Oct 26, 2010

I think, therefore I have no clue

Last week I had a conversation via twitter with a friend about an issue of which was more paramount to salvation: submission or understanding. lets define our terms.

 what I mean by Submission is the act of an individual subjugating himself to the Lordship of Christ. what i mean by understanding is a mental ascent to the knowledge of the truths about Christs Lordship and believing rightly about those things. 

some will say that there is a level of understanding that must be reached before one can submit to Christ and his Lordship. we must understand that he loves us, is worthy of our submission, and that this submission is to lead to our ultimate good. some will balk at the last one, saying that we should submit regardless of whether or not its for our good, but Christ uses our own pleasure and joy as a motivator for submission Matthew16:24-25 for instance....

I will say that I sympathize with this position greatly. it seems harmless enough to think that one must think rightly about these issues before one can truly understand what there submission means.  

but I'm afraid that what we are doing here is placing some extra implications on the Gospel that are simply not in scripture. Paul gives us the two requirements of salvation in Romans 10:9.

"because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." 

here we see that confession of Christs Lordship(submission) and belief in the resurrection are the two elements that are necessary for salvation. some will surely say that belief in the resurrection is alluding to the understanding that is necessary. but I think that anyone who says this has trapped themselves to believing in a faithless Christianity. 

Quickly, show of hands, who understands the Resurrection from the Dead?.........................anyone?........sweet. I think what is actually shown in the passage from Romans is a Submission WITHOUT understanding. anyone who says they understand what put life back in our saviors body believes in a smallminded Christianity. 

the reason I write this is twofold.

First: we have lost the art of submission in our churches

what I hear all to often in working with church people are musings about what they would do differently if they were in leadership, why the leadership is wrong, and their desire for things to be different. I can't help but wonder what our churches would look like if we understood the place that submission holds in our faith. our entire system is based on submitting to a higher authority that we cannot and will not understand. and yet we refuse to submit to the authorities that have been placed on our churches. 

Second: we are no longer tolerant of mystery, so we have oversimplified our faith

the problem with believing that there is an understanding level that is necessary for submission is that when we come to things in the bible we don't understand, we either disregard it as not important or we reduce it down to something we can handle. we have lost the ability to live in the tension that is the gospel. 

the last, unspoken reason behind all of this conversation is the arrogance that we think we understand anything about our faith in the classical sense. now before you call me a crazy liberal, think for about 2 seconds. are you really arrogant enough to believe that you UNDERSTAND the atonement? the resurrection? the Cross? sure you have a grasp on what scripture says about these things, you may even have a sound theology about them. but to say that you understand the death of Christ is absurd. its incomprehensible. but we MUST believe in it and in what Scripture teaches about it. we can certainly understand  the logical consistences between these truths and the doctrines in scripture, but the foundational truth about all of this is that it is UNBELIEVABLE. this is why we must be born again. we will not believe these truths unless God changes our hearts towards him.

we may not ever understand completely or even marginally understand why we must submit to Christ. we simply have faith that he is who he says he is. the depths of our relationship with Christ are not bound by our ability to understand them. 

I will continue with some more thoughts that i had thinking about this issue in the coming weeks. hope this will hold you over Gail

Oct 5, 2010

that love me for the man I've become not the man that I was....

 I've had some time this week to reflect on my college years, and I have come to the not so novel conclusion that if can be summed up in the relationships that were created through the heat and pressure of my semi-academic career. there are some who will tell you that you need to diversify your friends, and I believe that I was most fortunate to be able to stumble into exactly that.  I have some of the best friends in the world, and even truer still I have gained brothers that I will love for the rest of my life.

 it's strange, but I feel a certain bond with these people unmatched by anything I had in high school. these are the people who watched (and still are waiting) me become the man that I am. I've laughed till I cried with these people. with some of them I've just flat out cried.I've certainly had my ups and downs. There are people who this time last year I considered my friends that i barely speak to anymore. There are people who were little more than acquaintances that I now consider best friends.

I think at the center of this is a need for community. I hate being by myself for longer than a day, I am a relational individual, I process things through interaction with other people. I think on some level we all have a desire to share our lives with others.

The part of this that is most exciting to me is seeing people who i haven't seen in months and being able to share my experiences with them and have them tell me what their life is taking them. I have a friend in Nashville working in a job that he loves, friends in California planting churches, friends in Texas going through leadership development, friends dealing with unemployment, friends finding jobs, friends losing them, and yes, even friends who are still in college.  We are all learning different lessons and growing in different ways, and while we do this separately, when we get together its time that I cherish

Recently I got to spend some time with a few of these people, and while we were all together, it was nothing like old times. in the short 5 months since we were all together our individual lives have changed drastically. we're all in different places, in periods of constant change and "becoming adults". and i wouldn't trade it for anything. i miss these people dearly, but I can't wait till I see them again and get to ask what they're learning, who they're impacting, and what Christ is Teaching them. its in these conversations that i will always have a bond with these people, because through everything they are my brothers ans sisters whom I will always love.