I just want to let you know that I am not posting any further scripture journeys, or Bible studies, and I have removed all the ones I did post from this blog. I am absolutely nobody to be undertaking such a venture! I don’t know where I am, where I am going, what I really believe about all these things. In fact, I reached the point of deciding to just toss it all out.
I was devastated by this, and by the things that brought me to that place. What were those things? Well, the moment I reached that decision I was doing the Beth Moore study on Galatians, and she was talking about the “no other gospel” admonition by Paul, and it just hit me wrong. Some of my questions have to do with the canon of the Bible itself. It’s not as though God wrote this book and dropped it on us from heaven. In fact, a bunch of men, under the auspices of the Roman Emperor Constantine in the third century AD, got together decided which books would be a part of the Bible. And I’ve got to wonder, what were their creds? So here Paul says, if someone comes to you with a gospel other than the one I taught you, don’t receive them. But, well, who decided we should believe Paul instead of the others? Any reading of Acts and the epistles in the New Testament reveals that there were a lot of differences in opinion in the early church.
Then I ran across mean people or unresponsive people in Christian spaces. I have a hard time as it is feeling like I fit into any Christian place. I am socially awkward, regardless of anything else. I have been told that I can’t really serve in a church because of my family members’ lifestyle choices. I have been told that I can’t espouse what I espouse, because that is not what the church believes, and they wouldn’t want people to think that they do because I attend there. I have just had people look at me oddly, avoid me, be unfriendly, because I am so often just too square for the round holes. And I have too many questions, and people get tired of hearing them. I am that wave tossed on an ocean, the vapor in the wind. I am the double minded man, and they don’t want me in their midst. They tried, but I failed. And that hurts.
So I was just going to quit trying. I was going to start from scratch and try to figure out who God is, and what God wants from us, and leave that whole tangled web of Christianity behind. I have entertained other religious beliefs in the past. I am not truly convinced there is only one way. But I felt truly lost. There is that boat I went to in the scarier parts of my cancer treatments, floating on Lake Galilee, where I so often met Jesus, and walked and danced on the water. But now it was just me and the boat. Cast adrift.
Then this morning when I woke up, I picked up my phone and opened Facebook, and with no action on my part, there was a service from a local church in full swing. It was from a denomination that I know to generally be more liberal, and I enjoyed it. At the end of that service, I got a notification that another local church had gone live. I didn’t immediately click on it, but somehow I ended up getting the tail end of it. It was on the passage in Jeremiah, about God being the potter, and us being the clay. And the message at the end, repeated several times, was, “Don’t get off that wheel. Don’t get off that wheel.”
And of course, I thought, that is just like God. I wander off, and God calls me back. Faster this time. Back to what, to where? I don’t know. But I am listening, and I believe in God’s ability to speak.
But I do not need to be teaching anybody, because I don’t know any answers. I will continue to share my journey with you in this place, but I am not going to do anything formal, or promise specific content, because obviously I do not know where my wandering heart and God’s guidance are going to push me.
I was going to say I’m sorry, but I decided that what I really should say is, “you’re welcome.” Let me spare you the errors of my ways.
The first task I am setting myself is not to figure out doctrinal issues. The service that was on my phone when I woke up this morning focused on how we show grace to the world. One example was given of a woman who said she felt called to minister to telemarketers. She said that they get yelled at, sworn at and hung up on all day, so instead, she listened to them kindly. She didn’t buy anything, but she listened. And then she asked them about their lives, and if they had any needs she could pray for. Often they did. Sometimes, they even cried. This sermon moved me to the conviction that this is the purpose God has for me in this world. To love, to learn to love more, to spread love and kindness. I have great, deep, overflowing wells of love that fill me to the point where it is painful. But I don’t always dip into them when I am dealing with the world, with real people. In order to fulfill my purposes in this world, I need to work on this.
The other thing I want to say is that I started that scripture journey blog because I wanted to gather wisdom from others. I still do. So please, leave your comments here. Leave your journeys. You just never know when you will be God’s spokesperson.
Thank you. You are welcome. I love you.