IMonk posted a very interesting message concerning God’s will and knowing it. See it here.
My tiny contribution there is this:
This post is a more eloquent description of one of the reasons why I reject most if not all of evangelicism.
God is not some big vending machine in the sky so that if we deposit enough coin (faith, tithes, obedience, etc.) then push button B and 6 God is obligated to give us our Twinkies (put your own desires in here).
God is sovereign.
The only clue I have as to His will are the very simple things that are told us in scripture.
To paraphrase Jesus, be nice to each other and worship God above all others.
To paraphrase Paul, go tell other people.
I won’t be putting out any fleeces or any of the other gyrations to know God’s mind. I can’t know it.
I can trust God’s mind.
So I am free to live and move within that mind of God without the constant struggle to make sure I’m making all the steps 1 through 12a to live.
Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty free at last.
Strangely, thinking about this has led me to at least the beginnings of another answer in my life.
I don’t want to be a Roman Catholic.
I am certainly attracted to the beauty, tradition and majesty of the Roman church.
But, believing as I have stated above, how can I be apart of a fellowship that teaches that if I confess to a priest and say 10 Hail Mary’s then my sin of lusting after a new guitar is expiated?
I realize that is an unfair simplification but it is what it is.
This leaves me with rejecting both orthodoxy in most forms and absolutely rejecting the evangelical church.
What’s a fellow to do?
Constructive comments welcome.
Last week we buried my father-in-law.
He was my father-in-law and my friend.
He was a remarkable man in many ways and a very simple man in other ways.
He was quick witted and quick tempered.
He was cruel and he was kind.
He was a war hero who refused to discuss it but in other ways one of the most vain men I have ever met.
I loved him.
About 3 weeks before his passing I had an opportunity to talk with him alone for couple of hours.
The conversation veered from the profane to the divine.
He told me many things I will remember but one stands out.
He said he was not ready to go yet. He put it this way,” I have not seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet but when I do I know where I am going.”
His faith was uncomplicated.
Believe and you are saved.
I will miss his jokes and music and wisdom.
I am comforted knowing that he is with the Lord and no longer suffering.
God bless you Glen and thank you for the beautiful daughter and the genes you added to my beautiful children and grandchildren.
Now rest a bit and then pick up your D28 and play some old time country gospel. I’m sure Jesus will enjoy it. I always did.
I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.
I am at an age (56) that finds me, my wife and siblings and my friends at another of the crossroads of life.
We are not necessarily looking forward any longer. We are not dead (yet) and yet in truth we know that the better part of our time here is gone.
Older relatives and friends are passing.
Our parents are changing before our eyes.
Those stalwarts of strength and stability are now frail and in need of us.
The mother who just yesterday was so vivid and alive is tired and cannot remember conversations, dates and times.
The father who has always taken such pride in his independence and ability to take of af things can no longer climb the roof and work all day repairing shingles.
Brushes with death are becoming common.
We all knew these times would come but had hoped against hope that they would be forestalled somehow. That our parents would be the exceptions. The ones who lived to 105 and still were healthy and awake.
It is not to be.
Nor should it I suppose.
We have a time allotted to us here on this earth and the we must “shuffle off this mortal coil.”
So we self absorbed and spoiled baby boomers must both care for our parents and learn to be the patriarchs and matriarchs for our children and grandchildren.
Rather than fight the inevitable it is now my hope that when the time comes that they can with grace and dignity lay down their burdens and lie in the arms of our loving Saviour and hear,”Well done my child. Rest now.”
Today, not for the first time, I was cut off in traffic and rudely signaled by a person with the “Christian” symbol on their car.
I was not going slow. I was actually above the speed limit but apparently not fast enough, in the right lane, for this soldier of Christ.
Ladies and Gentlemen. If you are going to put a piece of plastic on your car to make some kind of statement about your supposed spirituality then please be mindful that you are anonymous and it is not your good name that is being slandered by your behavior.
Lose the plastic. Your life of Christ-likeness will be a much bigger testimony than the piece of signage on your car.
I really think folks do it just to proclaim whose side they are 0n in the culture wars.
By the way, I find the Darwin fish-eating symbols to be even more offensive and idiotic. What is your point? that you are smarter or some other conceit? that symbol has only one purpose. To offend and belittle.
Back to Christians.
Either be perfect or take the fish off the car. At the least try to obey traffic laws and common decency.
This past Easter weekend two of my dearest friends were formally taken into the fellowship of the Catholic Church.
This in and of itself is a little amazing but not shocking given that many evangelicals and former evangelicals are moving towards Orthodoxy in one form or another.
There are, however, a few things that I believe make this extraordinary at least for me.
Bryn and Sandra befriended my wife and me many years ago when we were perhaps not newly minted Christians but were certainly not deep in the faith.
Bryn in particular was and is a mentor to me as well as my friend.
I want you to imagine that person or one of those people that were there for you and helped guide you through the early days of your walk with Christ or “the Christ” as Bryn is fond of saying, becoming Roman Catholics. Think of it.
Those of you who are regular readers of the internetmonk have watched and in some detached way seen what Michael Spencer, an ordained Southern Baptist minister and educator has gone through during his wife’s conversion the Roman church.
Bryn was one of three older men who mentored and were spiritual guides for me.
Bryn and another dear and departed friend lead my brother and me to a men’s spiritual retreat and training that I still look back upon with deep appreciation for the many lessons learned.
Both of the other men have now gone on to be with the Lord.
Bryn and Sandra also opened their home to us and several other couples for a home bible study/worship service that to this day has not been equaled in my experience for its depth and warmth.
These are not flighty church jumpers.
Bryn is a 71 year old semi-retired architect and Sandra has raised two beautiful daughters as well as put up with Bryn for a long, long time.
Sandra, being clearly much younger, could possibly be looked upon as doing something out of the impetuosity of youth. Bryn has no such excuse.
I spoke to both of them at some length last week and the single question I had was this.
Both talked at some length about things that they liked or didn’t like about the churches from their past and their new church home.
They both talked to some degree about the theology and apologetics.
When it finally got down to the basic truth they both were looking for authenticity in their worship experience.
This is a reason that reverberates with me.
This is reason I understand I believe many evangelicals can identify with.
Our churches and the worship experience have turned into extravaganzas and circuses meant to attract the “unchurched” and entertain the masses.
I wish my friends all of the happiness and blessing possible in their new spiritual home.
They may soon be joined.
A couple of weeks ago we buried the mortal remains of my last uncle that was still alive on my father’s side of my family.
Uncle Thomas was 82 years old when he died of a heart attack.
He was a rancher. He was still working his cattle about 3 years ago on an ATV and had an accident from which he should have died but never fully recovered either.
When I was a child he was our neighbor.
I never remember hearing one cross word out of him for any child except for a mild scolding if we frightened his sheep.
He raised with his wife Vera four daughters. Two older than me and twins a little younger. I can’t imagine raising four girls.
As we sat in the church waiting to carry his casket out into the cold rain I heard of another side of my uncle.
The pastor who officiated over the service spoke of how Thomas and Vera never missed a Sunday.
He spoke of their faithfulness in giving both of their money and their time.
He spoke of how my uncle was a big man physically, mentally and spiritually.
He told of how when the church was facing a problem he could go to Thomas and a few others and always depend on sound and reasoned advice.
He was never going to the pastor and griping about this or that it wasn’t his style or in his personality. But he was there and faithful when needed.
One of his daughters rebelled and was lost for a time to us when many of us were lost during the 60’s.
She came home from California with a beautiful son who is now a wonderful man in his own right.
The girls are all successful on many levels some extraordinarily so.
He leaves his daughters and several grandchildren and even some great-grandchildren as a legacy.
He leaves his wife of over 60 years alone for the first time in all those decades since WWII.
He leaves my dad who idolized his older brother and two sisters both older.
He leaves my brothers and I and other cousins with the empty place that Uncle Thomas was in our lives especially as children.
He was a quiet man with a dry wit much like my grandfather.
No flash, no loudness. He didn’t question his place in the world or his relationship with God. He accepted both as normal and lived.
He was not famous nor do I think he would have wanted it.
He was not rich so to speak but he and his did not want. He worked hard every day. Physical work.
He lived a good life.
He was a good man.
We should hope that as much can be said about us when the time comes.