Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Roaring Lamb

My last blog entry was a teaser, wanting to see if I would get any bites/nibbles, and sure enough I did.
The following is a bit more insight to Father's unfailing hurting love for me, and us.

Maybe the extrication taking place in our lives, although meant to be liberating and freeing, will not come to pass without great anguish and suffering.
Think about it, even after becoming a 'Christian', our point of reference almost without any exceptions, is all based upon the outer man, aka, the natural man/woman.

If we were created by God who wants to become a Father to us, making known experientially His unconditional love and acceptance of us, how can we ever establish a secure identity based upon anything that revolves around performance based measuring up?

I want so badly to get a copy of a book, (its title alone grips me) called, 'Jesus Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of an Untameable God', by Mark Galli.

Here is an excerpt: "This is what Jesus saw in the Pharisee’s of His day. They had God in a box of rituals, laws and explanations. There was no more to be unearthed, revealed, or discovered. Spiritual fulfillment that led to no questions, no new mystery and no new promise. Jesus rejects all this not just because of the hypocrisy or because of the lack of love, but because you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven."

I'm being stirred afresh in the midst of my Father's relentless bent on forming His Son in me, to look with a new sobriety at that which is more costly than fine gold, a grace and love I barely even know. But this gracious and loving Father is NOT sparing me from any pain in being able to truly know Him, and his heart.

I like this opening greeting from the author, 'God has a most painful plan for your life'!
How many have ever looked upon the Father's invitation into His family and purpose for our lives, prefaced with, 'I have a painful plan for your life'?

This is sweet, and bitter: "One characteristic of the postmodern Christian landscape is to neatly, almost hermetically, divide Bible according to how God interacts with the world. In the Old Testament they exclusively depict a God of wrath, judgment and vengeance in contrast to a New Testament portrait of a saccharin-sweet Jesus who never says an unkind word, never does an unkind thing and is never anything but "nice." The one thing all Christians seem to agree on is that Jesus was a pretty sweet guy who was meek as a lamb and harmless as a dove. However, the New Testament paints a picture far more complex than the current crop of Christians are inclined to accept. It is much easier to reduce Aslan to a tame lion and minimize the inconvenient passages that speak of a Jesus who was anything but nice."

I find the following quote from Jim Palmer, the brother and author of Divine Nobodies, and soon to be released, Wide Open Spaces says what I feel is so very much coming to birth in my own life, and it too is the direct result of the spiritual chemotherapy being lovingly applied to my soul!

"Then it all catastrophically caved in, and the inner suffering of that season of my life was like spiritual chemotherapy, killing off virtually all my religious pretense. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through that dark period, and part of me didn’t want to try. Dying seemed like a better option. Divine Nobodies essentially tells that part of my story, and the unlikely people God sent my way to process it. Another reason I am labeled "radical" is because so many religious people live in pretense and denial, and when you shed it and begin speaking honestly about your journey with God it shocks people. We’re all thinking it, but like we don’t actually say it.

The spiritual chemo during that period killed off the religious Jim, and gave me a new beginning place with God. At the end of my pretense were a slew of questions that pressed hard into matters that previously were not open for discussion. Each chapter of Wide Open Spaces delves into one of those questions. In seminary I constructed an air-tight Christian theology on paper, and had since grown accustomed to doing Christianity from my head or intellect. But the answers I was now seeking were not the sort that could be satisfied by another set of new and improved truth propositions. I was hungry to know God beyond paper and propositions, and experience him along the everyday paths of life and living. The answers I was seeking required living life with a new attentiveness to God, and an openness to new possibilities."


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