Monday, June 05, 2006

Spiritual quick hits

I'm going with a blurb-type format tonight so that I can cover several topics in a speedy fashion:

Recent Reading Material

A few weeks ago I finished "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" by Anne Rice, and now my wife is reading it too. What a fun and fascinating book! It's a fictional account of Jesus' life when he was about seven years old, and it's written from his perspective. I loved seeing his and his family's constant tension of child vs. god in this little boy, and never knowing which of Jesus' aspects will shine through at any moment. Sometimes he's small, naive and out of touch, but other times he shows incredible maturity and wisdom. It really rang true as a glimpse of what an amazing challenge it must have been to raise a boy who not only would become King, but has always been King.

It was also intriguing to see the Jewish culture of the time, and how they interacted with the Romans during a time of leadership change (Herod's death). Anne Rice did a ton of research to make this fictional account as historically accurate as possible, and it pays off. I can't believe the author of the Vampire Chronicles and soft pornography has written this beautiful tale, yet here it is. Her author's notes at the back of the book detail her last two decades as a gradual and persistent return to faith, with this book as the initial result. Hopefully there are more to come (Jesus the teenager, please?).

Does God care about my job?

The last few weeks at my job have been a steady transition out of my current role and into something new. Last week I gave a presentation to the entire Executive team, pitching them my idea to create and run a whole new division in the company. They gave me verbal approval and I'm scheduled to work out the job description and salary details tomorrow.

During this whole series of events I've been in almost constant prayer about it, and a few times I heard a little voice in my head say, "Do you really think God is involved in this?" I can say that when I look back at my previous company, where I had seven jobs for eight bosses in four years, God's hand was certainly on me in every transition, especially when I left the company only months before it was acquired and downsized. Yet Christians aren't guaranteed smooth careers just because they follow God, right? And there were probably some Christians caught by the layoffs I dodged... what could I say to them?

These are questions I can answer easily, but the answers always sound hollow to non-Christians. The fact of the matter is that I cannot prove that God has guided my career path, no more than an atheist can prove that he loves his wife. It is a matter of faith. My faith can't guarantee that God is actively working through my career, but I know this: he does care. That's all I need.

New church home

Yesterday we placed membership with a new church family! Here is their website -- the church building in only seven miles away from our house, which is right around the corner in Houston terms. We look foward to many years of service, worship, and community with the people there. We also hope to bring other people to the church and help introduce them to what it means to be in God's family.

Mini cool Bible fact

In Jonah 1:1-3, we have the familiar introduction to Jonah's story. He is told by God to go to Ninevah and preach warnings to them, but instead Jonah goes to nearby Joppa and hops on a ship to Tarshish.

Cool fact: From Joppa, Ninevah is about 500 miles East. That's where Jonah was supposed to go. Tarshish, his attempted escape route, was nearly 2,000 miles to the West! For comparison, imagine you live in Illinois and God commanded you to preach to New York City. Instead you ran to Seattle. That's what Jonah was doing.

You gotta give him credit -- if there was anywhere out of reach of God, it would have been Tarshish, the western end of the known world at that point in history. Too bad for Jonah that God's reach and eyes go just a little bit farther than 2,000 miles.

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