Tuesday, January 25, 2011

my little part in the kingdom

My last post was about losing my Faith and kind of finding it once more. The process of becoming aware again, or at least slowing down long enough to listen. Its a hard thing to do in this world, to not get caught up in the day to day stuff life is made of, and find some time to listen.
I think that God is speaking all the time. Maybe not in words alone, but through other people, experiences, media, articles, prayer, meditation, etc., and it is up to us to tune in and catch it. Much like radio waves that are all around us, we fail to connect to the right frequency, fail to position the antennae in the proper position for receiving a good signal. Whatever.
Sure it would be nice if He would just say "Hey, get a stone tablet and jot this down" as he did with the prophets of old, but he doesn't. I have no idea why.
So this week I "tune-in" two different messages. Both are messages of affirmation of many things. Those things being that I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing. That I am being used despite who I am. That the things I do really make a difference, somehow. That I don't have to "hear" God speaking to know that He is at work in my life and others.
A person I met a couple of years ago has been wanting to come to the class I teach. I say "come on" all the time but she hasn't. Wasn't God's time yet for her. She was raised Catholic and always had issues with that faith system for her, so when I began "The Bible in 90 Days" she showed up. Wanted to read the Bible for herself. Tuning in. Told me this past week that her atheist son-in-law allowed her to bring the 4 year old granddaughter with her and she went to the 4 yr old sunday school class. Two for the price of one.
Today I get a message from someone I met during my graduate studies at the university. She told me that, well here's the message:

From friend "...you know you are the one who brought me back to religion years ago. When I was doubting and angry. That was you :) wanted you to know that."
My response: "I did not know that. Thanks for letting me know. I suspect it was God who was seeking you out, and He has a habit of using others to do that. Glad he picked me for that assignment."

Since i have been wondering recently about my faith and my status as prophet or whatever part I get to play in the kingdom, God drops me these little affirmations that, like the ill-suited prophets of old, I am still being used. Maybe not on a grand scale where i can get public accolades, but where it matters. With real people. Where the rubber meets the road.

Not bad

Friday, January 21, 2011

losing my faith...

Somewhere along the way I lost my faith. I'm not sure how it happened but it did. It was gradual like water seeping into the ground after a heavy rain, there one minute and then gone without fanfare. I came to this realization over the past couple of weeks.
This is why:
I am now rereading the entire bible. yes. Fun stuff. (Sarcasm)
The last time I did was in 1996.
I started "The Bible in 90 Days" program in the adult christian education class I teach. However, I am not teaching this...just facilitating a preplanned curriculum.
The Old Testament is somewhat tedious with measurements and dimensions and numbers, and it's God a bit bizarre with sacrifices and blood on people's ear lobes and burnt animal smells being a pleasing aroma. Okay that last part I can somewhat identify since I am a huge BBQ fan.
but I digress.
In the past two weeks I have read the first four books of the Old Testament and have decided I would make a terrible Israelite. I probably would have been one of those whining ones that got consumed in the Lord's angry fire or whatever.
And this God of the Old Testament somehow doesn't quite "fit" with the God I know as presented in the New Testament or the God I have had so many interactions with over the course of my lifetime.
So I am having issues reconciling those two Gods in my head.
Just before beginning the reread of The Bible, I read a book entitled "God's Problem", written by a former evangelical pastor who went to an extremely fundamental seminary. The author is also a phd/scholar in Old Testament and still teaches at a well known university in the Carolinas. His main issue with the God of the Bible is on the matter of suffering, and the guy makes pretty good arguments, well thought out about God allowing suffering and the many feeble attempts Christianity has made over the centuries trying to explain it.
And I reflect upon my own personal life and the here and now struggles I am dealing with: a relationship that is somewhat less than what I desire it to be; financial issues that are ever prevalent; a daughter who is about to graduate from high school and wanting to go to a college and trying to find away to pay for it; a stressful job. You get the picture. Heck, you are probably saying "me too!".
And no matter now much effort I put into it, how much planning I do, how much harder I work... nothing changes. I cannot control it.
read that... I CAN NOT C O N T R O L IT!
Like the warmth of spring when it works its magic after winter has left its mark on the earth, I began to see that I had lost my faith. I had left that out. I have not trusted that God has this nor have I asked him too. I have been relying on ME. Like I could handle this. Very Manly.
Control issues. Distracted by a world that will consume you anyway it can, from your inside out, soul and all. Not one reliance on God.
The author who could not reconcile the God of the bible with suffering in the world lost his faith. became agnostic.
The Israelites of the bible continually did not have faith in God of the old testament even though he worked miracles in their presence and provided their every need.
The nonprofitprophet continued to trust in himself to solve all of his own problems and shoulder the weight of an often demanding and uncaring world and in the process, lost his faith in a God who has shown himself over and over again to provide. It didn't take much.
and now i know this...in the process of losing my faith, i have regained it. I will be more mindful that there are many things that we simply will never be able to reconcile, to control, or understand. I'm not sure we were ever supposed to.
That great void that we are unable to define, control, comprehend, or come to terms with....? there, therein lies Faith. Faith That God will do as he will do and Is Who He Says He Is... Simply "I Am". and I am not.