Thursday, October 25, 2007

Simply Christian...

From N.T. Wright's Simply Christian
"Spirituality is all the result of psychological forces, said Freud, such as projecting memories of a father figure onto a cosmic screen. It's all imagination or wishful thinking or both. The fact that people are hungry for spirituality doesn't prove anything. If the call to spirituality that we hear can be interpreted as the echo of a voice, it's one which is lost in the wind as quickly as it comes, leaving us to ask ourselves whether we imagined it or whether, if we really did hear something, it was simply the echo of our own voices. "

Sometimes it seems like people here at ACU and in churches across the country are in constant need of spiritual experience. There is so much talk about our personal relationship with God as if there are actual acts we can participate in that would cause God to be made known in our lives. As if, if we don't feel God's presence in our lives or hear his voice when we call out to him that its our own fault. If we could only get it together/ pray with greater dedication/ listen to the quiet more/ go to church more/ worship more often and with greater vim/ ect... then we would be bff with God. This idea really really irritates the hell out of me.

You see I've been searching for God in every place he might be and in every way I might search but still I haven't had any deep spiritual revelations (other than a realization of frustration with God). I would dare to day that I'm better at most spiritual disciplines than most of my friends who don't seem to be lacking in spiritual experience. I however constantly feel like I am searching for God and am never quite able to find him. I have been met with a great deal of advice from friends and spiritual mentors that are of the school of thought I described above. Most people have advised me that I feel far away from God because I don't want to be near him or I don't search hard enough. This genuinely frustrating and I really don't know what to do with it. It occurred to me that Christians are constantly talking about how we aren't saved by our own righteousness, we are saved by grace because we all have fallen short of the glory of God. We speak out so diligently against judgment of others but then we genuinely believe that we have some sort of control about when and where God shows up. It would seem to me that if our righteousness has no bearing on our salvation because of God's sovereignty, then it would have no bearing on when God makes himself known in our lives. Furthermore the voice of God most Christians are hearing may not even be that, it may be as Wright put it, the echo of their own voice. The old testament is full of examples that illustrate this. Think of Elijah on Mt. Carmel. GOd wasn't in the earth quake or the fire or the wind. He came on his own terms. Moses was running from God when he came across the burning bush. Jonah was ignoring God's command when God swallowed him up. In the same token think about all the Israelites who lived in captivity in Egypt for all those hundreds of years with God nowhere to be found. What about Job and Hosea and David...? If God is sovereign, then why is it so hard for us to believe that he chooses when he makes himself known and that he very well may be absent from our lives. The bottom line is God shows up when and where he wants and there's nothing we can do about it.

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