Why the rocks cry out

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I posted again on Making-Space, this time on God’s words to Abraham, that all the people of the earth would be blessed through him.

In this post, I briefly mention my hangup with the term predestination, how it bothered me for years. It felt funny to write that, because it is such an understatement. I re-read the paragraph and thought of all the times the word had “bothered” me. There was the time I threw the book on the five points of Calvinism across the room. The times I didn’t sleep at all, because I couldn’t wrap my mind around how God could be like that. The times I felt paralyzed by the fact that every thing is this world was ordained, and that no matter what I did, things would work out as they were predestined to. The times I reread Romans 9 over and over and over again and tried to make sense of it. The times I listened to songs about God’s glory and thought “I hate his glory. Who finds glory in sending people to hell just because?”

Or the time I read Clark Pinnock’s book, Most Moved Mover, and felt like someone had given me a cold glass of water in the midst of a vast, unending desert. I drank and I drank and I drank, and I thought “maybe God is good after all.”

I can now look at certain definitions of predestination and think, “of course God is not like that.” But back then, I was terrified of being wrong. What if he was like that? Could I still follow him? I knew I couldn’t, and that was the hardest part.

This past year has included a lot of re-evaluating my pictures of God. During my counseling session on Monday evening, I was asked if I felt like God was punishing me through our infertility. I thought about it just to make sure, but I could honestly respond that I don’t. I talked about how sure I was that he is not behind all the bad things that have happened, how I know that he weeps with me, how I know he is for me and by my side.

For so many years, I felt trapped by beliefs that didn’t make sense. I still believe plenty of things that don’t make sense logically (resurrection will never be logical), but they all make sense in my heart. They all make me feel free to run in this kingdom full of grace and compassion and unending love.

I am enjoying the Gospel these days, because it now looks Good News. I finally get why the rocks would cry out about this God.

Making Space

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Today, I am over at Making-Space, posting my thoughts about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our church is going through through The Story over the next 31 weeks, and Tom has been working hard to launch this blog to accompany it. I’m excited about contributing to it over the upcoming months.

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In Chapter 1 of The Story, we learn of Adam and Eve, created and placed in the garden of Eden. They are beloved by God, walking in partnership with each other and with him. And they are free to eat of any fruit in this garden, except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

It’s hard to understand why eating fruit was such a big deal. Why was this certain tree off limits? It was just a piece of fruit, and it seems unnecessary for God to restrict them from eating of it. But eating a particular fruit wasn’t the issue, it was what Adam and Eve wanted from it. This tree symbolized the sin which plagues humanity: the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve wanted to see like God. They wanted to be like God. They wanted to judge like God.

Today, we are plagued by our need to see and think like God. We want to know the details on every failure around us. Why did the celebrity couple divorce? Who cheated on who? Why is the homeless man on the street corner every day? Can’t he get a job? And we don’t just want to know, we want to pronounce our judgment on the goodness or evilness of the things we see. We think we know how these people should behave. We think we have the answers.

The serpent told Adam and Eve that eating of the tree would make them see like God. But this was a lie, and when their eyes were opened, they saw but a blurry and distorted version of how things really are. They could only focus on their own nakedness and their need to blame another. And today we, too, think we have clear “good and evil” glasses. But all we can really see is our own brokenness, and all we can really do is blame another person for the evil in the world.

Head here to keep reading!

P.S. Thanks to everyone who read and commented on my post yesterday. It meant a lot.

Good Friday: The Way of Peace

Photo Credit: TheRevSteve via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: TheRevSteve via Compfight cc

As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Mark 15:1-5

Against the violence of the empire, Jesus stood quietly, embodying nonviolence and humility. He responded vaguely to questions of his identity and silently to the accusations of wrongdoing.

If there was ever a time for violence, this was it. Ever a time for pride or boasting, this was it. But instead, Jesus responds with silence. He willingly bears the shame and humility, refusing to respond with equal vengeance.

Today, amidst the violence of our world, may we contemplate ways to be agents of change in the way that our humble king was. May the “things that make for peace” become our way of life.

And may we remember that all followers of Jesus are called to die with him, to take up our cross and sacrifice our lives for this upside down Kingdom of God.