In Paul’s letter to the fellow believers in Rome he ask a rhetorical question,“Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” I have seen this verse used time and again to prove God is Sovereign of the evil and the good. That it’s all planed out from beginning to end including those merely playing the villans role. Thank God the bible is full of actual stories that contradict this idea of God as puppet master.
Choice it seems is built into the biblical narrative from the very first story told of Adam and Eve. As Dr. Michael Lodahl put so well in his book (The Story of God) “Scripture Testifies of God not only as the Creator of all things but also the One who has lovingly, compassionately, and freely entered into covenantal relation with the creation.”
Paul’s question rhetorical question is actually taken from the book of Isaiah and not as some might think from the mind of Augustine and Calvin.
You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
“You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
“You know nothing”?
But let us answer Paul’s rhetorical question with one big affirmative Yes!
Wrestle With God just like Job did over Gratuitous Evil.
Wrestle With God just like Abraham who argued with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Wrestle With God just like Moses did over his Identity at the burning bush, or as Moses defended others in the face of God’s judgment.
Wrestle With God just like Jacob did over the course of your life and refuse to let go.
Wrestle with God in the Garden as Jesus did, until the Leap of Faith is Required.
Wrestle With God
Wrestle with God until He touches you
and gives you a New Name,
but know this most of the time the God you are really wrestling with,
is the god of your own understanding.
The Islamic, Zen, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Anybody JESUS.
The other day I made a New Friend in Saudi Arabia and it has prompted me to meditate harder in an area I was already flowing in.
Our form of Christianity in America and therefore how we reflect JESUS to the world is to over the top, in your face, bigger is better.
Everything about Faith in America is a Circus with various ringmasters, introducing ever more elaborate acts. Its all sound and fury, shock and awe, intended to say in its own kind of way “who’s your Daddy?”
Now in a world where people walk a little more humble buy several magnitudes to the power, we need to seriously challenge and deconstruct how we Market JESUS.
So I have a Question that I hope will lead to some creative Spirit led thinking.
That question is what does
I want to look at all the ways we tell people how to become followers of JESUS, because and let me be honest here we are dropping the ball big time people.
Let me drop a few ideas into the lap of our consciousness and see what evolves.
What if we encouraged people to know a Father God who according to JESUS is a lover, but we let them do it in secret?
What if we taught them that loving each other in public was the only Confession they needed?
What if we only had to share the Sermon on the Mount with them?
What if we encouraged them to baptize themselves in the privacy of their own homes, whether that is Saudi Arabia or Tokyo Japan? Only with a great cloud of angelic on lookers, in the presence of the Living God?
What if we required no understanding of theology at all, just JESUS introducing them to a Loving God through the Spirit?
What if we did not demonize their Holy Books but told them Love is the only voice to listen to, and if they heard any teaching against love to pray for that person?
What if we built no more churches but became the Body of Christ behind the scenes like Dark Matter in the Universe?
What if we trusted the Spirit of the living God and de-institutionalize this thing called Evangelism?
What if JESUS is the Savior of the world and we have it all wrong, because we are trying to keep our church and theological systems alive?
What if we told people they could go to any place of worship and have a secret as Mary did, deep in their hearts?
What if this changed the world from the inside out?
More to come…
This is what I think the primary problem is with sharing God through any particular theological matrix.
In breaking the Pie down in order to understand it better we lose site of the Pie and soon believe the pieces we posses are the Pie.
It is like trying to go cross-country by using only local street maps, it’s just way to detailed to be of any use in the journey.
Or trying to understand where a bouncing ball will land but understanding how many electrons it has.
In fact in both of these instances who will use true but non the less faulty assumptions and you will lose your way.
That is my contention that we as followers of Jesus Christ have lost our way and we need to step back, because most of the small stuff just doesn’t matter.
There is a very strong theme throughout the scriptures which for the most part is rarely touched on in our highly individualized theology. That is the idea of Group Salvation or that one can affect the future of many, to the good or the bad I must add. We are told by Paul that all of us where in Adam falling victims to his nonsense.
A little later in the Biblical Narrative Abram is told to leave his people and that God will make a mighty nation of him, and least he think small as we often do, God says his descendants will be as the “stars of the sky.” This being an obvious reference to a group of people far bigger than the just the Nation Israel.
Then Moses leads a people out of captivity into freedom, the journey starts with a sacrifice performed by one person which covers everyone in the house. Many years down the road in utter frustration God tells Moses why don’t we just start over again, because this group of people are a very stubborn lot of souls. Moses then reminds God that this is a group salvation and “what will the neighbors say” that God can’t save his own chosen? Not to mention what would be the fate of those outside of the group if God can’t get the job done with His little experimental group. Salvation is for this group of stiff-necked people, for the most part “in spite of themselves.”
Now we come to the messiah Jesus Christ who John the Baptist proclaims takes away the sins of the world even though he has come for the house of Israel. Is is rejected by his group and in a wonderful act of reverse engineering everyone passes through him, just like they came out of Adam. Paul give us wonderful insights into this in his book to the Romans when he records ” as in Adam all dies so to in Christ all shall be made alive.”
Then in the first major expansion of this new group of the Jesus Way 3000 souls are added to what shall be a group as large as the “stars of the night.” It all begins with a question “what must WE do to be saved” because it is a WE thing and have no doubt about it, the coming Messiah was not a me thing but a WE thing!
A few years Later God drags Peter kicking and screaming to the house of a Gentile, because the group was getting small and exclusive again. Then we see this gentile embrace Jesus the Messiah of the world but its anything but personal, for indeed his choice affects his whole house hold no questions asked. We are told by John that Jesus Christ not only affected a shift for the experimental Group (Jesus Followers) but indeed the whole world. Then in another Letter Paul tells of the day when in completion God shall be all in all to His eternal Glory.
John tell us “Then the books shall be opened” and we shall see that all the groups were in fact one group and God will sort it all out in Love and Righteousness. So what are the implications for us in this “Is Jesus your Personal Savior age,” I’m not quite sure as a Pastor and Teacher but one thing for sure, I feel I have not been told the whole story up to this point.
“Predestination means that you were eternally found in Jesus before you were ever lost in Adam.” C. Baxter Kruger