Saturday, August 27, 2011

Continuing to learn

I think that my learning about God has to do with finding him and letting him go.
I'll expand- We learn about God and we store those things we learn about him in our heads and hearts, but I think that we get so academic about it that we fill our minds then decide we know enough. Then we become stagnant like spiritual swamps and become (wether we admit it or not) bored with our religion.

I'm not talking about abandoning doctrines that are vital to our belief about the core essence of who God is  but I am talking about carrying him around with us and forgetting that he is everywhere. He is something to be sought but never really found to the point where the seeking ends.

If there's one thing that I have learned about spirituality from traveling, it's that you can't take God places. I have a problem with missions agencies that talk about "unreached people groups". As if God were not everywhere and working everywhere in his Spirit. If you go to a place with the mindset of - "I'm going to go and take God to these people" you're insinuating that he is not already there. And it's an insult to what he is already doing there and those people through whom he is doing amazing things. The apostles never stopped being disciples and being a disciple means continuing learning under a rabbi. Perpetual student.

I think its more important to focus on seeking God than sharing him. Because when you seek him you'll find other seekers who will want to glean knowledge from you, and you will find that you are sharing him. If everyone goes to only share, who is going to learn anything? No one, rightly, can be only a teacher. No mind can have a monopoly on the knowledge of God.

God in his perfect creativity made cultures and then he hid his image in them, and I think part of finding God, at least in my journey, has been learning about other cultures.
Before you know it, you see him everywhere.

The Bible is awesome and is great for foundational truth. But why stop there? Nature, art, beauty, dance, mathematics, music, law, social media, fabric, words, food. He is there in it all. We need to not think he's only there if there are Bible verses plastered over it or if we bring him to these things ourselves.

So what do I mean about finding him and letting him go? I mean letting myself "forget" stuff in order that arrogance and the illusion of having found him wont prevent me from continuing to seek him and find him. Not hanging on to things as if I might lose him, but continually seeking him, seeing him, and re-seeking him.

I think some people (hey, I've done it before) in fear of adopting un-truths, get to a point where they feel they know it, and then they stop learning. Dead faith driven by fear. I believe a living faith is characterized by freedom from fear and a love for looking and learning and being unsatisfied with what we know and see about him. "Where are you?! I want to see you!" instead of "I got you, I'm ok, we're safe."

1 comment:

hepperso said...

Hi Juliana,

I've been thinking about your post, and I agree that God is everywhere. In fact, that is part of the big lesson I learned in Egypt. (You can ask Rachel.) You are right that you can't take God places. However, you can and need to take the gospel places. "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" (Romans 10:14) I think Paul is pretty clear that someone has to go and share the good news about Christ, and not just with people who are already seeking him. In fact, Romans 3:11 says that "no one seeks for God." We have to remember that without him, we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). But God...raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4,6). It is all of his grace (Ephesians 2:8). Yes, we can learn things about the culture from the people who live there. And yes, our knowledge as human beings is limited. But, God has revealed himself to us very clearly in his Word so that we can know him, at least sufficiently. And people without his Word...well, "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). That being said, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14). That may sound arrogant, but remember what I wrote above. It is all of grace (Ephesians 2:8). I deserve to be the person who has never heard the gospel or the person who has heard it and rejected it. "But God made [me] alive together with that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward [me] in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-5,7).