Monday, July 19, 2010

On The Road to Damascus

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" Acts 9:1-4

Today’s Reading: Job 11-13; Acts 9:1-21

Several years ago when I was in the depths of my doubts about God and spirituality I wrote this poem called “On the Road to Damascus”. It was about this opinion that I had at the time. I wondered if Christianity had lost its way on that road when Paul came into the church.

Why did I feel this way you might ask?

Well, when I was in college I was reading through one of Paul’s letters and I came across this passage:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. – Ephesians 6:5

Being that I am descended from enslaved Africans in the United States this verse didn’t go over so well. I wondered how this verse could be in this Bible that I am supposed to live by. How many of my ancestors were taught this passage in an effort to convince them to pick more cotton?  How many slave owners taught this verse to their children so that they could grow up to be the next class of owners without remorse? Where was Jesus in a message like this? Is this something that Jesus would condone?

I had so many questions.

And at the same time I remembered growing up hearing all kinds of folks use all kinds of scriptures to place others in prisons of guilt.

I gave Paul all of the blame.

But when I got back into reading the Bible for myself I realized that so much of the negativity that I had attributed to Paul really fell on the heads of those who spun his words for evil.

With a little creativity even words of peace can be used to wage war.

When I look back at that time when I was full of bitterness and anger towards Christianity I am reminded of how important it is to work hard to discover for ourselves what we believe. Once I made that decision to look at things through my own eyes, rather than through the actions of others, I was able to achieve a peace that I didn’t know was possible.

It is a challenge, to think for ourselves, but it is one that must be taken with courage. Otherwise, what really do you believe?

Doubting is ok as long as we have the courage to face these doubts in order to find the truth.  

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A Convo With God by Clarence Mitchell III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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