It took me a long time to figure all this out, to understand that even when God is with me, life is not always going to turn out the way I hoped. I knew there would be disappointments and struggles. But part of me still wanted to believe my faith could act like a king sized ibuprofen. I wanted to believe that as long as I knew God was with me, the pain of those difficult moment would be eased.
Category Archives: Life
I think we often treat God like we do a vending machine. When you walk up to a vending machine, you expect to insert the appropriate amount of money, press the correct number or code, and out will pop whatever you were hungry for. The whole process takes about forty-five seconds.
We expect the same thing with God. Maybe not consciously. Maybe we’d never say it. But we still assume that if we do all the right things, say all the right things, and have the right attitude, we can simply press a magic spiritual button and get whatever it is we desire in the moment. We are looking for a quick spiritual transaction that doesn’t necessarily lead to a deeper lever of intimacy but gives us what we want. And like children, we want it now!
A people’s lives are only as good as their worship. The temple in Jerusalem was the architectural evidence of the importance of God in the life of the people. All the lines of life crisscrossed in the temple. Meaning was established there. Values were created there. Worship defines life. If worship is corrupt, life will be corrupt. For fifty-five years lust and violence in the temple had percolated into the streets and homes and villages of the nation. Josiah began by cleaning up the temple.
In the secularizing times in which I am living, God is not taken seriously. God is peripheral. God is nice (or maybe not so nice) but not at the center. When people want help with their parents or children or emotions, they do not ordinarily see themselves as wanting help with God. But if I am going to stay true to my vocation as a pastor, I can’t let the “market” determine what I do. I will find ways to pray with and for people and teach them to pray, usually quietly and often subversively when they don’t know I am doing it. But I am not going to wait to be asked. I am a pastor.
There is a great review of the book at the Internet Monk.
The puzzle is why so many people live so badly. Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly. There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs…
All the same, we continue to have an unquenchable thirst for wholeness, a hunger for righteousness. When we get thoroughly disgusted with the shams and cretins that are served up to us daily as celebrities, some of us turn to Scripture to satisfy our need for someone to look up to….
When we do turn to Scripture for help in this matter we are apt to be surprised. One of the first things that strikes us about the men and women in Scripture is that they were disappointingly non-heroic. We do not find splendid moral examples. We do not find impeccably virtuous models…It refuses to feed our lust for hero worship. It will not pander to our adolescent desire to join a fan club. The reason is, I think, clear enough.
Fan clubs encourage secondhand living…Something very different takes place in the life of faith: each person discovers all the element of a unique and original adventure..The Bible makes it clear that every time that there is a story of faith, it is completely original. God’s creative genius is endless.
I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.
>My computer is causing me all kinds of problems. There is nothing like have an great tool and not understanding it well enough to make it work the way it was designed to run. I think that is how most of us live our lives. We understand somethings but not the whole well enough. Even being in a relationship with God, we are not going to be able to understand it all. That is why we must trust Him.