Monday, October 30, 2006

Trials Of Every Kind...

Anyone else find it frustrating that we're encouraged to press in to God more when we're facing trials...precisely the time when it takes monumental effort to not abandon our connection to God altogether?

I'm currently facing a job change that is neither expected nor welcome. I won't go in to the gory details, but I'm completely annoyed with the prospect of job hunting again. (Is there any possible way to make the process of getting a job MORE unpleasant?) Aside from the rather obvious worries about supporting a family who have a fairly bad habit of wanting a house in which to live and food to eat, there are the myriad more subtle doubts and fears that creep in during the night to gnaw on your soul. (How's that for a Halloween tie-in? ;-> )

Top this with my always-on-my-mind midlife spiritual crisis, and it makes for a real fun day.

So how do we "consider it all joy"? Are these really the trials that Paul had in mind? Whatever happens, it's going to be interesting to see what lessons God has for me in all this.

Until next time...

Monday, October 16, 2006


I’m reading through Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis and over and over again I’m struck by a deep resonance in my spirit with what he’s saying. I’ve had this experience with a number of authors in my life. My first memory of it was reading some of the Chronicles of Narnia when I was twelve or thirteen, maybe younger. I can’t remember which book it is in (and I’m too lazy to go look it up), but there’s a scene in either The Silver Chair or Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Aslan is speaking to one the children who is about to leave Narnia for good, and the child is understandably upset by the fact that he can’t ever get back and won’t see Aslan or Narnia again. Aslan replies with something like, “I am there in your world, only you must come to know me by a different name.”

And there it was—this incredible feeling of awe and peace that seemed to cause my spirit to vibrate from within. My breath caught in my throat. My eyes filled with tears, and all I could do was whisper out words of praise.

I’ve experienced this feeling a number of times, and the enlightenment-trained modernist in me still tries to classify and define the experience. The best I can do is equate it somehow to Jesus’ statement that when He gave us the Holy Spirit that the Spirit would lead us into all truth. In some way I can’t quite explain, I believe this sensation is the Spirit within me confirming Truth as I encounter it.

Since I already hear people preparing a rebuttal, let me add that I am not saying we should abandon all reasoning and follow our feelings in some new-agey, the-truth-is-within-you subjectivism. What I am saying, is that I believe this experience is another spiritual gift that God has given us: a spiritual mechanism that is sensitive to the presence of truth and beauty. I’m grateful for its presence in my life, and I want to be sensitive to how the Spirit uses it to lead me as I journey.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Pot-holed Parables: The Door

If anyone recalls the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon series, they remember the bit called "Fractured Fairy-Tales". This is sorta like that...

To what shall I compare the previous generation? It is like a man who all his life lives trapped in a building with no doors or windows. One day he happens across a door, and his heart rejoices. He leaps and dances for sheer joy of finding the door, and he shouts for all to come and see.

Eventually a crowd grew around the door and the people would talk for hours about how wonderful the door is, and how their lives had changed now that they found the door. People wrote songs, essays, and books about the door, and regularly they would hear people teach about the door.

And then one day a new man appeared whom no one had seen before. Everyone motioned him over to admire the door. He smiled and agreed that it was indeed fabulous to find a door after so long. And then the man did something that no one had done before. He opened the door, and walked through.

A great cry arose from the crowd of people. They decried the actions of this new man; they claimed he had spoiled the door. But none of them followed the new man through the door.

He who has ears to hear, hear.