Monday, February 27, 2012

I believe something weird

Yesterday a well meaning and good man asked me a question that was harder to answer than I thought. As such, I've been thinking about it for the whole day today. He asked me if I believe in anything weird. I do.

I believe that there is a God. A being bigger than me, bigger than this universe, bigger than time, and active in all those things.

I believe that this God created the universe, this world and me. He created it in the perfect time and perfect order according to his will. That's weird. He did it all for his own glory and that wasn't arrogant. It was, in fact, quite natural for him and loving, too. That's weird.

He created people and put them in this universe on this world. He created us in his own image, male and female, both. That's weird enough, but that image has power as it carries with it the rights and responsibility to represent him in this world. That's weird.

Do I believe anything weird? I believe that all those made in his image are also flawed. Not flawed in the way he made us, but flawed in the way that we think we can make ourselves as powerful and knowledgable as God himself. We are flawed despite being the image of a perfect God. That's weird.

I believe that all people are made for relationship, but, in those relationship, our natural actions are often destructive. We tend to destroy our relationship with the loving God who created us, and we tend to destroy our relationships with the people around us. We do that because the thing that we need most--love--is overrun by the thing that we want most--power. That's weird because if we love God and love people, God's power will enable us to do much more than all the power of this world could ever enable us to do.

I believe that the best way to love someone, no matter you gender, age or position is to submit to the other person. Humility is always more strengthening than self confidence. That's weird and seems like foolishness to most people, but God says and demonstrates that it is wise.

I believe that the fix for all broken relationships--between people and God and between people and other people--comes through God, and the fact that God, who is not man, became a man, humbled himself to the lowest point of manhood, submitted to the will of the worst kind of men, and died because of it. That's really weird.

I believe that the dead man, who was God, didn't stay dead, but, on his own power, came back to life. That's weird because how does something that is dead (powerless?) have the power to do the impossible? I don't know. Yes, it is weird. But I believe it because I've experienced it.

I believe that I am a testimony of that power, because I am dead on my own. I have no power within me. I have killed myself in my own selfishness, but I see God making life out of my death. I see God making strength out of my weakness. The new strength within me are not mine to use for me, but mine to give to other people. It isn't mine, because it belong to God, Spirit and the to those on earth that he has call, the Church. When I think they are mine, I use them in the wrong way and they become weaknesses to me. This whole thing about my strengths being my weaknesses and my weaknesses being my strengths is really weird, and o so frustrating.

I believe that events that are best for me are the ones that I most like to avoid. Pain is a path to growth, but seldom do I grow from being comfortable. Still, I almost always want to be comfortable. It is for that reason that I believe that the people who should be given the most attention in this world are the lowest one, the poor, the handicapped, the disenfranchised, and the children. The natural tendency is to want to learn from those who have become strong on their own power, those who run big organization and have powerful jobs or write important books, but more often we can learn from the simple people in this world if we stop to listen to them and experience the place where they live. That's weird and doesn't sell real well.

I do believe some weird stuff.

I believe that a husband, long before they even considers telling his wife that he's in charge and she should listen to him, should give 100% of his love and even his life for his wife because that is what God did for him. I believe long before church leaders demand followers follow them, they should sacrifice all that they have for those who would be their followers. I believe that men in the churches should do everything to help women and children in their company to use every gift that God gives them to empower them for doing what God would have them to do. I believe that a father's first responsibility is to give his children hope that they would not be bitter. That's uncomfortable, and weird.

At the same time, I believe that children need to honor their parents through obedience, not obedience demanded, but obedience taught and demonstrated. A wife need to submit to her husband, not because her husband demands it, but because it is right. A woman in the church needs to submit to men, not because it is a commandment, but because it will bring peace. That's weird too. Shouldn't women and children have just as much right to demand their rights? They should. But everyone's rights are more quickly served when everyone is looking out for the good of other people. Men should be loudly demanding the rights be given to women and children. That's weird.

I believe that even with all of this kind of thinking and teaching, people will inevitably be selfish and act in ways that are destructive. But that doesn't faze God. The free will of people (and I believe that humans all have completely free wills) will never disrupt the perfect plan of God. It will make his plan keener and wiser. That's weird because we think like people, not like God.

I believe that God's perfect plan is to destroy this world as we know it and raise up a new, perfect world. I don't know what that means, because I'm not God, nor has he made humans privy to the fullness of knowledge of what that mean. Again that’s weird.

At the same time, he promise that in his lovingness he will judge all people. We are all guilty and the penalty of this guilt is death and torment. I don't know what that means either, because it's too big for me to know. Still, it doesn't sound good. It sound weird. But in God's perfect and glorious ways, I believe that it will be holy and good.

Not everyone gets that judgment. Not because anyone is worthy of something else. None of us are. Those who don't get that judgment are those who chose to have faith in the work of Jesus done on the Cross. That sure seems like a weird way for me to escape judgment, but I believe that it does. Weirder yet is that it all happens because I chose to follow Christ because he chose for me to follow him. I don't get that. It's weird. But I believe it.

I believe that those who are chosen won't go to some far off place called heaven. They we stay no earth. But not like this earth. It will be a new earth, or a renewed earth. It will be glorious. Weird? Yes. And we won't be in some angel like bodies or even ghostly bodies. We will be in these bodies. These bodies will be made new, and perfect. Even if the body has already be destroyed, God will make it new again. I can tell you, that's weird.

I believe all this weirdness because I'm a testimony of the fact that it is true. I have experience the transformation that tells me it is true, but not just because I am a testimony. I believe it because God has preserved his specific testimony in a special way. That testimony, the story of God and his love, is the Bible. It is whole and complete and always good for teaching me and all other people who God is and how each of us belongs in his story.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

This doesn't leave much doubt

Nothing can separate us from God's love. 

‎"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:38-39