Thursday, December 11

Four Spititual Circles?

A while ago I read an interview with James Choung (here it is). In it he explains how he came to use four circles to explain the gospel to our current culture that is interested in social justice. Part 1 of a brief video is here; part 2 is here. I think it is a good tool that is more relevant than "The Four Spiritual Laws," though that can be useful too. I suggest reading the interview before watching the video.

We Are Rich!

For one of my classes this semester, I was assigned to read "The Crisis of Islam" by Bernard Lewis. It is a really good book that attempts to give a brief history of how and why "The West" and radical Islam are in the current conflict.
There was a passing comment that I thought was interesting though...

"Among the components in the mood of anti-Americanism were certain intellectual influences coming from Europe. ... In this perception, America was the ultimate example of civilization without culture; rich and comfortable, materially advanced but soulless and artificial; assembled or at best constructed, not grown; mechanical not organic; technologically complex but without the spirituality and vitality of the rooted, human, national cultures of the Germans and other 'authentic' peoples" (69-70).

It appears to me that there is at least some truth to this...
"For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked" -Rev. 3:14
Maybe we need more than just culture....

Sunday, December 7

Questioning the Faith?

Engage Truth has been recording video testimonies for the last year or so. They edit them down to a three minute video that they play before the service every couple of months. They recorded mine last week. I briefly spoke about my history before coming to Christ as an atheist and the process I began afterward. Here is an excerpt; I will post the video when it is done.

After I became a Christian, I had a lot of questions that need to be answered; it was a long process that didn't happen overnight. I spent a lot of time reading the bible trying to understand what it meant, praying for wisdom about specific things I didn't understand, reading Christian books (there are a lot of people who have had the same questions as you), and talking with my Christian friends. I would ask my friends questions, often about things that they didn't have answers to but we would begin to work out the answers together.

As I took the time to study, reflect, and work through the questions that I had, I began to find answers. I see a lot of people who struggle with questions and doubts but they don't appear to be bothered about finding the answers. It is almost like they are more upset that their world has been shaken up a little, than they are about finding the truth. The fact of the matter is we all have questions and we all need to be taking part in the dirty work of finding the answers.

I suspect that part of what happens when people have doubts and questions that eventually lead them away from the faith is, a lot of questions build up and never get answered. They may begin by asking: is the bible reliable, is Jesus really the messiah, does God answer prayer, did God approve of genocide in the old testament, if god exists does he cause suffering in the world, and many other valid questions like this, but they never find the answers. Eventually there comes a point when they say, "there sure are a lot of things that don't make sense, so God must not exist." The tragedy with this is not that they are asking questions but that they are not finding or even looking for the answers.

I would encourage anyone who has doubts or questions to not feel bad; it is normal and good to ask questions. The important thing though, is to not stay in that place of merely questioning; move on, look for the answers. We believe in God by faith, but it is a faith based on reason; it should not be done blindly. Jesus claimed to be "the way and the truth and the light" John 14:6a. I really think that as we begin to look for him he will begin to reveal himself to us (Matt 7:7-11). I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression either. It is not as though I have all of the answers, but I have began the journey of finding them with Him.