Monday, March 23, 2015

Dare


photo source
Dedicated to all those who have an ear to hear.
"...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Anticipation

It was a moment or two -- or was it a small eternity? -- before he noticed his hands were shaking.

So much so, that he had to force himself to slow down, to listen carefully, and to write as clearly as possible. This was the Big One -- and as a prophet who had had many mind-blowing revelations, he knew instinctively that he needed to write it down with great care.
"The man said to me, 'Son of man, look carefully and listen closely and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the people of Israel everything you see.'" (Ezekiel 40:4)
He had been raised on the stories of when Solomon had first dedicated the Temple, and how the glory of the Lord was so powerfully present that the priests couldn't even do their normal jobs. (1 Kings 8)

And, sadly, he had been the one who saw the glory of the Lord leave the Temple after centuries of his peoples' unfaithfulness to their Covenant with God. (Ezekiel 10 & 11)

He had been encouraged and inspired after his vision of the Valley of Dry Bones -- God could and would bring life out of what looked like death. (Ezekiel 37)

But this... !

He was doing as he had been instructed by the angelic messenger: carefully writing down everything that he was being shown. Detail after detail, nuance after nuance, all the pains-taking minutia that he heard.

And then it had hit him... hard, like a bolt of lightning to the mind.
He was writing down the plans for the new Temple. Not only had God promised to bring His people back from exile, but now He was revealing the Plan for when they returned.
He swallowed hard, willing his heartbeat to slow down. He concentrated on the words of the angelic messenger; every detail was important, just as it had been when Moses built the Tabernacle (Exodus 25-28), and when Solomon had built the first temple (1 Kings 5-8).

But he could barely contain his joy as he furiously wrote. The sense of anticipation -- of expectation -- was so thick he could almost taste it.



It's 2015. Is there any sense of anticipation or expectation today?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mis-Diagnosis: Certainty

There is a logical fallacy known as the False Cause, which LogicalFallacies defines as:
Presuming that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.
Many people confuse correlation (things happen near each other) for causation (one thing caused the other).

It is becoming quite popular today, if you visit various Christian websites/blogs or see random quotes in your BookFace feed, to find comments that reinforce the following diagnosis:


And, of course, since no follower of Jesus wants to be known as an arrogant know-it-all, therefore certainty in matters of faith must be rejected.

And many of us have, at some point in our journey, actually met some arrogant know-it-alls. And some of them have even been Christians. We weren't comfortable around them, and we certainly don't want to be them. And so the False Cause fallacy can be surreptitiously planted into our thinking.

Aye, but here's the rub... (actually, there are several)
  1. It's a False Cause fallacy because arrogance is not caused by certainty. Let me say that again: arrogance is not caused by certainty.
    Arrogant people can and sometimes do attach themselves to theological certainty, but let's face it: they'd be arrogant no matter what the issue was. Theology, politics, or the Toronto Maple Laffs Leafs -- the problem is the arrogance, not the topic it's been applied to.
  2. The opposite of Arrogance is Humility, not uncertainty. When God speaks against pride and arrogance, He never counsels lack of certainty as the remedy, but rather humbleness (James 4:6,10 & 1 Peter 5:5-6).
  3. We serve a God who is revelatory by intent -- the supreme example being the Incarnation of the Son of God, who "became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood" (John 1:14). When God goes to such great lengths to reveal Himself, doesn't it seem just a wee bit odd that 21st century peeps are trying to make Him all hidden and unknowable again?
By all means, let's flee pride and arrogance. God has no use for it (Proverbs 6:16-19) and actively opposes people who live in it (James 4:6).

But don't buy into the logical fallacy lie that says holding your faith with certainty = arrogance. You can be humble, and confident in your faith, all at the same time.