Friday, March 2, 2012

Go outside, 'cos the roof is in the way!

When Abram parted with Lot having allowed him pick the choicest land to avoid conflict, and having not yet received the fulfilment of God's promise to give him an heir, Abram was feeling pretty dejected.

"Then God led Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky. There are so many stars you cannot count them. Your descendants also will be too many to count.”" (Genesis 15:5 NCV)

All too often, we become so insular that we lose sight of the real purpose of the Church, preferring instead to gather together under the safety and familiarity of our church "roof," and sing songs that promise a brighter tomorrow.

The reality is though, that in order to remind ourselves of God's purpose and promises we must "go outside." We must be willing to follow God outside of the boundaries of our comfortable church "roof" because only then can we "see" what He's trying to get us to see.

So go outside, 'cos the roof is in the way!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The virtue of doubt and the unknown

The Biblical story of the three Hebrew Boys appeals to our religious sensibilities primarily because the story ends in their deliverance from the perils of the fiery furnace. Sadly, we fail to see the actual point of that story: their willingness to admit the unknown.

They affirmed that God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, but also affirmed that they didn't know for a fact that He would, but that that unknown would not affect their decision or commitment to their cause and to their God.

One of the true measures of our maturity in the journey of faith is our willingness to admit to doubts and the unknown, and not feel the need to state the certainty or guarantee that things will always turn out the way we want or expect them to.

On the cross, Jesus didn't doubt God's existence (My God, my God), but He questioned--and by extension doubted--God's unwavering presence around him (why have You forsaken me?) to Identify honestly with "The suffering of the cross," we must be willing to step over the edge of an approach to religion that suggests that everything will turn out okay if we just have enough faith.

We must be willing to abandon the security blanket that masquerades as trust in God, while it really is a trust in a religious system that promises things the Scriptures don't. We must be willing to embrace doubt and the unknown as part of our journey of faith, especially because, if we're being honest with ourselves, we wrestle with those feelings often but simply refuse to own up to them in a bid to fit the expectations of the religious system.