It had to happen.
I'm sure those of you that follow the SMs know I have been dealing with a woman who's been blogging basically about her descent from faith to... something else. And I can understand how she got lost. She was someone who took "If you diligently seek Me" to heart literally. She went from a catholic world of the Church Fathers deciding what God meant to a Calvinism that assigned people to heaven and hell almost randomly, to a universalism that said everyone goes to heaven regardless to... where ever she is now. And this week, I un-followed her- not because of anything she said in her posts, but her growing-apparent attitude in the comments. She was no longer truly responsive to those who, through their experience were trying to help her "re-find" God's will; instead, she was more eagerly lapping up the poisonous views of atheists congratulating her for her "wisdom" in questioning God. In particular, three people were her main source of "wisdom" - one who theorized that since man was no more than an animal, the concepts of good and evil were artificial and really didn't apply; another claimed to have been an evangelical minister who had rejected all he had preached for "the wild and wonderful world out there."
When I look back over her story, I see her idea of seeking God as seeking a God made of Legos. Each verse, each bit of knowledge, having to be this perfect square that fit in neatly with each other perfect square, eventually building a God she could comprehend with a rigid confidence. But where she took the failure of that construct to mean that maybe there isn't a God, she totally rejected Paul's explanation of "Now we see as through a mirror darkly,", that God HAD to want to be revealed perfectly or else why should anyone believe?
God is more like the sand on the seashore. At times, the tide rolls out and we have an epiphany of revelation, and a section of His relations with us make sense. Other times, the storm pushes the sea forwards and we cannot make Him out amidst the driving rains and the whitecapped swells.
But just like the sand, God is still there. Shifted to our perceptions, perhaps, but still sand, still shore, still unchanged.
Today, Dr. Jeremiah's talk on Thanksgiving included a pertinent observation: "Sometimes we have to go back and see how things WERE, before we can be thankful for how things ARE." This is where we get to me, on the other side of the coin.
I mentioned last week one day that I had been re-reading over and over a certain passage. That passage was Romans chapter six. In it Paul asks, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? Certainly not!" (v1), and again, "What then, shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? Certainly not!" (v15). The old conundrum of what is the relationship of grace and sin- and how are we perceiving it in our actions.
Before I was saved, I was little more than the "evolved animal" that the blogger's one commenter claimed to be. I had a sin in my life, and was ruled by it. It left me no (zero) choice in my actions, I was going to commit it. I had no purchase for escape. Then I was saved, and I LITERALLY (a concept that atheists will never understand) felt those chains come off.
But have I remained thankful for that freedom through the years? You tell me. It has become a freedom to sin, knowing that forgiveness is eventually mine through Jesus Christ. I can do it, regret it, repent it, seek absolution, feel better, and do it again. And totally ignore what it felt like under chains. And I can excuse it, not by pointing out contradictions in the Bible, or by focusing on one verse while ignoring the surrounding narrative that it's pulled from, as this blogger did several times to justify her doubts. No, I justify by things like, "I have a thorn in the flesh, to keep me humble", or "Now there is no condemnation..."
And conveniently brush aside "Shall we continue? Certainly not!"
My crime is not one of building a God from Legos; it is looking at the wall and saying, "Oh, that's just the mirror being dark."