Thursday, January 26, 2006

154. bones to pick (part 1)

So I have this disjointed faith that I'm trying to piece together (see point four from blog 153). And I'm not sure where to begin, so I'll begin with what comes easy: complaints. I've got some bones to pick with the key figures of my faith (God and church) and maybe I could start by just listing a few of them. And I'll start with...

1. Relationship.
Everywhere in the church, there's all this talk about a relationship with God. It's as if some people have God's unlisted cell phone number and chat away their unlimited minutes. I don't have that number. See, in my understanding of relationship, one of the key elements is communication and communication implies a two way interaction. I ask a question, the other party answers. I make a comment, the other party agrees or disagrees, discussion ensues, and relationship happens.

Now I can only speak for myself, but 99 percent of the time I try to have a conversation with God, it's a one way deal. And yes, I try to wait and listen and I try to have faith that I'll "hear" something but it's usually just crickets and passing cars. And yes, I read the Bible and I love the stories and the strangeness and the odd ways God interacts with his created, but that's not exactly a reply. I mean if I ask, "why am I still single?" I'll open up to where I'm reading in the Gospels (I'm working through Mark right now) and watch Jesus debating with religious officials. And the one seems to have little to do with the other.

And it wouldn't be so bad if there were more Christians talking about struggling with relationship issues when it comes to God, but I don't hear it. Instead, I hear stories like, "God told me to do this and that and then the other thing worked out in a miraculous way." And I hear phrases like, "Christianity isn't a religion, it's a relationship." And then I wonder what I'm doing wrong...well, I used to wonder, now I just accept that I was born with broken spiritual antennae.

But then without the element of relationship, how can you have...

2. Love
Do I feel loved by God? Well, if I say, "no," then I'm an ungrateful, insensitive bastard right? And while I agree with the insensitive accusation (see blog 148 and point number one above), I take issue with being called ungrateful. I know God performed an act of unimaginable humility by squeezing his power and infinity and his wildly creative will down to the size of a human being in the man Jesus. And then this man Jesus lived a pure, more than generous life and let himself be crucified in place of a murderer (see Matthew 27:15 - 26). He lived his life trying to spread love and in return was given bloody, vile, injustice.

I understand that God did those things for me. I believe them to be true, that they really happened 2000 years ago. But this is something I know and understand in my head. Somehow it doesn't make its way down to my heart. And I want to know God in both places, both my head and my heart.

Okay, that's all for now. I'll try to continue this list in the next couple days. In the mean time: questions? comments? kudos? cash?

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