Monday, August 24, 2009

Musty Mustard

Today was a good day.
Not in a bright-sun-sandals-flowers-unicorns sorta way, but in a much deeper way. A day that is the beginning of much better things. A day that marks the passage of many restless nights and an unsatisfied spirit...quite possibly only to usher in more of such nights. For now, I will count myself as satisfied.

Understanding came to me this afternoon over lunch. Friends are truly the greatest blessing a person can have, and it was with a friend today that I was able to talk and work out my mind, if only in part. I realized what the crux of my spiritual questioning has been. Something that it has been rooted in.

I want things to be concrete. I want to know for certain so much about what I believe... but so much about what I believe is so far beyond the human capability for description. Faith is then necessary, or else there really is nothing. On the other hand, I have been compelled that there must be at least something that can really be dug into without hitting the "faith-wall." What are those things? What (explicitly) are those things that require trust alone? Many of my previous questions can be seen as probes into these questions...seeing how far I can go without losing my footing of faith. Today I have been assured that yes, there are things to be taken without any faith at all...but they are small, and far between. Mustard Seeds. I was told there are two such seeds that are readily available. Seeds rooted in the reality that is around us without further insight. Without degrees, doctorates, or doxology.
  1. Community
  2. The Bible
Both rooted in Christ, as manifestations of God's character and action. Of how He is and who He is. Both are very real, and true.

I feel encouraged...for I seem to have reached a new starting point. I will continue my search for more mustard...

Further notes on Faith:

My friend assured me where one finds evidence in support of one thing, contrary evidence will surely be found. Therefore, a faith that is based solely on "evidence" for faith will be weak and fickle...that person could just as easily be persuaded by contrary evidence. Therefore, faith actually is then integral in one's belief in the person of Christ. Without it, you have no sticking power. Easily tossed about as a ship on the sea...

I was given a great analogy as well concerning faith and our understanding of God. My friend has been married for 7 years, known his wife for 9 years and fully aware that she could cheat on him. He has plenty of evidence that she would never cheat on him from all those years together, but he must still take it on faith that she will honor their commitment.

Faith reconciles the truth of her freewill with his knowledge of her character and actions.
The truth of our human condition with our understanding of God.
Pain and suffering with an omnipotent God.
Sin with a loving God.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

What the Devil?

Bumps in the Dark. Not all of them are the Devil at his handiwork, we all know this. Some bumps are merely the result of all those things pack-rats such as I find to cram under of bed shifting around in the absence of light. Surely.

But what of those other bumps? Those things that the Devil does do?

I've heard it dozens of times, the hard things (or trials) we go through in life can be attributed to a number of sources.

  • God testing us. (See the book of Job) This one...I feel I'd like to see less ambiguity on. How are we supposed to know when we're being tested and not receiving pot shots from Satan's firey pea-shooter?
  • The result of "living in a sinful world." Makes sense. People make stupid decisions like ill-directed bomb-shells. When they blow, the "unintended" body count can be staggering.
  • God's Plan. Well, this one is rather all-encompassing...because all is in His plan, as I understand and takes into acount all the above and below.
  • The Devil. (See Ephesians 6)
Difficulty: how are we to decern which is which? I mean, tough times are tough regardless of the source! A death in the family can be spirit-rending regardless of whether you're being tested, or a boozer running his car into them (sin in the world), or Satan's influance. All can be pulled through with His strength. All can be used to build perserverence, and perserverence characher, and character faith etc. The reaction to all trials should be the same: running to the strengh and security and peace of Christ.

So then, what then matters about the distinction? And consequently, what then matters about the Devil?