“I know. I was there.
I saw the great void in your soul, and you saw mine.”
This is new. I’ve never been a Sunday blogger. And I’m not about to be your pastor, priest, or theologian. The heart behind Sunday’s Reflections is not me getting religious, pious, or cleric. It’s actually me doing what I’ve done for years…
Meshing the intangible ideas of faith with everyday life.
I’ve been told that’s what I do best.
Sunday is not the important word here. You can read this anytime, just as you can worship anytime. I was reminded again in Mark, by Jesus Himself, who said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” The Pharisees couldn’t get enough of the nit-picking. All they cared about was finding the loopholes in Jesus’ actions and teachings.
I admit, my own temptation at the start of Sunday’s Reflections is to brush up on theology, break-out the thick commentaries off the shelf, and arm my point with rock solid arguments taken directly from Scripture. I’m ready for the Pharisee!
Well, guess what? I’ve decided not to write to you. You may run off to church.
I choose to be here for the one who stands on the fringe. I am more passionate than ever about the person who has not found their church home. The one who has been hurt by a church experience, or is just tired of stage, show, and coif. Trust me, I’m not bashing church. I’m there while this posts. But I refuse to bury my head to the fact that the gap between the unbelieving world and the believing world is not closing through our programs, books, and events.
I have no idea how, but God is clearly asking me to blaze a new trail in order to help bridge a gigantic gap. So no, I’m not going to preach. I’m going to share my heart and feelings. I’m going to share what is written on my yellow legal pad while I read the Scriptures by themselves.
Reflection is the dialogue.
I choose to reflect longing. Doubt. Questions. Confusion. I dare to expose the void of my soul. I fully understand the danger of this if left on my own, but with Sunday’s Reflections, I have the Bible by my side.
These posts will be my authentic journey through reading the entire Bible in a year.
I am not choosing mastery. I am not choosing cross-reference and backed up arguments. I am choosing thought, consideration, and testimony. Believe me, it has been a fight to get out of my Americanized, middle-class, church-going, Christian head in order to take a bird’s eye view of the Bible. Reading three chapters a day does not lend itself to in-depth study.
This is not expository learning.
This is not Bible study.
This is Reflection.
I am allowing myself, and those who choose to join me, the freedom to look honestly and intimately with the God of the Bible and with our own humanness.
Enough introduction. Here’s my first question from reading Genesis 1-6.
Is God conflicted?
And , if so, how can a conflicted God be God?
Chapters 1-3 of Genesis reveal a God in complete control of creation. The resounding term that kept jumping out at me was, “And it was so.” It reminds me of a parent who doesn’t have to explain their decision to a child. Because Mom says so. But just like children grow into teenagers, God’s life becomes complicated once mankind functions within the created world.
In the past, I would have let this idea of a conflicted God trouble me. This thought would have caused me to question His credibility, or at least the validity of the Bible. This is actually part of my story (if you want that story in full, my book covers it). I grew up in a Lutheran church, more out of tradition than knowing Him in relationship. But sometimes sacred events, like a confirmation and brand new Bible, brings out conviction. This happened to me and that first night after confirmation I vowed to read my Bible every night.
That promise lasted 72 hours.
I probably sensed this conflicted God thought, but my memory clearly remembers reading Genesis 4:17, “Cain lay with his wife.”
Where did she come from? I’d been tracking up until this point and had only counted four people–Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel. Now remember, this is not an expository blog. The answer to this question is not the point.
The point is that I chose to close my Bible during that doubt. I didn’t look inside for a decade.
Because I’m so enlightened, right? I’m capable on my own. I can conquer life without a conflicted God. Again…you gotta read my book to laugh with me now. I became my own god. I still do it today. We all do.
But two decades later, simply because of God’s grace, I can ask the question and keep reading. I can go on a journey with a God who awed me with His creation in Genesis 1-3, but quite suddenly entered the room with me while reading chapters 4-6. This is not of me. This is of God. This is part of miracles and journey’s. Messes. Fixes. Failures and progress. This is Adam and Eve. Noah. Abram. Jacob. Tamar. The book is crazy and incredible.
In my youth I wanted a God who commanded. I didn’t want to doubt that God because I had so many other doubts. I also needed an authority-someone to say, Because I said so. But just as parents should slowly move from commanding (but loving) authorities in a child’s life, we move in beside them as they walk into adulthood.
The Bible is this. It’s a walk.
My summary of Genesis 1-6?
Rather than feel confused by a God who seems to shift from commanding to conflicted, I see One involved.
One willing to continue on in a messy, unfolding plan.
I see a God who feels sure enough to offer free will.
I see Someone who commanded light, and yet joins me in my chair, trusting me with the chance to choose…
Sunday’s Reflections…we’ve only just begun!
Extra note: If the Pharisee in you is dying to know what I believe about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, feel free to read my Statement of Faith.
Kim’s signature closing:
Welcome new readers, and those well loved! My deepest desire is for you to know Jesus real. He is not just a positive thought, a model to follow, or a comfortable space to hear love. He is life. Adventure. He can be the very air you breathe with just one decision. I never knew Him until I ended up sitting on a dirty field in India. He met me there, and that gripping tale of redemption is found in my life’s work: The Chance to Choose: Become Who You Were Meant to Be One Choice At a Time. I’d love all my reader’s to know the story. It is there where you’ll understand me, and the One I serve, best. Click on printed/signed copy, or Kindle version (also available on Nook and Apple iBook) to purchase, and if you need more, check out the book trailer below:
Photo Credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)