Brad Jersak – A More Christlike Word – My Reflections #13

I am reading A More Christlike Word by Brad Jersak as part of a study group I am attending. I am going to be sharing some of my reflections as I read the book. Here is my 13th reflection:

I used to think that everyone had to believe even this new-to-me way. That it would do them best. And maybe it would. But if God isn’t in a rush, then why do I make the whole world my burden? Maybe to love. But not to change their minds. In due time, if we trust Spirit. So how do I see the process now? I say go on, to the person who insists on a god that barbeques children at their first mistake. The same god they insist hates abortion, mind you. Don’t kill the babies in the womb, but kill them the first second they mess up outside of it? Really?

At any rate, I think of approaching God more like looking at a prism. You can never really take God in all at once. You can never really see all of God from one angle. And yet you still see God as long as you keep looking. So, just look.

So to the people who really believe that God barbeques children at the occurrence of their first mistake, I say at least be intellectually honest about your theology. Follow it all the way to its logical end. Not literally, of course. But really, you can’t just camp out on outlandish statements like that and dismiss any challenges without fully considering them. It either holds water or it doesn’t.

Not that arguing is the way to go. I’m just saying even God lets us wander around and around in the desert as long as we want. God lets us walk off if we want to walk off. That’s not the end of the story, but sometimes we insist on learning the hard way. Sometimes love is not enough – for us. Sometimes healing blind men isn’t enough. Sometimes we insist on a transaction. So God gives us as many opportunities as we insist on in order to try to satisfy ourselves with our self-sufficiency. Sometimes it’s not enough for us that God embraces the ones who have come back home. Or the women who get by how they know to get by when we’re fine with letting them suffer and die. That’s not enough for us. We want revenge. We want praise. We still think there isn’t enough for all of us.

And God lets us go down that road as long as we insist upon it. Never leaving us alone. Always inviting us to come back inside. To join the party. To eat and be full. To lay down the hope for one day. And instead rest in all that is today.

Brad Jersak – A More Christlike Word – My Reflections #12

I am reading A More Christlike Word by Brad Jersak as part of a study group I am attending. I am going to be sharing some of my reflections as I read the book. Here is my twelfth reflection:

As much as I absolutely hate to admit it because it leaves me with no control, I’ve had to come to the place where I admit that Spirit alone reveals truth. Even if it is through me or another. It is still Spirit who opens the eyes, ears, and heart. And in due time. Not before. As their next journey in healing takes place. I want to rush it so that I feel more comfortable. Less alone. Able to celebrate and have community. So it wouldn’t be so difficult to love these that seem to have no filter on their persecution. Albeit, mild in comparison to some. But heart-breaking, disappointing, and frustrating still the same.

This again puts me squarely, firmly back in the space of minding my own business. Focusing on my own healing journey. And living, actually living real life. Not at all what I was taught to do all these years I was seated in the congregation. It was so much easier then to just live in my head. But no, this new-to-me life is boots on the ground all the way. More about doing than thinking. And I hate that sometimes.

At least as long as I don’t see any change in those I love. Those I want so badly to come along.

But be honest. How long did it take me? To get it. Probably at least twenty years. Without badgering. How many years have I lost with those I love by being too pushy? By thinking it depends on me?

Brad Jersak – A More Christlike Word – My Reflections #11

I am reading A More Christlike Word by Brad Jersak as part of a study group I am attending. I am going to be sharing some of my reflections as I read the book. Here is my eleventh reflection:

I think one of the reasons I so clearly see what Brad is trying to say in this book is that I am also a writer. I understand that sometimes things come to me that are way beyond me. I know sometimes God gives me wisdom that didn’t originate out of me. And yet other times it is clearly only me speaking.

And I also know that when I go to write a book, I am writing for a particular purpose. And a very small audience. I am not thinking of the people who will be reading my writings thousands of years from now.

And when I write, I leave way more out than I include. That is the nature of the beast. As was said, if all the things Jesus did were recorded then the whole world would not be big enough to contain the books.

So my writing is an invitation more than a destination or a definition. I don’t pretend to answer all the questions. In fact, sometimes I leave the answers out on purpose with a greater goal in mind.

So it’s not hard for me to see the Bible the same way. It’s not hard for me to understand the years of translations. The decisions of the editors. Etc.

Once I see Jesus as the Word of God, versus the Bible as the Word of God, then this book doesn’t scare me anymore. Then I can look at it from all different angles. And ask God what Trinity wants me to learn today. My faith no longer rests on whether this book and its translations are 100% correct. My faith is now fully rests on God alone. And that holds up. To whatever gets thrown at it.

Much more security and peace of mind.

But if your theology demands that you don’t even think God likes you, much less loves you, then of course you’d think that is nonsense. Of course you’d have to spend your days trying to appease some perpetually angry deity.

Brad Jersak – A More Christlike Word – My Reflections #10

I am reading A More Christlike Word by Brad Jersak as part of a study group I am attending. I am going to be sharing some of my reflections as I read the book. Here is my tenth reflection:

But as I go along, it gets harder and harder to see another as other. If I’m not seeing you as me, then I’m probably missing the point. I’m probably off in my mind. Trying to self-protect. Not that boundaries aren’t very welcome and necessary. But my heart. Have I even asked Jesus how Trinity sees you?

I was afraid to do this before. Because the preachers had taught me about a god that believed in domestic violence and the abuse of women. But books like Brad’s are so helpful is me unlearning that toxic teaching. More than toxic – untrue and violently unhelpful.

Once I learned about a better God. Through experience first. And then theology as it was revealed to me through God and others. Then I could trust Trinity enough to ask how God sees me, others, and the situations we found ourselves. Only then.

Again, only the goodness of God leads to change. And do NOT read that as we are called to any particular interaction with those who have hurt us.

 

Brad Jersak – A More Christlike Word – My Reflections #9

I am reading A More Christlike Word by Brad Jersak as part of a study group I am attending. I am going to be sharing some of my reflections as I read the book. Here is my ninth reflection:

Are you the only one who hears from God, pastor? How do you determine who hears from God and who doesn’t? Oh that’s right, you determine if they hear from God by how what they say matches up to your interpretation of the Bible. How convenient.

That is circular reasoning. A logical fallacy.

And a complete waste of time to argue with. In my experience.

And unfortunately I have also experienced that those people are more than willing to cut off the conversation, if not the relationship, in favor of their unwavering thinking. No room for real, logical discussion. Just circular reasoning that leads to insane conversations if you go there.

The major thing I see missing from these people is humility. Maybe they are puffed up to try to protect themselves. Maybe they really do think they are better than me. Than us. But I trust Life will give them a smack upside their ego when the time is right. I know I can’t be the only invitation they have received towards the next step on their healing journey. They have to fight it continually.

And then it will come. SMACK. A big dose of humility. Of humble pie. That’s why boasting and being prideful is not conducive to collective healing. I haven’t always been great about this. After being beaten and kicked around for so long. I wanted at least to have my say. But God didn’t work that way. God is only ever about care. The Great Physician. So I pray, Jesus please help me keep the door open. As was done for me. All the years I didn’t fully believe. Let me be the person they can talk to. Let me not return shame for shame. Oh that my dears, is so much meekness. That only comes by the strength OF God. Our human hearts have hurt too much to naturally go there so gracefully. But I think that’s what your heart will know as greatest truth once you really start understanding what Christ did and does for us. How Love, not acceptance of abuse, but Love is always the end goal. Healing and restoration. Not enabling abusers. But also seeing them as people that Jesus loves. You can’t even do that on your own. Especially with those that have hurt you. I’m not even asking you to. We don’t even have to have the f- conversation. That horrible word they have misused so many times with you – forgiveness. No, that isn’t on the table here. I’m just saying take it all, ALL, to Jesus. Honestly. Raw. And start there. That’s all I’m saying.