Thursday, October 03, 2002

Another entry from Plough got me to thinking...

I'm still so remote from God that I don't even sense his presence when I pray. Sometimes when I utter God's name, in fact, I feel like sinking into a void. It isn't a frightening or dizzying sensation, it's nothing at all - and that's far more terrible. But prayer is the only remedy for it, and however many devils scurry around inside me, I shall cling to the rope God has thrown me, even if my numb hands can no longer feel it.

God's Rope, Sophie Scholl , Excerpted from Cries from the Heart by Johann Christoph Arnold

If knowing God were merely an intellectual pursuit the above quote would be most pitiable. But knowing God is not merely an intellectual pursuit. Sure, intellect is important—it is, after all, part of God’s creation—but it is not most important. We are dealing with this in the young adult ministry at the church I attend. Two “givens.” One, loving God is something that invades (or should invade) our entire being and given. Two, God has put his people here as just that—his people—a community, not a collection of individuals. Given these truths, what does this sort of love-invaded life look like? How do we as a community—local and global—encourage this sort of love-invaded life? I am beginning to realize that knowing God is a whole lot messier than is commonly thought. I think of incidents like Jacob wrestling the angel; Nicodemas sitting clueless as Jesus explains spiritual reality; Moses terrified before the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob revealed in a burning bush; the people of Israel cowering as Moses enters the deep darkness where God was; Jeremiah weeping as he sees the terrible destruction of Jerusalem; and David mourning the loss of his son--these incidents tell us more about knowing God than we usually care to know.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

A friend of mine wrote something today that is worth thinking about.

Tithing is like the canary in the coal mine. –JS

Now, I know that tithing is not specifically commanded in the New Testament. I know that some folks tend to get legalistic about the whole thing. But my question is this. Could JS be right? Is a failure to tithe a sign that something else is wrong? Is my having to put a reminder in my palm pilot a sign of something deeper?

More on this tomorrow--gotta go run for a bus.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

An entry on What is Christianity? Started me to thinking…

What does it mean to be a people who know God? We toss around the word “know” as if we understand what it means. We say that to “know God” is to have a personal relationship with him. Well, I for one, have a hard enough time having a “personal relationship” with persons I can see, hear, touch, etc. I’m not quite sure how to have a personal relationship with God. I don’t think it means simply to have a trusting relationship with him. The scripture doesn’t seem to allow for something so shallow. The “love” command is found in far too many places in scripture for us to believe such a narrow definition of “know.” The truth is probably hidden in the marriage metaphor (describing God’s relationship with his people Israel) so prevalent in the Old Testament. Saying all this does not release us from having an intellectual knowledge of God. I know of no husband or wife who would be pleased with a spouse who had no idea of the other’s history, priorities, or preferences. But we cannot stop there. Intellectual knowledge is baby stuff compared to relational knowledge. And frankly, relational knowledge takes time. More than a 15 minute “quiet time” offers. (See my 9/20/2002 blog for more thoughts)

Monday, September 30, 2002

I just signed up for the Emergent Convention in San Diego next year. Anyone going?