Tag Archives: Christianity

The Fruit Test


Truth is tricky for Christians. We all have pretty much the same Bible; most seem sincere; the Spirit is supposed to be present where just two or three of us are gathered. Yet we have Roman Catholicism with its own internal disagreements, Eastern Orthodox with its divisions, and thousands of bickering Protestant denominations. Christianity is comprised of a confusing constellation of claimed truths. Some seem to be mutually exclusive; some may be just shades apart.

Are all of them right? Are all of them wrong? Which system of belief is true? On what basis do we place our confidence in one perspective over another?

I’d first answer that we will probably someday learn that truth is more a matter of ‘both-and’ than ‘either-or.’ I’ve a hunch that it has many voices. It is analogue, not digital. However, some systems really do leave you scratching your head and don’t seem to be part of any potential dialogical remedy. So when utterly confused, I start with the Fruit Test.

Speaking of his followers, Jesus said, ‘By their fruit you will know them.’ What fruit is that? We find it in Galatians 5 where the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ is described as ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’  If a group claiming a particular system of belief is known for this kind of fruit, I keep listening.

If not, I stop and walk away.

I really think it can be just that simple.

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Things You Find in a Men’s Room

preacherI picked up a tract in a North Carolina men’s room. It said, “If you have ever sinned, then God sees you as a liar, a blasphemer a drunkard…You owe him your soul because you have not lived correctly. The payment is Hell and payday is not far away…you must truly repent or spend eternity in Hell.”

I’m guessing someone thought they were helping spread the ‘Good News.’


Where do I begin? “IF you have sinned?” Who hasn’t?

“THEN God sees you…?” Doesn’t he always see me?

“THEREFORE you owe him your soul?” Doesn’t He always keep my soul?

And what doe ‘truly’ repenting look like?

Then there’s the whole unbiblical, eternal conscious torment thing.

Well, beyond all the discomforting particulars, it occurred to me that communication is more than (bad) information…it’s also spirit. Where was the love? Where was grace? Where was Jesus?

Actually, I COULDN’T imagine Jesus handing such a thing to the woman at the well, so I stuffed it in my pocket, read it a few times in disbelief, then crumpled it up and tossed it away.

Of course, I’m not so sure that my spirit in the crumpling was all that it should have been, either.


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