“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13
Have you ever had the experience of waking up wondering who you were? Maybe the question was “Why am I here,” or even this, one I wake to find quite often, “What am I doing here?”
“What am I doing here?” I believe this question dogs our footsteps more often than we realize. Whether it is at work, at home, even while seeking that elusive R&R (Rest and Relaxation) that is supposed to recharge our internal batteries, this question can haunt us, even our dreams! So, all that’s left for me to do now is give the magic answer to the “What” question.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer to the What question for myself, so how do I come up with an answer for anybody else? Is the “What am I doing here?” question facing us about our profession, our family, our calling, or something completely different?
When Paul tells the Ephesians they were once far away, what exactly does he want them to understand? By extension, how do his words apply to us, or do they? Maybe everything written in the Bible is figurative, just a bunch of stories, legends, and myths!
The idea that the Bible is just a bunch of stories is something I have been dealing with in a Theological forum I joined a couple of months ago. It has been an education as some forum members make interesting choices when it comes to accepting what is literal and what is not. There is discussion of what is real about Jesus; was Jesus real or merely a figurative symbol? The question remains open for a number of the forum writers.
Beginning in the early 1900s two distinctly different theologies emerged in contrast to the dogmatic religions existing at the time. These two differing attitudes became known as Crisis Theology and Liberal Theology. They were based on two extremely divergent sets of fundamental beliefs. In many ways the decisions made in those days cemented the attitudes concerning how God and Jesus would be either accepted or rejected in the coming years.
The Liberal Theologians would deny the slightest connection with any fundamental structures. Developed from the Age of Enlightenment, science became the choice for interpreting the Bible. The Liberal movement declared much of the Bible symbolic, the majority of what was written about Jesus was most likely myth, just a bunch of stories.
In response to the Liberal movement, Crisis Theology chose to place an emphasis on Faith, God’s unforeseen meeting with humanity, and the established ways of relating to God. The Bible was used to interpret itself, with the understanding that through the Bible we understand the Bible, and the Holy Spirit leads into all Truth.
So how does the forming of two opposite theological disciplines and the question “What am I doing here?” have to do with Grace in Process?
I am discovering there is a not-so-unique attitude claiming whatever you can think up about God is the answer to who God is and what God will do, especially if you can prove it by some scientific theory. In several conversations lately it has been pointed out that most literalists rely on the Bible as their textbook with that seen as what only an ignorant person would rely on as their authority, an emotionalist reaction to the absolute truth found in science and by literary experts!
So if you rely on the one book which is admittedly the most centered approach to knowing God, then according to a great number of academia the Bible is an outdated book of myths and legends, just a bunch of stories possibly useful for the purpose of teaching! This makes finding common ground in discussions of spirituality, the purpose of Christianity, of Jesus, quite difficult. What was the reason Jesus came if it wasn’t to save humanity, to correct the distorted picture of God, and live a life to cover every life of everyone who ever lived on this earth?
In the challenges created by this economic situation we are living in right now many are seeking for answers. When a crisis occurs many turn to the church seeking answers, comfort, needing someone to tell them everything is going to be fine. But telling people everything will be OK isn’t the message the church and Christians can give, it isn’t a message anyone can give with absolute authority. However, there is a message offered; it has been offered for over two-thousand years.
The message has been the same in passing millennia, God loved you so much He chose Death that this whole world could escape that death. This is something I firmly believe we must know for ourselves! God didn’t have to do anything, He chose to do something! I know it was His Love that motivated Him to make that ultimate of sacrifices.
This is important to know, to accept, internalize, repeat to yourself over and over, to remember. The Love and Grace of God is all yours because of what Jesus did for you, for us all. Every man, woman, and child ever conceived is the heir of God, worth more than any mere human mind will be able to take in! This is one lead, a pointer to the What that is God, and finding the What of who is God goes a long way to defining, revealing “What am I doing here?”.
How do the teachings of two vastly different approaches on who God is influence how we see God? How do they reveal God’s interaction with those He creates? And can you believe God is real, impacting your life in every way? How we see God is critical to the way we will choose to respond to Him. It yields insights regarding the intimacy of God in our lives.
If the very book that claims to be the revelation of God can’t be trusted where will you find God? I am very uncomfortable with a pulling apart of the Bible, deciding what to believe and what not to believe.
As we move ahead each and every day we have to know who we can trust. It isn’t getting easier, therefore it is important to know the What about God! This What is much more important than the question I often find myself struggling to answer, “What am I doing here?”. The reason I believe this is because if we know the What that is God, it will lead to the answer for the “What am I doing here?”.
For all the created must find their final definition in God, in His plans, in His Truth that is Jesus. The Holy Spirit is committed to leading all into all Truth. It is paramount we know the One. And here is an amazing reality, God makes sure we know Him if we want to know Him! Our responsibility is to melt into Him and receive all His has for us as His children.
“For we have not followed cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16 Modern English Version
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