I know these are supposed to be my own thoughts. But sometimes, there is someone else out there who says exactly what I want to say, exactly how I want to say it.
I’m rereading a book for probably the third or fourth time. I’d say it’s my favorite book because the author does precisely what I just said. It’s called Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller. (You might know him as the author of the book Blue Like Jazz. Another book that’s deserving of your time.) The dude speaks my language.
It’s about how our culture perceives Christianity as a series of formulas and principles to adhere by. We do this because it seems easier this way. We don’t have to deal with a Person. Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Derek Webb says it well: Don’t teach me how to live by the Spirit. Just give me a new law.
Fortunately, God isn’t interested in relating to us through rules and regulations and formulas and principles. If that were the case, the Bible would have begun in Exodus with the Ten Commandments and ended somewhere in Deuteronomy. So why all the stories? Why all the poems? Why all the letters?
“If the gospel of Jesus is just some formula I obey in order to get taken off the naughty list and put on a nice list, then it doesn’t meet the deep need of the human condition, it doesn’t interact with the great desire of my soul, and it has nothing to do with the hidden (or rather, obvious) language we are all speaking. But if it is more, if it is a story about humanity falling away from the community that named it, and an attempt to bring humanity back to that community, and if it is more than a series of ideas, but rather speaks directly to this basic human need we are feeling, then the gospel of Jesus is the most relevant message in the history of mankind.”
What’s tricky about this is that his audience is Christians. We say we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but then we think things like as long as I don’t drink or smoke or cuss and if I pray and read my Bible every day and go to church every Sunday, then God won’t be disappointed in me. If that’s all that God wants from us, then Jesus didn’t really need to come and Christianity really is no different than any other religion of the world.
Just something to think about. More to come.
Grace and peace,