Monthly Archives: September 2013

What I’m learning today…

Hi!

This should be a short blog post.  Kidding.  Kind of…

I have been reading The Shack Revisited.  It is based on the Canadian novel, The Shack by William Paul Young.

I remember reading The Shack and liking it so much, I bought a copy of it for my uncle for Christmas.  Even he liked it, in spite of not being much of a novel reader.  It’s that good!

The Shack Revisited takes a closer look at the theology behind the novel.  When the book first came out, some critics attacked its lack of theological soundness or truth.   They probably have some valid points being theologians and all, but The Shack gives us much food to chew on.

I am finding the same applies to The Shack Revisited.  It is shaking my foundation, so to speak.  I did not grow up in the church, but have found that I have slowly been picking up some of the beliefs over the last nine or so years.  Some good, some not so good.

The Shack Revisited is addressing some of those “not so good” beliefs.  One of which, is the Holy Spirit.  I have griped over our church not giving enough consideration to the Holy Spirit.  “Where is the power of the Holy Spirit?”  I asked, “I can’t see it”, and yet it’s part of our statement of faith – “Engaging the world in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

If I am going to be brutally honest, I too have never given too much consideration to the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is unpredictable.  That in itself does not make me too comfortable with her (feminized as the Spirit is likened to a female in the two books mentioned above).  I have probably shied away from her too – wanting to get close, but not too close.

I am only about half-way through, and yet I can feel myself softening and changing as I am reading.

The author, C. Baxter Kruger, talks about God being love – Given the other-centered relationship between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, he challenges our thoughts about God being distant and solitary.  If we had any reason to doubt God’s unconditional love for us, the Trinity shows us otherwise.  “God is a relational being – Always has been and always will be” (Chapter 10, p. 120-121).

I know when I first read The Shack, I loved that idea.  The Trinity is so hard to explain.  3 Gods – But, we are only supposed to worship 1 God.  The Trinity poses a serious theological  problem, unless you look at it (at least on one level) from a relational standpoint.

God invites us into this perfect relationship with His Son and His Spirit.  They are so close to one another, that there is a oneness about them.  The author asserts, they “dwell” within one another (Chapter 9, p.112).   I believer he also refers to John 14:7, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

That’s the oneness of God – they know each other so intimately they are one.  The human equivalent would be marriage – on their wedding day, the couple ‘symbolically’ becomes one, and then they spend the rest of their lives together getting to know one another – it’s a process of oneness.

The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit have already completed the process.

Married couples have work to do.  🙂  As does the body of Christ.  Oh, to be human…

Question:  What are your thoughts on the Holy Spirit?

Tired

Hi there,

That’s it.  Just feeling tired.  I have not written in quite some time.  I am supposed to be much more disciplined at this blogging thing, but life got busy.

Today my co-worker told me about the accident – a city bus and a VIA train.  So far 6 people have died.  In Ottawa, this is shocking.  We’re so used to our hum-drum existence.  We’re comfortable, thinking that tragedies happen elsewhere.

It got me thinking about the shooting at the OC Transpo lot quite a few years back.  Things like this happen everywhere.  Sadly, no one city or town is exempt.

It just kind of shakes you into reality.  Just not a good kind of reality.  Already I heard a story of someone who was running after that bus, cursing and yelling at the bus driver because he would not stop for her.

She is alive and unharmed because he acted like most bus drivers in this city.

I know this is not on the same scale, but it strikes the same chord as those people who called in sick on September 11th, etc., wondering why they were still alive, while others were not.

“Why was I spared?”

Kind of makes people start thinking about God.  But, He can also complicate matters.

Why is one person spared, while another one is not?  There is no easy answer to that question.

For me, I choose to believe that God is good regardless of the circumstance – no matter how painful or confusing.  I know God is good.  I trust Him.

He is the only sure thing I have to hold on to when everything else around me feels chaotic.

John the Apostle even went so far as to say, “God is love”.  That was pretty radical in his day.

Some may be asking, “How can a God who is love allow these things to happen?”

If you are asking this question, you may want to read Dr. James Dobson’s “When God Doesn’t Make Sense”.  I confess I have not read it.

My initial thought to that question is we’re human.  We make mistakes.  We make bad choices.   Sometimes those bad choices or human errors lead to another person’s death or even costs the person his or her own life.

Like I said, not an easy question to answer.  Maybe we wish that God could be like a superhero.  Remember, when Superman got to Lois Lane too late – she had already died.  He flew counter-clockwise around the earth to turn back the time, so he could get to her in time…  Sounds awfully nice.  It also sounds like fiction.

We want to create God – We want Him to be like the way we imagine Him to be, or rather how we imagine He is supposed to be.  Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately), He will not fit Himself into our moulds.

My old Catholic ways tells me to pray that those who lost their lives today, and not just in Ottawa, but around the world, would be at peace with God in heaven.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones today.  Your loss is great, and I am truly sorry for your suffering.

May God hold you close during this time, even though you may feel that He is far away.

God Bless.

 

 

To be single or not to be single…

Hello there,

Don’t worry.  This blog posting will not be a dissertation on Shakespeare.  I dumped Will last week.

For whatever reason I have been thinking about the societal pressure of being married.

Our culture tells us we ought to be married.  But then it gets personal.  Our family tells us we ought to be married.  I remember feeling like there was something wrong with me because I was single.

In a conversation with someone at work, I posed this question.  Do you know anyone who has chosen singleness?  But, from a good, healthy place?

My co-worker said, “No”.

I then said the only person I could think of was Lucy Swindoll.  She had the opportunity to marry and declined.  She has chosen to live out her life as a single woman.

My co-worker was in shock.  He basically said it was impossible, that no one chooses singleness.

I was in shock.

I get that this is only one person’s point of view, but it feels like it might be pretty accurate.  I literally can only think of one person who wants to be single.  And, I don’t even personally know Lucy Swindoll!  (Although, she sounds like a hoot!!)

For me, this begs the question, “Do I want to be married simply because I want to be like everyone else?”  I want to fit in.  I want to be normal.  Or at least have the appearance of normal.

If I am completely honest, I rarely picture my life as a married woman.  The problem for me arises in that I want children.  I know, you kind of need a man for this, but given my age and situation in life, adoption is a much more realistic option.

See, I don’t need a man after all.  Woo! Hoo!  Or is it?

Seriously, I don’t picture myself married.  Now, there may be many reasons for this lack of vision.

Maybe I’m starting to believe that there really is a negative ratio of Christian men to Christian women, and that not all of us will be able to get married.  The statistics are against me, Dammit!  (Felt like I needed to say, “Dammit”.)

I might have little faith that it is possible to find someone decent.

Or wonder that if I met someone decent that he would most likely not be interested in marrying me. (This lack of interest in me would make him certifiable though, and clearly not so decent after all.  It was his loss, not mine.)

Maybe it’s my issues.  Trust issues.  I know I shouldn’t spring my issues on you when we  barely know each other, but ’tis the sad truth.

I kind of expect people to disappoint me, and in the end, leave.  That’s what they do, these people, especially men.

So, there it is.  I am left mildly confused, and a bit scattered.  Unsure of what I believe or even want out of life.  Muddling through in my own insecurities, and stumbling over statistics – quite literally, I am not good with numbers.

I have found myself not knowing what to pray for.  Problematic, as I am supposed to “make my requests known to God”.

Philippians 4:6 says this:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Maybe that’s it then?  I should just throw my hands up in the air and say, “God, not my will, but your will be done.”

Even if that prayer means that my life might look  different from the majority of people.  Even if that life might makes people think that I am abnormal or strange.

Question:  Do you know anyone who has chosen singleness?  But, from a good, healthy place?

 

 

Adam and Eve in Milton’s Paradise Lost

Hi there,

Stay with me!  This will not hurt as much as Shakespeare did.  I promise!

In my last post I again said that I like modesty.  I do.  I sincerely do.

So, there’s this scene in Paradise Lost where Milton writes, “To the Nuptial Bowre/I led her blushing like the Morn:”

When lecturing on this scene, my professor said this statement was ambiguous. Who’s blushing?  Adam or Eve?  We don’t know.  It’s up to us to decide.

I liked that.

They both clearly knew what was going to happen in the “Nuptial Bowre”.  Yet, it might have been Adam that was kind of intimidated and bashful in the moment.

When I read it I naturally assumed Eve was the one blushing.  After all, a woman is supposed to be modest.   Milton was writing in the 1600’s.  Not entirely sure what was happening on the sexuality front in the 1600’s, but I think I can safely say that virtue was probably highly praised and valued in a woman.  (And, hopefully in men too!)

In our time, I believe it is still up the woman to “play hard to get”, to “act” bashful.  To some extent women’s virtue is still valued.  (In studies, most women do not want to have more than 5 partners in their lifetime – men are okay with more, a lot more…sigh…)

The guy’s supposed to be the strong aggressive one. It’s then up to the woman to say, “Yes” or “No”.  I don’t like that part. I can tell you from personal experience that saying “Yes” in the moment can lead to serious pain later on.  Especially if the relationship ends.  (They did.)

See, women are emotional.  The physical is linked to the emotional. That’s just how we were made.  Now, some women would argue against this point, but I have to question whether a woman who can ‘shut off’ her emotions is healthy. I realize that’s a hard thing to say, but I can’t help but feel that the majority of women are not ‘programmed’ to think of sex as merely a physical act.

Personally, I was taught by my mother that if you love someone, then it’s okay  to have sex.  My mom never advocated casual sex, but the problem with her ‘advice’ is that given our current culture, we tend to think that we are in love sooner than is maybe natural or even healthy.

We jump into the physical too soon in a new relationship, and reap what we sow.  For the majority of us, it’s usually not a good harvest.  For me, I just ended up feeling lied to, used and kind of disgusting.  Naturally, I also found myself extremely angry at men, all of them.

The story of Adam and Eve’s relationship brought some healing for me.  It illustrated how marriage and male/female relationships are supposed to be, God’s way.

I have come to believe that sex within a marriage is the most appropriate place for it.  It’s safe.  Not just for the woman but also for the man.  (I know, a shocking and scandalous statement.  I sure hope you were sitting down.)

In Book 12 of Paradise Lost, Milton writes, “Som natural tears they drop’d, but wip’d them soon;/The World was all before them, where to choose/Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:/They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,/Through Eden took thir solitarie way” (Italics mine).

For some reason this last scene really spoke to me.  Man and woman, husband and wife, imperfect, making mistakes, hurting each other, intentionally, unintentionally, falling, getting back up, and moving on, together, “hand in hand”.  Can I get an “AMEN”?  🙂

Totally Random Question:  Did you know that all of Milton’s Paradise Lost was written in iambic pentameter?  Every line is ten syllables.  Read it. Count them.  ‘Tis true. Nothing short of a miracle…