Jan 082018
 

1. A limited emotional palette is a sign of emotional and spiritual immaturity. If the only two emotions you can express are “happy” and “angry”, seek counseling if you’re over six years old..

2. If reasoned discussion of issues bores you…see #1…

 

3. I wonder if the folks that take Genesis “literally” extend that literalism through the entire book…like where God visits his friend Abraham in person. I think the idea that God speaks “only” through the Bible is like telling your wife that you will be forever mute because you wrote her a letter once…

4. Systematic theology bleeds all the color and relationship our of the Bible…I don’t think the story of Abraham negotiating with God over the fate of Sodom is simply an example of “anthropomorphic” language…

5. My sports thought of the day…Lavar Ball is a cretin.

6. In both the Older Testament and the New, God speaks of “knowing” His people individually and intimately…I wonder if we’ve we’ve created doctrinal formulations that create a comfortable distance in that relationship…

7. I think the biggest lie that I was taught about religion was that “getting saved” was the end of the process…when in reality it’s really the beginning of life in the kingdom…

8. If you don’t know what it means to “do justice and righteousness” your other theological knowledge is lacking…

9. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.(Ezekiel 16:49 ESV)

10. The Bible speaks of both “retributive” justice and “restorative” justice… I think we only understand the former even though all Christians are beneficiaries of the latter…

  35 Responses to “Things I Think”

  1. Most of today’s thoughts seem to be “I am right you are wrong!.”

  2. Was face to face conversation possible before the law? Did the creator walk in the garden with Adam? Did Sarah evesdrop on a spiritual experience her husband had?

  3. MLD,

    These are, as always, things I’m thinking about that will hopefully get other people thinking and conversing.

    I don’t have a ton invested in being “right”.

  4. Good thoughts. I disagree with #3 and 4, but good thinking material none the less.

  5. Richard,

    I can only go by the report of Scripture that God visited and spoke with Abraham…and others.

  6. Josh,

    Flesh out your disagreements a bit…

  7. I think these are wise, humble and excellent thoughts. Thank you for sharing them.

  8. Thanks, JoelG…just working through some things…

  9. the waters of “Things I Think” are getting deeper – pray that we all find the swim restorative and refreshing as we ponder … 🙂

  10. #6 – boy! have we ever done that… course it would be childish to think that God can have One on one with all His children wouldn’t it? we run from the supernatural aspects of our lives in Christ, but considering the exploitation of the supernatural in the last century, perhaps it is a reasonable reaction

    that said, i do think everyone who has accepted the gift of salvation walks a pilgrim walk all their own and we’re not all alike, even tho headed to the same destination, with the same set of norms and standards of the Faith to get us there…

    just sayin… pondering 10 good thoughts… except i don’t know the cretin, so i’ll take Michael’s word on that one 🙂

  11. Em,

    Hopefully, we don’t drown anybody…but I think there’s value in the ponder…

  12. I don’t think it would be childish at all…

    “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
    (Romans 8:29–30 ESV)

    That word “foreknew” mean to know intimately and the whole of Scripture speaks of Gods “knowing” of each of His kids.

    I’ve helped raise a lot of kids…and every one of them required different amounts of attention, love, and discipline…

  13. I think in order to have the “One on one” we need to slow down, cut out the noise/distraction and listen. I think God speaks through the ordinary and if we woukd be quiet and pay attention we will “hear”. Of course anything we “hear” should line up with what’s already been revealed in Scripture.

  14. JoelG,

    Exactly.

    I also wonder how many of us actually have dedicated prayer times…

  15. Being our truest, deepest, wounded and ugly self with God is also extremely important in the relationship. Since He knows us intimately anyway we should share all of it with Him as painful as it can be. Telling Him our deepest secrets and listening is the heart of the relationship.

  16. Lavar Ball is the Mark Driscoll of NCAA and NBA basketball.

    Systematic Theologies are merely extended position papers of one’s theological stance. It seems to me they were an outgrowth of the era of Modernism in which the whole was broken down to be understood by the sum of its parts and the connections between points otherwise dispersed throughout. Context, the hallmark of understanding any document, is nodded at, but largely ignored. Commentaries often die the same painful death. The Bible is a wild beast, not a lap dog.

  17. Does anyone else see the irony of #1??

    Also, #9 is an often-overlooked description. Christians generally define Sodom by one particular sin. But it also indicts selfish prosperity and lack of compassion.

  18. “I think the idea that God speaks “only” through the Bible is like telling your wife that you will be forever mute because you wrote her a letter once…”

    I find this fulling supported in the Scriptures for today:

    “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”

    I would wish every Christian this experience and communication.

    But “speaking” as in “God told me” in audible or written words, dreams or visions, and outside of his Word I would argue against. However, as pastoral practice, I can think of nothing more potentially harmful for the soul of any Christian than encouraging them or affirming them in the idea that they are hearing God speak to them outside his Word.

    There is what I might describe as a communion with God which takes place during meditation in the Scriptures or prayer, where insight and discernment mysteriously take place, and I don’t dismiss that God is working for us in those moments. But can we parse the Spirit’s work from our own spirit’s work?

    However, the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom and the Word of God is complete and comprehensive regarding all spiritual matters pertaining to salvation. Therefore, I don’t see God issuing new communications to Christians regarding their salvation or how they should live as children of God in this life.

    The Holy Spirit has bound himself to the Word of God, and therefore I don’t see Him speaking independently from Jesus.

    Prophets and prophesies, in the Bible, were always raised to serve God’s people, not themselves. Do you really want to encourage people to go around telling other Christians, “thus saith the Lord?”

    I can not see any good coming from this line of thought. Perhaps you can provide some positive examples.

  19. “The Bible is a wild beast, not a lap dog.”
    Amen and amen…

  20. “However, as pastoral practice, I can think of nothing more potentially harmful for the soul of any Christian than encouraging them or affirming them in the idea that they are hearing God speak to them outside his Word.”

    I see few things more harmful than telling people that their experience of and knowledge of God must be mediated through my theological filters as if they were Gods stepchildren…

    “Therefore, I don’t see God issuing new communications to Christians regarding their salvation or how they should live as children of God in this life.”

    I don’t either…but that’s not all there is to life…

    “Do you really want to encourage people to go around telling other Christians, “thus saith the Lord?””

    Nope.

    I want to encourage people to understand that they are in relationship with God and to do those things that further that relationship which has both a personal and corporate application.

  21. This last week I shared a letter with Michael from a dear friend. For 23 years she has been in an enclosed Anglican religious order. She prays eight hours a day. As I said to Michael, “She talks to God and God talks to her…” It’s not “Thus saith the Lord”, or compelling prophecies of the end times. It is a two way conversation of those who love each other. I might add, I knew her before she took her vows. She was already engaged in that conversation even then in the bustle of life in NYC.

  22. Let me give an example of someone “hearing from God” outside of Scripture.
    A couple of years ago T’s mom informed me that she was taking both boys to Germany for alternative treatment for Lyme disease.
    She was utterly convinced that God had shown her this path.
    I was utterly convinced that she was crazy.
    I was going to make one more attempt to instruct her in the way she should go when the Lord clearly told me to shut the hell up.
    They went, were cured, and she was right.
    God had spoken “outside His word” to both of us.
    I’m thankful she listened…

  23. Duane,

    “It is a two way conversation of those who love each other.”

    That’s exactly what I’m talking about…and when you read her correspondence it shows…

  24. By the way, she goes back to Germany on Wednesday with two others to get treatment for herself and them…prayers appreciated…

  25. #23 Michael

    Indeed… There is seldom a time when my wife and I read her letters that at least one of us (usually both) does not tear up…

  26. Question… Is Ball the guy who said that his basketball playing son and friends shoplifting in China was no big thing? It used to be an honor to get into UCLA – a place where smart kids with not so much money could get a good education.
    Ball’s is the kind of parenting that creates adults with entitlement issues. IMHO

    Just sayin….

  27. I’m thanking God today for travel mercies bringing my son home safely from Brazil today in spite of all kinds of flight reservation mix-ups (costly ones dollar wise)… Will join in the prayers for Michael’s family and friends travel and medical care

  28. I just sat through 8 hours of school district-mandated training, so these “things” you’re thinking are a little heavy on the brain. 🤪 Maybe a nap will help.

    Praying for T’s mom and company as they travel in search of healing.

  29. #1&2 – there was a time when I would’ve read those and exclaimed, “Ouch!” Painfully, yet thankfully, Jesus has brought me a little farther along on the spectrum.

  30. #3 – I think because I take it literally, I’ve never even bothered to question whether God’s and Abraham’s encounter was face to face. God had to make provision for Moses to be able to see God in His glory, so perhaps it was similar for Abraham, or He came as the Angel of the Lord. Then again, the text doesn’t say, does it?

  31. I enjoy reading systematic theology, but I get your point. It can lead to a dry place if not balanced. That’s why I like to listen to people like Steve Brown, Chuck Swindoll, Alistair Begg, Costco Cal and Daniel Fusco.

  32. #5…My sports thought of the day…SEC Football is the real religion of the south…man the roads tonight in Georgia are deserted. But you know what? If the Vikes make it to the Super Bowl, and win it against the Patriots (my new prediction), then I won’t criticize people here for being SEC fans.

    #9…A verse that’s missing in all the talk in the church on LGBT issues. Bringing up Ezekiel 16:49 is not a diversion tactic that some may say it is, but it’s brings a more comprehensive view of the reason’s for Sodom and Gomorrah’s demise.

  33. Not only the reasons for their demise, but God is talking to Jerusalem and calling them her sisters….
    Does the Old(er) testament deal principally with nations and hence still have great application and relevancy today? The New testament focuses more on the individual accountability of us, the masses? … ? …

  34. Good questions Em! I have seen the debates online about Government versus individual responsibility and what God calls us to do. Bear’s some thinking.

  35. RE: Michael’s #6 –

    With #3 – I think you are painting literalism and “only” Scripture into too tight of a corner. I don’t think its a fair assessment of what people who hold those interpretations actually believe. But, my actual disagreement is with the analogy. You said: “I think the idea that God speaks “only” through the Bible is like telling your wife that you will be forever mute because you wrote her a letter once…”
    This ignores the idea that Scripture is alive. It isn’t like a regular letter, it continues to speak throughout the ages.

    #4 – “Systematic theology bleeds all the color and relationship our of the Bible.” I disagree in that ST’s have opened my eyes to many different views and truths in Scriptures. Of course, that is plural for me: Systematic theologies. I take a little from a lot of different people and systems.

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