Thursday, September 22, 2011

Faith Crisis/Shakedown/Chaff Winnowing...

The last several months I've been going through one of the above. You can choose which you like to call it. I have my preferences, and they aren't for the first one, but I no longer enjoy getting caught up in semantics.
I'm still a word nerd, and vocabulary is always fun for me, the more sesquipedalian, the better. But arguing a point over choice of words, when, like it or not, definitions ARE fluid and given to personal inflection, is just wasteful quibbling.
I've had several "shakedowns" (my personal choice) over the years I've known Jesus. The first few felt devastating to me, like I was committing some sort of betrayal, or declaring him untrustworthy. I now know that some (not all) of that was because I had espoused a culture and a system rather than *him*, and that was something that needed to be winnowed away.

But it seems that I'm susceptible to that common, all-too-human weakness for picking up baggage/extraneous trivialities along my way, like a tourist gathering souvenir knick-knacks.
We are pilgrims, not tourists. Right?
And there is a difference (to me) between souvenirs and ebenezers. Ebenezers have a purpose, a reason to keep them.
The trinkets to which I am referring are just that: trinkets. Little nothings that say, "look at me, see how wise/holy/righteous/serious/devoted/special... I am." Even if they are only saying to you yourself, not everyone else.
As far as  I know, we are all as drawn and attracted to them as Eve was to the fruit. Sometimes we forget (or seem to, from the comments I hear/read), that Eve didn't say. "Mean old God, I'll show him not to tell me what I can't eat!", but that she did look at it first, and (here comes my own thoughts:) think about it and ponder it in a very "spiritual" kind of way, and the things that she saw (or thought she saw) were good things, that we all pursue, even more enthusiastically if we want to be "good":
"the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise".
Now, from a woman's/mom's perspective (although I think with a few modifications this is true for men too), these are all *good* things that we are taught to pursue; sometimes even taught that the pursuit of these things is godliness- especially in the case of the last one. We need to eat, and we are to provide food for our children, if we have them. We are told often to be creative and seek beauty, and to fill our homes with beauty to bless our family and friends and strangers, and that is a part of being "in the image of God". And of course, we know we are to pursue wisdom.
The problem, as I see it right now, is that Eve went after these *outside of God's parameters*.
I digress.
We are drawn to those trinkets, the "extras" that we tag onto our faith and our spirituality like ornaments on a tree, and the drawing is often, like Eve's, a seeking for good things. Again, the problem comes when they are outside of God's parameters. As mine have been.
So, every so often, there is in my life, a time of dumping it all out and sorting through to separate the wheat from the chaff, or, to follow my trinket/ornament/souvenir analogy, the jewels from the rhinestones. Because I am finding that I can only carry so much, and that the rhinestones can crowd out the jewels if I'm not watchful. I think that limitation of how much I can carry is divinely ordained, so that I *do* get rid of the kitsch regularly.
Each time, it seems that there is a different focus area, a different facet of this spiritual life that gets cleaned out. This time, it's the Bible. Specifically, my perception of it, my position on exactly what it is, and the effect it is to have on my life.
Having your comfort zone, the things you've always been used to  and taken for granted, scrutinized this way is challenging, and can be a little frightening, especially if you don't remember that Truth is to be sought.
My husband used to terrify me when we first got married, he would talk with someone that we doctrinally disagreed with about the doctrine we disagreed on, and the conversation would often end with him saying, "I'll think about that."
I would flip out (internally of course - a good wife wouldn't say what I was thinking: "WHAT do you mean you'll THINK about it??!! Don't you KNOW better??!!")
He's taught me though, that if we really want the Truth, then we have to be willing to admit that we might be wrong, and change accordingly. That is different from being wishy-washy and not really knowing what you believe, or, if you want to use the bible words for it: carried about by every wind of doctrine. We are to be easy to be entreated, and to test spirits...

to stop blogging for a few and make lunch for our children.
To be continued...


  1. "We are pilgrims, not tourists." Love this!!

  2. Cool, nicely articulated random thoughts. A couple of things came to mind while I read this post.
    1). Communication is hard, words help but fall short in the end. The best definition I have ever heard for communication is the transfer of meaning. The process of that transfer from you to another is hindered by the difference in your backgrounds. I use a word like obey and your reaction (what you hear) is colored with your experience. So the meaning of a word is fluid at best.
    2). I think that was at the center of John 16: 12-16 so the plan Jesus describes for getting the rest of the "logos" transferred cheats (haha).
    3). The truth of God (the logos or point He has been communicating) is not a view of a set of facts or speculations. It cannot be debated, parsed, dissected and finally accepted as a set of information. The bible speaks of the truth but is not this truth. Funny thing is I think you know why.

    Food for thought natural the above is my view but is has been sable for some time now.