August 2010

Sometimes I feel a little claustrophobic.
There are times when my plans, setting and ideas feel small. Sometimes that means I need a change something in my life. Sometimes it is just my own internal issues and restlessness. Sometimes I simply need to place everything in the context of the biblical story.
The story of the scriptures is large enough to capture the corner of the world that I experience and the world that I sense is beyond what I know. The biblical story feels like a wide open field, a vast ocean, or a majestic mountain range to my claustrophobic soul.
Here is a quick summary of reality as I see it revealed in the bible:
God created everything.
Sin warped everything.
God is healing everything.
God invites every person to experience healing in every area of life.

Now that is a big story! It is a story in which everything matters and everything belongs.
I find freedom to run, explore, play and work in the picture of reality described in the biblical story.

My faith became real to me in high school. In my excitement, I took in all the information about God I could get. If someone said that God said something, I took their word for it. I thought that was they way to growth – just accept what you are told.

Those were the days of the first Gulf War. I occasionally watched “bible prophecy” preachers on TV. They claimed that the war was fulfilling a long list of prophecies from the Bible. They insisted that the war was the beginning of the battle of Armageddon, and that Jesus’ return was just around the corner.

The preachers on TV said that it was all in the Bible. I wanted all the Bible that I could get, so I believed them.

Then I was faced with the reality of events. The predictions that the prophecy preachers made did not occur! Jesus didn’t return in 1991. The first Gulf War ended, and it was not the Armageddon of the Scriptures.

Then I was faced with the reality of what the Bible actually said. I majored in Bible in college, including a semester in Jerusalem. I discovered that the TV preacher’s favorite bible prophecies had nothing to do with the Gulf War.

Reality taught me some difficult, but important lessons. When a person declares that the Bible says something, it doesn’t always mean that is what the Bible really says. A preacher shouting that God says something, doesn’t always mean that is what God really says.

While I once believed that the most spiritual thing you can do was to accept everything you were told without question, I have learned that sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to ask questions about what you are told.

I am not referring to hostile, fearful agenda-driven questions. Those normally do more harm than good.

I am speaking of the questions that you ask when you hear things said about someone you love, the questions you ask when you hear things about someone you long to know more fully. I would not believe everything said about my wife. Nor will I believe everything said about God.

In that spirit, I have discovered one of the best spiritual disciplines and one of the greatest acts of worship is to question what we are taught about God. God will be delighted to meet you in your questions.

Last weekend Robyn and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary! In addition to our annual anniversary outing in the city, this year we added a photo shoot!

The photo shoot was a lot of fun. We were in a unique yet beautiful setting that provided us with  some wild and crazy options for pictures. We were both in playful moods and ready for silliness.

Our wedding day was a lot like that – unique, exciting and a little silly.

There was a down side to the photo shoot, namely mosquitoes. They were unbelievably bad. It was painful to stand still at times. Those pesky hungry mosquitoes threatened to make a great event horrible.

In some ways it was like marriage – there are times when things are painful. Most of the time it is external forces and bumps in life, other times it is our own issues , either way we have to choose to keep moving forward.

In spite of being bitten by swarms of bugs, we would occasionally look each other deep in the eyes and smile. We had a sense that it was crazy and a little painful, but it was good. We had a deep joy in being together.

Our nine years of marriage have been like that. There are times when we face major obstacles or some comically absurd challenge, we look each other in the eyes and smile. We smile because we are in this together.

I have found that both the fun times and painful times contribute to a deep joy in marriage.

Thanks to our friend Matt Heltsley for taking the pictures in less than ideal circumstances!

Thanks to Robyn for a great idea for a wild and crazy anniversary photo shoot, and for nine years of wild and crazy marriage. I love you more today than I knew possible nine years ago!