Saturday, April 07, 2007
Daylight in the Swamp
It's an odd mix, the power of God and the decisions of a beaten-down middle aged man. One decision was to be content with barely making it over the threshold of Heaven. Leave the high honors for those with more motivation. I just want truth. I have no big dreams. Leave me with John, perhaps offending others with the intimacy and familiarity of leaning back against Jesus' breast, but knowing that my Savior's heart still beats.
I've had it. I'm just plain done with verbiage, platitudes, phrases so often exchanged that all the meaning has long since been squeezed out. They make the rounds and we're supposed to feel comforted. The preacher thunders for more action and builds fancy castles in the air but conveniently leaves out all the construction details. I'm just plain fucking done with it.
In the early stages I expected to get soundly thrashed by God. Who is this guy who dares to ask me questions directly? Blasphemy! I could see him charging up the capacitor banks and taking aim. That, however, was my vision, not his. His vision was "Be prepared for the truth." Jesus said "You don't have because you don't ask." Well, yes, beware of asking because answers change the world. But my world needed changing, so, having little to lose, I asked.
I learned in that process that, yes, I do have something to lose. Self-confidence, knowledge of how the world works and my place within it. Jesus calls me to a different world. Unlike the preachers, though, and the platitude-spewers, he takes every step with me and holds my hand. He's not content to just lay out the answer in words, but to demonstrate what needs to be done and repeat that as often as necessary. The real wonder is that each time I fail to understand, I'm greeted with the same grace, the very same kindness, with which he first welcomed me in 1971. Some of these paths are very well trodden. My human teachers have given up with far less provocation.
I just want to understand. Our world is one that tends to prove things by bamboozlement. If don't have facts then just dazzle everyone with elegant words and actions. It's just smoke-grinding, but if it's a good show you'll sell the product. The problem is that I, following Jesus, need more to eat than smoke, mirrors and words. If I want myths and self-help I can listen to politicians.
If Jesus came to save us by giving his life, then he will do anything else necessary to keep us. He has proven his care. Why are we taught that it's too much to ask that God would pay attention to us and our needs? Why do we tiptoe around issues of personal destruction, assuming that God won't want to soil his hands with our messes? He has already done the hardest part: his arms are open wide for us to run to. Am I daring for so running? I don't think so. I think it's just basic need. I'm desperate enough to try anything.
I believe that God will let me know if I do something wrong. So far, he seems much more interested in what I do right. This, to me, is the core nature of sin: twisting the truth just enough to turn it into a lie, putting truth in a mirror so it comes out the same, but backward. Judgment landed on Jesus, not me. I no longer need to walk in the corners, cowering, expecting the lash and the lightning. Jesus caught all that. I face a new land and a new era. Sometimes I'd rather have the lash because it's comprehensible.
God's love is irrational. My rational foundation-stones are looking for a building.
But it still doesn't keep me from asking them!
Great post, Larry.
Sandra's roommate, Grandizer's (chris') girlfriend