Thursday, September 20, 2007

Forgive me for teasing you

For some time now I've been dropping hints and promises that I would be writing a lot about my evolving faith. After all, the name of this blog is based on a word in the bible, and my subtitle at the top of the page mentions that I "look to God" for guidance in life. My spirituality is an integral part of me.

Yet there haven't been many faith-related postings lately, mainly because it just didn't feel right. I've written several long posts about my views on life, the universe and everything, but in review they sound defensive and still don't quite portray how I really feel. So they languish in my "draft" folder and never get posted here.

That's when I started reading more of Romans 14. Especially the latter half of the chapter. In that section of the letter, Paul writes a beautiful yet strong piece of advice on how to love and encourage one another, even if your beliefs are different. Your own beliefs, he says, are between you and God. Keep them there, and use your energy to help those around you. That's what I want to do.

Obviously I'll still write about my faith -- just not in a direct, sum-it-all-up treatise that wraps up my theology in a nice package. I can't seem to put that together, and it keeps evolving anyway. So instead of wrapping it all up and blasting my views to the world, I'm just gonna note the truths I see in day-to-day life. God is everywhere, and in trying to write the ultimate faith text, I may be missing the little miracles all around me.

If you've been anticipating a view into my take on specific doctrines... sorry! Not gonna happen. But here's the super-short essence of where I am:

God exists. God is good. We have God in us. Things are going to turn out very, very well in the end.

That's it!

And to finish up, here's the latter part of Romans 14, as translated in The Message:

So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don't drag them down by finding fault. You're certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God's work among you, are you? I said it before and I'll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don't eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.

Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe--some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them--then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong.


Hal Johnson said...

Great post, Michael. How funny that I should read it right after listening to "Conversation with the Devil" by Ray Wylie Hubbard. In the song, Ray finds himself cast into hell, where he has a conversation with the Prince of Darkness:
I said, "Oh man, wait a minute, there's gotta be somethin' wrong. I ain't a bad guy, just write these little songs. I always pay my union dues, don't stay in the passin' lane."

But the devil said, "What about all that whiskey, and the cocaine?"

I said, "Well, yeah, but that's no reason to throw me in hell. Y'see I didn't use the cocaine to get high, just liked the way it smelled."

Well, okay, tying those lyrics to your post is a bit of a stretch, but given the timing, I just had to share 'em.

Redlefty said...

Interesting comment, Hal. :)

You sure that RWH was the only one hitting the coke and whiskey last night?

Hal Johnson said...

Naw, I was just high on life and yerba mate.

MamaRose said...

Hal is one funny guy!!!!! I'm 'late', AGAIN reading this post--sorry, again--guess I was BUSIER last week than I thought!!!!

I think what you've written is 'RIGHT ON' & our GOD IS ALSO TOTALLY JUST, MERCIFUL & LOVING!!!!
THANK GOD!!!!!!!!!

Like I've heard your Dad say MANY times, I'm glad I'm (or any other human being is) not judging everyone/ANYONE & it's GOD doing it!!!!!!

ALL of our FAITH in God GROWS & CHANGES as we read the Bible MORE, experience LIFE MORE, and SHARE JESUS with others MORE--that's the WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE!!!!!!!!!
So, YOU'RE DOING GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

We're SO VERY PROUD of you & Jamie & your 2 GREAT kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!