction on how to perfect the measurable rituals of religion. They think that in their questions they are being virtuous, but really, their questions belie their immaturity, their stubbornness and vanity.
“Are we still here?” asks the writer, “Are we still here?”
I sense the frustration, the agony and the imploring. I’ve felt this before as a mother—I mirror it with my own children: “Are we still stuck on ‘how to wash hands properly’?” I am but one step below incensed at this point. “We could be doing so many other, more fun, more exciting, more responsible big-girl things if I didn’t have to spend my time reminding you to wash your hands and making sure you actually use soap.” I am more than eager to move beyond this being the thing that trips us up—beyond this being the thing that we have to focus on.
Anyway, last fall, I finally made it my mission to try to figure out what next thing we long-time Christians were supposed to move on to.
I read and studied Hebrews from start to finish. I read it in different translations. I read the cross-reference verses. (I didn’t read the commentaries though… because I’m egotistical and I want to come up with the answer first).
And do you know what I think the answer is? Want to know what I think the writer thinks we’re supposed to be moving toward, though he doesn’t actually say it specifically? (I ask this while acknowledging the irony of thinking YOU might not want to come up with the answer yourself).
The answer is this:
Move away from “Faith in God”…
And move toward faith in God.
And understand that there’s a difference between the two.