Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Primates or Dust (via Brian McLaren)

This post from Brian is just too good not to share.

"...the Bible...is not a science textbook. So if I have a disease, I'll consult a medical library. If I am getting sued, I'll consult a legal library. If I'm having trouble in my garden, I'll consult a horticultural library. If I'm interested in the origin of species, I'll consult the literature on evolution. And if I'm on a spiritual journey, I'll consult the biblical library ... They aren't in competition at all - unless we erroneously try to turn them against each other."

A-Freaking-MEN!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jesus, Faith and Doubt (Part II)

Take this cup...

Even Jesus felt fear, despite his faith.

My God, why have you forsaken me?

Even Jesus had doubt, and lost faith.

It honestly makes me wonder if Jesus was forsaken. Nobody talks much about this dying exclamation. Was Jesus hanging there, suffering, realizing, "shit, this was all for not??!" What if, in that moment, he realized there was no God? Or, at the very least, that God is actually nothing like we've personified him to be.

I was raised to understand God as some magical, unrestricted creature. With God all things are possible. I am, very seriously, doubting this statement. No, I am coming to believe that God's power - if "power" is even the right word at all - is limited. It's limited by things like human free will. It's limited by time...changing hearts just can't happen overnight.

In my experience, God is limited by the presence of things. Hurt. Fear. Desire. You can pray and pray for these things to go away, but are sure to feel frustrated months later when they continue to burn as hot as ever. But, with a shifted perspective, it becomes evident that the circumstances around these things are what seem to be divinely orchestrated. There is hope, grace and promise in the divine. But there is no magic wand. Winning millions in the Lotto might set in motion a series of events that leaves you even more broken, hurt, and fearful than you are today. The divine understands this, and instead puts a different set of circumstances in motion to lead you closer to promise. However, today, those mortgage payments that are three months behind are very real and agonizing. The problem with using circumstance to mitigate things is that it is almost always painful in the present.

I have spent months praying for a specific solution. A prescription that I orchestrated in my head that would lead me to my blissful destiny. This "prescription" has been shut down in so many ways it's actually become hilarious. There's a calm freedom in finally realizing it's time to let my own prescription go and be aware of the other circumstances that are setting the stage for something different...something better.

"No," I hear loud and clear, "I won't let you!"

Because I was promised.

We need to change our perspective. Instead of praying for our own prescribed solution (winning the lotto, working for that company, bringing him/her back to us), perhaps it's time to open our hearts and minds to the idea that there is an even better prescription that we can't even begin to understand.