Friday, August 28, 2009

Comments on Comments

Scot McKnight: Spiritual Eroticism

This link will take you directly to the article that I am going to be commenting on. The main purpose of this post is for you to check out the link and really consider what is being said by the author Scot McKnight.

For those of you who don't have time, or are just to lazy to read then here is the basic "gist" of it, but I guarantee I do it injustice:

We as Christians engage in something that could be called "Spiritual Eroticism". That is to say that we are in love, with being in love with God. I know this might sound a little confusing, but consider it this way. People have begun to "love going to church" because of the way it makes them feel. Our praise music aims to give off an emotion, and we sometimes even read scripture in hopes of obtaining (or re-experiencing) so deep emotional experience. This is not a true love of God.

So, here are my thoughts on that paraphrase of the article:
I would have to say that I agree with McKnight in this instance. I have never read anything else he has written and so I cannot really have any other opinion of him as a writer except for this small article. The point is, I have seen this happen all too often. I have seen people talk about how worship wasn't that great because they didn't "feel" the presence of God there, and I'm sure that I have been guilty of such thoughts before too. I am, after all, human, and so I too make mistakes. Shocking I know.

We (especially those in the south) have come to the point where we love going to church, and singing songs, and perhaps even reading Scripture because we want to get some type of an emotional response out of it. We want to experience that "mountain top" emotion all the time. The problem lies in that we cannot experience this emotion all the time. We would not be able to handle it, and we would take it for granted if we could. Our relationship with Christ is very similar in a lot of aspects to our relationships with our spouse, significant other, siblings, or good friends. You will never feel love for someone all the time. Because of the way our lives run there will be days where you feel so in love with those people, so hopelessly intoxicated (a great liking for good friends) that you can't see any fault with them; and there will be other days where you are having a hard time liking them, much less expressing love. But that is where it proves itself most, because love is not an emotion, it is a decision, and a commitment.

This might be a bit of a stretch, but I don't think you could honestly tell me you think Jesus "felt" love for people the night He was betrayed. He felt fear, he was distressed, so much so to the point of sweating blood (which is a physically possible thing by the way), and yet He chose to love those He was about to die for.

When we look at Scripture we read about what love is. 1 Corinthians 13 talks all about it, and yet not once have I ever read the love is a feeling. Everything listed has been a decision or action taken to show it.

I believe that we need to remember what it is to truly love God.

Grace and Peace.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our Great God

I don't typically post lyrics, but this song really gets to me (in a good way) and I thought I'd share.

Eternal God, unchanging
Mysterious and unknown
Your boundless love unfailing
In grace and mercy shown
Bright seraphim in ceaseless flight
Around your glorious throne
Their voices raised both day and night
In praise to you alone

Glory be to our great God
Glory be to our great God!

Lord, we are weak and frail,
Helpless in the storm
Surround us with your angels
Hold us in your arms
Our cold and ruthless enemy
His pleasure is our harm
Rise up, oh Lord, and he will flee
Before our Sovereign God

Glory be to our great God!
Glory be to our great God!

Let every creature in the sea
And every flying bird
Let all the mountains, all the fields
And valleys of the earth
Let all the moons and all the stars
Throughout the universe
Sing praises to the Living God
Who rules them by His word

Glory be to our great God
Glory be to our great God!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What is Freedom?

I wrote this a few weeks ago before church started... don't know if you will agree with it or not, but I don't typically write to have people agree with me anyway:

Freedom... there is freedom in the promises of God, yet what is freedom? Are any of us truly free? I think it is important to really examine what the word freedom really means, especially considering we, as Americans, value freedom so much. I cannot even begin to describe how often I have heard, "Well, this is America and I'm free to do whatever I want," over the past years. I feel that this is a misguided understanding of freedom, and is most definitely incomplete.

If that statement was true, then there would be no laws, no moral code, and no order to a country that many of us know and love. And if there is no order then we are slaves to our will. We will not learn to control ourselves because there will be no reason to. So, if we are slaves to our will then we cannot be truly free.

Now, put order and law back into the mix. suddenly, there is right and wrong, at least on the worldly standards. there are consequences to every action be they good or bad, and people can rest a little easier because of the law and those who enforce it. This too, I feel, is still an incomplete view of freedom because of our reasons behind our actions. For instance, many of us will choose not to speed while driving not because of some sense of right and wrong and the desire to do right, but because we don't want a ticket, because we like our money (As a side note here, at this "level" of freedom we still do not master ourselves and thus become slaves to addictions, be they food, drugs, alcohol, T.V., etc).

There is one more element I would like to add to this scenario, God. Now, I know many people would consider God to be a form of slavery before freedom because of all the "rules" He puts on His followers, but bare with me. Even though God has commands for His followers, the reason they follow them is not out of a desire to stay out of trouble, but rather out of a desire to please Him. We do it because we love Him, because we want to, and not because we have to. I think that is the heart of true freedom. It requires the denial of self, thus we cannot be slaves to ourselves. We are able to say no to addictions out of love for people and God, and we do not obey the law (or the "rules") out of some notion that we do not want to get caught. I think this is true freedom.

Unfortunately, we as people (and that includes followers of Christ) fall short of this freedom on a daily basis. We do what we want to do for ourselves, we are selfish and proud, we are complete messes. However, that is what makes God's grace and the freedom in that so much sweeter. May we strive to live our lives in true freedom as slaves (by choice) of righteousness.

Grace and Peace