Tag Archives: faith

Deep Questions

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I have heard (but cannot find the study, so take it with a grain of salt) young believers attending non-Christian schools can cause them to question, and maybe lose their faith. I suppose, then, attending a Christian college would only serve to strengthen that faith. But my college experience seemed to bring up more questions for me about faith. Not my own, necessarily, but faith in general, and about what we believe. Such as, “What if the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, to worship as we feel led, to speak of our religious beliefs (and to be tolerant of others’), what if these freedoms have only served to water down the message of the gospel of Jesus?”

“And what about this ‘pocket Jesus’ trend, the ‘Jesus genie-in-a-bottle’ mentality. ‘(Poof!) What d’ya need? (Poof!) What d’ya need? (Poof!) What d’ya need?’ (Not so much a Disney fan as a fan of the late Robin Williams.)

genie

The idea that He is only here to grant our wishes only serves to emphasize the toddler-esque, egocentricity of humans. Not to say He doesn’t provide what we NEED. The 23rd Psalm is a great picture of this: “The Lord is my shepherd…”  But let’s get a little perspective here, people. It’s not all Mary’s little lamb with snow white fleece. No! Sheep are dumb, so dumb, and completely helpless. They cannot defend themselves. And sheep are GROSS! They certainly cannot clean themselves. Stinky, muddy, stuff stuck to the wool.

dirty sheep

Dude, what’s that? What do you have stuck in your wool?”

“I don’t know, but the shepherd will take care of this, he knows what we need.”

I find it incredibly humbling to think of myself as a stinky, helpless sheep, needing the shepherd for everything! Particularly humbling to think of a shepherd snipping certain little (ahem) nuggets off your fluffy behind.

Admittedly, these deep questions didn’t start with college. One particular question I remember from childhood. I wondered if we would have to answer on judgment day for driving. (I still wonder). This was before texting, y’all! The country roads out to Grandma’s house often had something on the road. A skunk, a raccoon, a deer L.

What were we doing? We were charged with taking care of the earth. But in our hurry to get here and there and everywhere, we were taking out innocent animals! Are we going to get in trouble for this?

Imagine this child growing up and (gasp!) hitting a dog. Sure it was running down the middle of my lane, in the dark. I tried to miss it (luckily no one was coming the opposite direction or this may never have been written). With this question still in my mind, I was devastated.  I commanded it, in the name of Jesus, to stand up and walk. I am not kidding. No zombie dog jokes here, people. But sometimes our prayers are not answered.

Even with some of these questions, my faith stayed pretty much the same, simple and straightforward. It was like having a little puzzle. Everything fits together so neatly and it looks exactly like the picture on the box.

Ane them, about a year and a half ago I met someone. A wonderful scholar, an energetic teacher and a dear friend. I love teachers like her. Someone so passionate and excited about the subject, it’s contagious. You cannot help but soak up some of that knowledge.

And do you know what he did? She gave me more puzzle pieces. A lot of pieces.  And no picture on the box. My little puzzle is only part of the whole. There is more.

puzzle

Good thing I LOVE puzzles.

And this has led me to some new questions.

“Who was Jesus in the conversation of his time? To Israel? To the Gentiles?”

“How can one fundamentally believe the Bible unless one understands the context(s) in which it was written?”

“How do we reconcile the crucifixion in a religion which believes human sacrifice is unacceptable?”

“What is death and where do we go/what happens?”

And this one, last night, in conversation with my husband: “Do angels have wings? And what about halos? I don’t remember anything in the Bible about halos.

angel-halo-with-wings-hi

(But give me a tiara and I will rock that!)

Fortunately, I am not the only one trying to put together this puzzle. I have a few friends gathered around this table with me, trying pieces this way and that.

And as we pray for guidance in this endeavor, we also give thanks for our freedoms, freedom to gather, freedom to study and dig deep in to the word of God, freedom to have these conversations.

 

 

 

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Living the Journey

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Go_Where_I_Send_Thee

“Children, Go where I send thee! How shall I send thee?”

Remember this song? I’m not sure it ever left me. As soon as I was old enough, I helped my parents in the Sunday school, then taught 4 and 5 year old’s as a teenager. Now I’m a parent, and this song is on just about every children’s Bible song CD and in every children’s church classroom.  Today, this song is front and center in my mind, playing over and over.  You see, we’re moving.

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“Mommy?  When are we going to move from this house?”

This is how the conversation started with my five year old one day in late September.
“We’ll move when God tells us to move.”  “OK.”  I thought that was that.  I thought the answer satisfied him.  And I was glad.  I don’t like moving.  No. I loathe moving.  Some rather unpleasant experiences have left me with intensely negative emotions around moving.  Besides, this is the city where I had always wanted to live.  Where I wanted to put down roots.  Where I wanted to be involved with the schools, the government, everything.   The next time we move, it had better be out of rentals and into our own home.  Here.  In my city.  Little did I know…..

“Mommy?  When is God going to tell us to move from this house?”  This is how the next morning started.  “I don’t know, Sweetie.  But when He tells us to move, that’s when we’ll move.”

She said it!  Cue the ringing phone!

It’s DaddyFoster telling me they’re moving operations to Wisconsin.  Oh.  Unemployment?  “They’ve offered me a job, a transfer.”  What?!?

“Children, go where I send thee.”

It is truly a song about living out our faith.

Wherever we are, wherever we land, is where the Lord has sent us.  You may not be traveling to foreign lands, feeding starving orphans, or sharing the truth with lost tribes.  Those people need God, yes, but so do the people where you are.  Do you work in an office?  Let your light shine!  Do your children bring their friends home?  Let your light shine!  Do you work with your hands in construction or mechanics?  Let your light shine!  What do you do?  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

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“How shall I send thee?”

And about going where He sends us.

Even when it’s a little scary.  (We don’t have a landing pad yet.)  Even when there is a giant looming before us.  (A five day trip with five boys ages 5 to 16?)  Even when it means transplanting your family of seven 2,000 miles away from extended family and friends.  (We must get that Skype account).

Pray with our family, as DaddyFoster leaves a month before us, and I am here with the boys; as he looks for a home for us there; as the children (and us) have worries and second thoughts; as the moving company packs and transports our “stuff”; as we get to know our new home; as we go where He sends us.

MamaFoster