Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Wounds and Bad Theology

I read Grandpa's letter this week in which he talked about the old Holiness theology from way back when. We found out that the old Holiness bird isn't actually quite dead recently in a theological "discussion" with a friend. He had a number of out of context verses to prove the point that there were two levels of salvation, and we went round and round for a while.

What we've seen in our friend is that it is all about his wounds from his absent father being superimposed on God. He only can imagine a God who requires perfect behavior in order to accept us, and also really doesn't love us or want a relationship with us. I'll bet you that crazy theologies could be directly traced back to father issues in those purporting them.

Grandpa talked about the good preaching from the Greek, and scripture in context being a big answer for this (and all) kind of heresy. I agree. But I also think that in whatever ways people are wounded, there is a wrong theology for them to agree with. Or they'll make one up that works for them. ie. Joseph Smith. (Or maybe I should say that Satan is standing ready with a perversion of the truth to feed them.) Their reality that they've experienced matches a messed up view of God. When Jesus shows up in their lives and actually loves them, and heals their hearts, the theology changes to match His reality. Suddenly large portions of scripture make sense.

Interestingly, I think that fewer Christians than we might expect have had that kind of personal encounter with Jesus that changes their view of reality. I think that a weakness in our American Christian culture is to substitute preaching and knowledge of the Bible for the encounter with the Lord through the Holy Spirit. I remember thinking in College that we talked a lot about our "relationship" with Jesus, but I really didn't know how to have a relationship with a person that I couldn't see or hear. I wanted to have a real relationship with this living God, not just talk about it like I knew what I was talking about. I'd say that a lot of pretending was going on, in me and my friends. I told the Lord that I wanted a real relationship with Him, not what I had. And, He's definitely been working on that since.

I see now that a relationship with Him is impossible if the Holy Spirit is not given the correct place in my life. The Holy Spirit is the one that Jesus left to be our teacher and comforter and empowerer. If I'm afraid of the Holy Spirit, then I miss out on the person who is meant to minister to me in my daily life, through the Bible, and other ways. He's creative. And He's one and the same with Jesus and God. So nothing He does will violate the nature of who God is or scripture. There are boundaries, but they feel different than the intellectual exercise I used to engage in as my normal operating system for my Christian life.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Simmering Down

The holidays are over, our house guests are gone, and everyone is back in school. This week I enjoyed getting the house back into order, and relaxing. I love having family (Dan and Jacquie DeHart and our friend Wendy) stay with us, and I love having everyone home for the Christmas break. But I also appreciate the structure of the schedule when we go back to it.

During the last week our church hosted a big conference at the UNT basketball stadium. I had fun working in the concession stand on Thursday and Friday for four hours each. I always laugh to realize anew what a people person I am. I love helping people get what they need, and the pressure doesn't bother me. It reminded me of when I used to help Aunt Gretchen sell rubber stamps in college. This time I was selling coffee and snacks. But the same rush of people. In return, the church gave me and the other volunteers a $50 gift certificate to the GOZ store, and the new worship CD. I felt more than compensated for my time and effort.

I'm enjoying our new car, and so is William. At the dealership, we had a choice between a 4-cylinder model, and the 6-cylinder super fancy model. I convinced him that the price difference wasn't enough to justify getting less car, so we got the really nice one. He's glad he listened to me as we zoom along at 85 mph with little engine effort. It's definitely the nicest car I've ever owned.

We are looking forward to my parents and Gretchen and Anders' visit in February. We are going to go to my cousin Chad's wedding, and have BBQ at a great place we just discovered, among other things.