Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I looked across at my friend, who with tears welling up in his eyes, was summarizing for me what he thinks theology is all about. "Two things," he said, "that I am a horrible sinner, and that Christ is a gracious savior."
Little did I know the depths that my friend and I were going to plumb this afternoon as I stumbled into the office (I stumbled because I'd been watching the kids all morning and was hoping to gather my wits at the office). I had no idea about the relational feast I was about to enjoy. For in a short period of time my friend and I got to talk about everything that truly matters.
Everything that our hearts burn to know (at least in the moment) we looked at and discussed with eagerness. So much so that at the end of our conversation I thought, "This friend is oxygen to me, I need him in my life."
He's farther down the road in his theological understanding and depth than I am, and he has me constantly wondering, "Have I heard of that thinker or that heresy?" But even though he's farther down the road, he's not pretentious, he's kind.
That's what I'm looking for, for someone who thinks deeply about the matters of God, and who's conclusions have made him kind.
I have many of these types in my life. Heck, my whole family is this way! They are oxygen for me when I can't catch my breath. When I am surrounded by doers and people running, I need these guys who flag me down in the race, take me into a tent, and hook me up with some water and oxygen. I need to be stopped and told to sit, rest and listen.
We all need this. We all need people in our lives who will not only challenge our actions, but challenge our thinking behind our actions - our theology. For it all comes back to what we think about God. What we think about God absolutely does determine our actions.
So I thirst for God and for a deeper understanding of his ways. To the degree that God wakes me to the reality that he is my teacher and I am the pupil, I will live with what I most need. This is the only way forward when you're put in a position of influence in ministry, as I have been (though right now it's humble and undefined), and I'd say it's the only way forward in everyday life.
My friend reminded me that I've been trained by my culture to think to truth. God's way is different for his word is truth. I want to find again healthy respect of who I'm dealing with even as I type about the things of God.
I can't reason my way to deeper faith. I can't study my way to richer understanding. But if I reason and study as God graces me, and do so with grate vigor in my freedom, I will find Wisdom. I will find grace. I will find Christ.
Why? Because God delights in giving good gifts to his children.
"I remember two things..."