Job’s Choice

A closeup of a hug.
A closeup of a hug. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This season in my life sucks.  I want to get that off my chest first thing.  I don’t want it to seem like my motivation in writing this is to be all “ohh, look at him, look at him.  He’s all holy stuff.”   Nor do I want there to be an implicit  finger wagging itself in judgement beneath all this.

I want to be upfront and say I would trade most anything… I would trade too much to get through this time in a quicker or easier fashion.  (And here is why the theological debate of original sin is irrelevant to me: I make Adam’s mistake every day.  It doesn’t matter to me if I would have inherited the penalty of his sin.  I earn it by myself every day.)

But thank God, I am not faced with the choice Adam or Job were faced with.  It’s not an option for me to take a cheater’s short cut through this.  It’s said that we’re never given more than we can bare.  We’re promised that God tests us, but never tempts us.  Given that choice would be too much for me, I think, and God knows it.

And if I took the cheater’s short cut, if I robbed myself of this dark season, I would miss out on so much.

That’s why I feel called to write this today.  I want to proclaim to myself and anybody who happens to be plodding through this: there is so much going on in my spirit right now.  There is so much happening to me in this dark time.  So much growth, that I think I’m just too shallow, thick-headed, and wimpy to achieve in any other way.

When I finally opened up the bible, the words jumped out at me with so much importance.  It was kind of like going from a two-d movie into a 3-d movie.  If the third d wasn’t breadth but breath; if the third d wasn’t about the georgraphy of space time, but somehow created a direct line to somewhere deep inside.

One of the things I read was how the John was sitting up, next to Jesus.  He leaned into Jesus when he asked the teacher who would betray them.  He leaned into him.

Who knows if that’s more of a metaphor statement than a literal description.  John leaned into Jesus.  Metaphorically leaning into Jesus is the best I’ll be able to do in this life.

I know all the cliches and I hear them all the time, about how close we’re supposed to be to Jesus.  Frankly, some of them make me uncomfortable.

A biblical description becomes almost a biblical invitation to do it myself, though.  It’s different than if it occurs in some cheesy worship song.
The bible itself tells me that Sitting right up next to Jesus wasn’t enough.  Sometimes, we need to lean into him.

Maybe I’ll blog some more about the work that this time is doing in me, and on me.  About 2 of the last 4 posts I’ve already published really are about this.  But there’s more to be said, a lot more to be said.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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