Daily Devotions

Are Little Green Men Saved?

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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

 

I love reading science fiction books. Science fiction books have always stretched the boundaries of our understanding of the universe. I love reading them and considering the questions they pose. Books and movies on aliens and extraterrestrial life are of particular interest. For some reason, people inside and outside the Christian faith have felt that if there were aliens, it would somehow disprove the existence of God. I do not see how.

 

Galileo was threatened with excommunication if he continued to insist that the earth traveled around the sun. The Vatican was sure that if the earth was not the center of the universe, it would somehow undermine the Christian religion and God as the creator, and our place as the centerpiece of that creation. Centuries later, we now know that this change in our understanding did not need to leave us beyond faith in God.

 

As our technology allows us to advance further and further into space, we become more taken with the idea that we are not alone in the world. Like Galileo, the possibility of extraterrestrials would create another paradigm shift, with many people believing that if there are other created beings, we are not God’s central beings, somehow proving that God must not exist.

 

I cannot understand this logic. Yes, extraterrestrials would confirm that we are not the center of God’s created order, but that does not logically speak to the existence, or non-existence of God. It simply means that God created beyond our imagining. It also confirms the centrality of God’s call to humility. The Vatican, centuries ago, couldn’t understand because they were not humble enough to believe that they were not the center of the universe. Aliens would simply reaffirm that we are not the center of the universe. That does not mean, however, that all beings were not created by the one God who also created other beings in God’s universe. Our God can still be the Creator of all.

 

Today, like a science fiction writer, ponder the challenges and realizations that come with the possibility of life beyond our third rock from the sun. Prayerfully ask God to expand our understanding of Divine omnipotence. Then, seek God’s vision of a universe filled with relationships, in all its potentiality. To deny the possibility of extraterrestrials is to deny God’s ability to create on a universal scale. God is all powerful and able to create beyond our comprehension. This potentiality should not create fear, but empower our faith as we see God’s power beyond our previous comprehension. Science fiction and Christianity do not need to be that far apart after all.

 

Diversity: More Than a Buzz Word

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After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9)

When did the word “diversity” become controversial? Diana Butler Bass, in her book Christianity for the Rest of Us, gives the example of the Goleta Presbyterian Church, in California, with a nearly sixty-year history, which has changed in many ways, but remains the same racially. Goleta Presbyterian is not alone. The vast majority of Christian Churches struggle with how to embrace the Christian imperative to affirm diversity.

This is ironic, because Jesus and the earliest Church made a commitment to diversity. Jesus embraced diversity by listening to women, including women of ill repute, women from the wrong ethnic background, and women with health issues that could make him unclean. This did not deter him. Jesus also rubbed shoulders with tax collectors and other sinners. As the early Church was developing, the Apostle Paul nurtured diversity by embracing the Gentiles and inviting them into the Church. The early Church also accepted the diversity of spiritual practices as well. Christians came to embrace the diversity of acceptable food, diversity of acceptable baptismal practices, even the diversity regarding circumcision, and the role of glossolalia (speaking in tongues). Diversity of language and ethnic backgrounds were retained.

It appears the Christian faith is willing to allow a great deal of diversity. This word “diversity” is more than just a post-modern buzz word, but a foundation of the Biblical tradition of the Christian faith. So we shouldn’t be surprised when the contemporary Church celebrates different forms of diversity in its midst. 

At Westminster, for example, we are active in caring for the immigrant and refugee population within the Des Moines area. We have created a large garden, with over twenty different plots, where twenty different immigrant and refugee families learn to grow and sell their own produce. We also provide immigrant/refugee care by helping families make the connections necessary to help them remain legally in our country. Finally, we are making wonderful connections with immigrant and refugee families in our ministry at Monroe Elementary School in the neighborhood. The school serves a large immigrant/refugee population.

Rather than politicizing diversity, or trying to find a faith community where everyone looks, acts, and believes the same, find a Biblical church that embraces diversity. We have so much we can learn from each other. Pray for the Immigrant/Refugee community, and pray that your congregation can set a meaningful example for love, care, and acceptance. Embracing diversity is the work of Jesus Christ and Christ’s Church.

 

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