Archive for December, 2017

Unfiltered if you please.

Posted: December 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

There is nothing the matter with having favorite texts. There is everything the matter with denying the scriptural truth because I prefer it not be there. There is nothing wrong with having a preferred way to phrase or summarize sacred truth. There is everything wrong with dropping my jaw when someone uses the sacred terms and categories to speak. Such a reaction shows that it is the word I have been conforming to my conception, and not my conceptions to the word.
Scripture is timeless. Fads are not. Therefore, when I first started listening to old sermons and heard a preacher refer to the children of Satan, all sorts of caricatures of  what my generation calls “religious people” (a phrase that had a positive sense in English until the last generation) who have no idea that our God is a god of Love comes to mind.
How are we to reconcile what we find in scripture with a God of Love? After all, can we not simply dismiss any text that seems unloving as wrongly interpreted because “God is love?” Sadly this is the default approach that tends to be taken. But if we are finding scriptural ideas that we have to reconcile with our idea of Love, it is our idea of Love that must be adjusted and not the word of God. I do not get to define Love in my own way and then alter my idea of God to fit that. God’s testimony about who he is and what he has done, if the Bible does summarize his character as love, must change my idea of what love is.
Instead, we find ourselves in a soft universalism. Hardly anyone will actually say every person is redeemed and going to heaven, but they will speak and teach as if that is what God is trying to do and is only prevented by some outside force. It allows us to believe that this is a God who saves anyone and everyone he can… but he just can’t.
I choose to call it a mystery, because I can’t handle what love is. But no longer can I resist the force of it. I have not dwelt the mysteries of the universe, but I think they may not be mysteries at all. At least for the most part. The answers are straightforward we simply do not like them and resist.
But I digress. It is not only that the idea I had of love does not match what I read, nor does it match what I have experienced. How long will I walk in this real world with a real God who has not responded as I believe a loving God should, and not realize that his idea of love must be radically different than my own? I can either continue to keep believing that there is some profound mystery, that God loves me as I define love I just need to wait for some deeper understanding. Or realize that.
Look, this is not a triumph. But one day praying for the millionth time… and since it has been many times an hour every day since I was a teenager it may well be a million… I realized I may be at a crossroads. I am caught between two options. The God who is and my idea of God. God as I want him to be and the one who knows me.
There is no other God. There are not as many Gods as there are ideas of Love. It is one idea Love that is correctly applied to He who Is.  The God who raised pharaoh up just to show his glory by destroying him: the God of love. The God who declared that Judas was destined to perdition: the God of love. The God who bore with vessels of wrath just  |to more abundantly make known his glory to vessels of mercy, the God who at those very moments I thought surely if God is anything like he is, he would act now, he did not. That is real Love, the love at the basis of all reality.
That is the choice, I can keep believing that the God I want is there and just hasn’t shown himself yet. Or, I can decide that I must have wrong ideas about him and decide to follow the reality. There is a comfort in holding on to the belief that the world or God is as you want him or it to be, despite all evidence. But it is a numbing comfort, and I just can’t keep it up. I’m sure the worst parts of me will try to, but I don’t get to design a God I like to believe in no more than I can any other part of reality.  It may give me some emotional comfort, some disconnection from the emotional impact reality has like fantasizing in my head that I can fly,  but is useless for any real growth towards eternity.

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