Friday, January 27, 2012

This week has been invigorating. I don't think there really is any other word for it.

For the past three days I've been able to delve into some deeper conversations with friends than I have been able to do in months. Tuesday a friend and I discussed an idea concerning a historical Jesus, which had started because of a misunderstanding of what he had said a week or so prior. While neither of us agreed with the idea, it led to some good conversation.

Every Wednesday, my brother and I meet around lunch time for about an hour as "blood with blood working through life". This past Wednesday was full of questions from myself and from him that we were able to go back and forth on, and I believe it lead to some answers even though all we got out of it was more questions.

And then, yesterday, I got to spend an hour with a friend I haven't seen in several months. We spent some time catching up but we ended up having some good discussion time as well, which is something I've always tended to do with him, so while it was expected it was still awesome and I was sad to leave it so soon (stupid parking meter!).

So, this week has been a week of energizing my spirit, and perhaps even some healing.

I sometimes forget how important connection through conversation is to the human soul. To explore philosophy, theology, science, etc., just for the sake of exploring it. No agenda and no plans, but enjoying the discovery and the sheer adventure of just letting your mind wander.
In other words, at least for me, Intellectual stimulation is just as important as being shown affection. It's a part of what makes me tick.

Starting two new books this week: The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight, and Daring by Paul Louis Cole. One was given to me as a gift, the other was encouraged for the purposes of discussion with others. From what little I've read of both, I think I can learn quite a bit from these books. I suppose reading books like this is another way to intellectual stimulation, but nothing really beats talking with people.

I'm trying to consistent post more often. I'm hoping that more than not these posts will spurn on getting our minds thinking.

Other times though, like this post, it will probably just be small updates on how my book is going, or how I'm processing through some things. Since most if not all of my readers are people I don't talk to as often as I'd like or family, then this side of posting won't necessarily be a bad thing. It's just not my preference.

That being said, I'll leave with this question.

What is Intellectual Stimulation in regards to how you operate?

Grace and Peace

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thoughts on a Challenge

I know it’s been a while since I posted, but I haven’t really had a whole lot of time. Here is a much belated Happy New Year wish.

Now, down to the reason I am posting.

I have a constantly growing list of books I want to read. Some have been impromptu, some have been suggested, and some have been directly given to me. The book that I am currently working on in that list is called Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldridge.

I have found this book to be very challenging. While the tone he sets in this book has a “conservative” feel to it, he doesn’t really touch on any of the “conservative” beliefs. In fact, most of the book isn’t based on any traditional doctrine at all. Really, it is quite fascinating.

The basic premise of the book is discovering/re-discovering who Jesus really was. His personality is so skewed by what he calls “religious fog” and it is time we get back to how Scripture shows him to be: playful, fiercely intentional, most human of all, extravagantly generous, disruptively honest, scandalously free, cunning, humble, true, and beautiful. Seriously, no matter where you are in your relationship with God, I would suggest this read if you haven’t read it already.

I’m not quite done with the book, but like I said before, it has proven to be challenging. The challenge I want to touch on right now would be this concept of “Forgiving God”. If you are like me, the first thought you just had is, “God doesn’t need our forgiveness.” No, he doesn’t. However, I’m sure that there are many of us who need to forgive him. I think everyone has something that they are mad at God about, something they resent him for, are angry about, and even blame him for. In order to truly reconcile ourselves to God, the author proposes (and I agree with him), we need to forgive him of those things we blame him for. While God has never wronged us, we often feel wronged by God anyway.

“If God really loved me, he would take away my school debt.”

“If God really loved me, he wouldn’t have let my grandfather die from cancer.”

“If God really loved me, he wouldn’t have let me grow up in an environment where I felt worthless.”

“If God really loved people, then his followers wouldn’t be the most hateful to those who are different.”

Pain, brokenness, shame, anger; every one of us has a story. I haven’t discovered what I need to forgive God for yet, but I don’t have a doubt in my mind that if I look far enough inward I’ll probably find a few things. Maybe I’ll find a lot of things.

What are some things you blame God for?

Is it something minor? Is it a deep wound?

What does it mean to forgive God?

What is keeping you from forgiving him?

Interestingly, Jesus has always been very personal and intimate with his disciples or anyone else who has approached him.

In reverence we will pray to our “Almighty and Everlasting Father” which isn’t wrong, but Jesus came to us and said, “Abba, Father”. In today’s terms, “Papa, Dad”

Can you imagine going to church and hearing someone say, “Papa, we want you to come be with us.”

Suddenly, God has gone from some distant, uncaring being to whom we pay tribute, to someone who is intimately close and intensely aware of you everything you are.

I think sometimes our idea of reverence and respect for God get in the way of our hearts being open to what he really wants to do in our lives. We close ourselves off with jargon, lofty ideas, and good intentions. I have no doubt in my mind that when we use these reverent terms many of us have every intention of showing God respect, but it limits him.

Think about Peter, a disciple who loved Jesus so intensely and so passionately. When Jesus made a move to wash his feet, Peter protested out of reverence to Jesus. Immediately, Jesus told Peter, “that is not the way this works.” Jesus never wanted to be held back from doing what he needs and wants to do in our lives.

I think I have started rambling, so I’m going to stop this post here.

Still, I hope this has provided some provoking thoughts. I hope it sits uncomfortably with you. I hope you find it as challenging as I have.

Grace and Peace.