Theological arguments [are no longer part of my framework]

I was raised to believe that you have to know what you believe in order to believe.

I was raised to think that the answers mattered, and if one was lacking answers you better out those answers QUICK, or else (although I never found out what the “or else” scenario presented, “back sliding” perhaps?)

And I was good at learning about God, about the bible, about church history, et al. I could present sound arguments as to why I believed what I believed, and consequently I built this wall around myself- whether it was to keep myself in or others out, I think the answer to this is yes.

I knew the songs, I knew the bible verses, I was the Babe Ruth of bible baseball (questions ranged from easy / single to hard / home run).

The thing is, at that time in my life I equated knowing with believing, and thus my faith was secure as I thought it had to be.

But the funny thing is,
life happened.

Life happened to me in general, but the more definitive marks on my mortal coil were and have been the friendships and relationships I have invested my time and energy into. As my bro Ben says; “it’s not about stepping out of your comfort zone, it’s about expanding it” and I realize that’s what did it for me.

I also realized that arguments, and a “locking down” of one’s beliefs to assert what you believe can be a futile endeavor. Sure you can speak of God, but you can’t speak on God’s behalf. If anything, the more you learn about God the less you know (a beautiful paradox I find to be true). Mere words are drops of water in the ocean, no one has an upper hand in the God market.

I realize that when people are faced with new twists and turns in life, we can either resist or embrace what comes our way, mainly people who are different than ourselves. Living in our day and age, I don’t think it is possible to be completely closed off from whomever is the “other”, and so we will face the crossroads of resist/embrace.

So what does this look like to my system of faith? I’d say that when it comes to matters of God, theology, and everything in between, I hold it all with open hands. I am adaptable, I allow myself to be challenged, I allow myself to think for myself, I allow questions and doubts to swim about in my mind, I allow myself to take things in and leave things out.
Admittedly I’ve been accused of changing my mind and perspective on a variety of things, and I’m not worried in the slightest because I hold to the notion that the close I am in touch with my humanity and divinity, the humanity and divinity of others, the closer I am to God. “Closer” but nowhere close, and still I partake in learning and doing what I can to be the best possible follower of Christ I can be.

We as the human race are all trying to get through this life together, so please be kind and be loving to each other in this journey.

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

How big is your God?

Recently I found out that my friend and his wife have been trying some time now to have children, but the diagnosis they’ve been given is that they have infertility issues. Hearing that started the waterworks (yes I am a guy who cries from time to time) and it got me to thinking; should I get angry at God for this or should I pray about it?

So I’ve started praying for my friend and his wife today, my prayer is that if it is God’s will that the wife gets pregnant. I don’t have a problem praying for this and yet I know there might be some followers of Christ who give me flak; if she’s already been given a diagnosis of infertility, why pray for that?

Here’s the thing to skeptics, Christians and others; God is bigger than you can imagine if you don’t contain him (but even then he is bigger still).

This:

Used to be the box I contained God in; it’s where the safe, the comfortable, the easygoing, the “family friendly” and whatever I couldn’t take care of on my own. He was in here because I put him in here.

But as I’ve put God back in his rightful place he’s bigger than I could ever had imagined when he was wrapped up in a nice and tidy box…

Thing is, God is everywhere and there have been times where I feel his presence where some people dare not go to. I felt God’s presence at the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago as my friends and I took time to say I’m Sorry to the individuals around us letting them know that there’s a place for you in the church and that God loves them and so do we.
I sense God’s presence when I’m involved with interfaith activities where I’m dialoguing with Muslims, Jews, Christians, Ba’Hai, etc.
God is in our midst and yet it is easy to make him manageable and compact.

Then there’s this scenario with how we treat God:

God is Mr. Potato Head and we give him the accessories to make him more like us. God is transcendent from our standards and we cannot place our wills upon him.
I like what Anne Lamott said; “You can tell you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do”. It’s a reason why Fred Phelps and the people who make up Westboro Baptist Church get to me, they have made God out to be this LGBT hating, soldier hating, actor hating God of hate who absolutely despises EVERYTHING…except for the members of Westboro Baptist Church!
The God they’ve made for themselves is really small, and if my concept of God doesn’t convict me to love them than my God is pretty small too.

So if God is in fact a God I can’t contain, a God who is larger than I can imagine it means that THAT God can handle and if it is his will to answer my prayer because it is only BIG to me.

That is how BIG my God is.

~Nathanael~