Anonymous asked: Hi. We never really talk but I have a crush on you. Okay sorry bye!
The Twilight Zone - “Eye of the Beholder” 1960
Where is this place, and when is it? What kind of world where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? You want an answer? The answer is, it doesn’t make any difference. Because the old saying happens to be true. Beauty *is* in the eye of the beholder, in this year or a hundred years hence. On this planet or wherever there is human life, perhaps out amongst the stars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned - in The Twilight Zone.
One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes.
Anonymous asked: Have you ever doubted your faith and beliefs? If so, what did you do about it?
I definitely have. I don’t know that I’ve ever renounced my faith, but I’ve had it shaken up plenty of times.
What I learned to do was not to see doubt as a sign of weakness, but to embrace. A quote by Peter Rollins helped me tremendously, “To believe is human; to doubt, divine.” It’s easy to believe. And I’m not necessarily even talking about God. I mean, I believed that the chair I am currently sitting in wasn’t going to break whenever I sat in it and thus had the faith to actually sit. And so it is on a larger scale too. World Religions are proof that believing is part of human nature.
Many times, belief is a reflection of desire. We believe what we want to believe because it is convenient to do so. However, to doubt? That is the sign that you are working against the very fabric of your make up. And I think that God works through the doubt.
There’s an All Sons & Daughters lyrics that I love that goes like this, “Lord, I find You in the seeking. Lord, I find You in the doubt.” I think God uses doubt to stir something in us to search more intimately for Him. And it is realizing that doubt is never not an option that we find the ultimate surrender; the surrender of our understanding. God is beyond perfect understanding. God is found in the seeking. That’s why Jesus said to “seek first the Kingdom of God”, because He know that in the process of seeking, that is when you truly find it.
Anonymous asked: Who are your favorite speakers/pastors/theologians you listen to and recommend?
I love Greg Boyd. Been listening to him a lot lately. Matt Chandler is great. Francis Chan is always good too. Bruxy Cavey is solid. N.T. Wright has a little bit of his sermons/speeches online and he’s awesome. There’s a few.
Anonymous asked: is there anything that's been really strongly on your heart lately when it comes to God or scripture?
There actually is.
I’ve been amazed by the faithfulness of God and how big of a deal that was to first century Jews, like Paul. So much of his writing in his epistles revolves around this notion, specifically the promise that God made to Abraham in Genesis 12 and 15. In Galatians 3:8, he even says that God “preached the gospel before to Abraham” when He made this promise. The gospel isn’t something new. It’s something that has always been around and revolves around the faithfulness and righteousness of God.
Anonymous asked: What questions are you wrestling with at the moment?
One question I’ve been wrestling with for quite a while is how to maintain any sense of objectivity in such a subjective world. I want to just say that God is our objective starting place and the Bible is our way of understanding this objective God. However, what do you do with the fact that one’s approaching God is subjective, as well as one’s interpretation of Scripture?
I’m not denying that objective Truth does not exist. I just don’t how we are supposed to approach it, identify it, or completely affirm it, or even if we’re supposed to. That’s something that I have been wrestling for a while. And if anyone would like to help me out or offer any ways of resolving that, I would be extremely open to hearing it.
Anonymous asked: Heya. Could you explain what you mean about the jerm 29:11 thing not holding a personal promise if you have some time? Thanks.
What I meant by that is that, in context, Jeremiah 29:11 is not written as a promise for Christians today or Christians ever. If you look at the context, it is written specifically to the Israelites of the Babylonian exile. Here’s verses 10-14:
For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
In context, it is obvious that Jeremiah is speaking to the Jews of the exile. But, there are two mistakes that people usually make when handling this verse. The first is, like I said, that people treat this verse as a personal promise from God to them. But, the second mistake, which is reactionary to the first, is that, since this isn’t really a personal promise, people disregard this verse as irrelevant and non-applicable to the Christian. But, that’s not exactly the case.
It can definitely be applied to Christians to day, but it isn’t that God was speaking this to us in this passage or that it was a personal promise. Rather, the beauty is that God’s promises to the people of exile came to pass! That God is faithful! God did lead them back to their land and deliver them from exile. All of the things that God said would come to pass actually did.
So the good news for us is the same lesson that Hebrews 10:23 teaches us, “He who promised is faithful.” The good news in Jeremiah 29:11 isn’t a personal promise from God telling us He has plans for us, though He does, or that His plans are for our good, though they are, or to give us a future and a hope, though they do. But the incredible news that Jeremiah 29:11 can teach is that, just as God was faithful in His promises to Israelites, so God will be faithful to us. Even when we are without hope, even when it seems as though all has gone wrong, God remains faithful to His promises. He who promised is faithful.