Friday, January 23, 2009

What Do I Expect From God?

An issue has been pressing on my heart as of late. Well, actually, it never leaves my thoughts and this has been years.
It has to do with expectancy in worship. I worship Jesus, the risen Christ. We all have immediate reactions to this. Some nod in solemn agreement with an amen. Others, Jesus who? Is he Spanish? And still others think "Cuckoo Cuckoo! I never knew he was nuts!"
Looking around at how often Jesus is portrayed in our first world culture, I can see why. I believe it was the adult oriented cartoon "The Family Guy" who had a white Jesus introduced on Jay Leno as a guest on his show. It was a quick joke, depending totally on people's immediate characterization of who they thought Jesus was. The robes, the beard, the sandals, you understand. Placing him on Jay Leno as a guest was funny in a way, because what is this ancient icon doing there? HA! But not.
As those who have found faith in Christ will attest, there are several camps that we can throw ourselves into or be pigeon holed into. One is the conservative camp. The other, the Charismatic camp.
I have spent time in both camps, and I must say that even though I attend a rather "conservative" church right now, I believe myself to desire to be a Christian mystic. Ooh. I love that term, it sounds so mysterious and ethereal.
What I mean is, I have had many experiences that have blown my preconceived notion as to how I see Jesus out of the water. I have learned more about expecting him to do so, to disassemble my perception of him and revitalise my interaction with him as a result.
I believe that as it happened is scripture, so it happens with us. So through experiences we have, our beliefs are formed. If we never expect God to come into a room, we will not perceive it has happened when he actually does. This is faith. This is also how pigeon-holing works. If among my friends I have an experience with Jesus in a prayer time, say he speaks to me and I cry, like all people, my friends will quickly reference what their experiences have been and it either legitimizes their belief or it throws them for a loop. Throwing for a loop is uncomfortable. I know, because I have been thrown so many times. "That's weird," I would say to myself, "they must be faking." Or "Amazing! I want some of that too!" The part that feels uncomfortable wants to distance the possibility of it happening to me too as quickly as possible.
But walking with God is a journey. I believe what the scriptures say about the miracles, about who Jesus is/was on earth.
I also believe that I share the ignorance of Paul on his way to Damascus, the need to see for myself as Peter, the slow-on-the-uptake side of the disciples as the chat with Jesus after his death when they drag themselves back home. I share all these traits, and yet in order to grow I have had to lay my own perceptions to the side so that I can fully appreciate the revealed Savior. Only then can my life be healed, can I rise above my addictions and leanings and can I love more purely.
Back to worship. I need to experience God. I can't understand life properly without interaction. I have had enough paradigm-shifting to know that I should expect paradigm shifting in my life. God is interactive. How can I be more interactive, because its not He who needs the interaction for his own good, but me. Whether its contemplating a U2 song or reading the Psalms or watching my kids play, I still need to allow for more than just my end of the relationship to be active. Its how anyone come into a relationship with him, really. He is the initiator.
I need to come to the Cross just as much as anyone else and watch the "old man" of my life, as spiritual a he claims he was, die. The new man is then born.
More to come.


ootaynee said...

Harry, Sorry I was meaning to respond and I accidently erased your comment. Obviously, we are not on the same page. Sorry man.
But thanks for the input.

Harry Tournemille said...

I can’t believe you don’t know who Neil Young is. Heart of Gold? The Needle and The Damage Done? C’mon. Has to be one of Canada’s biggest music names ever. Sigh. Fine, maybe I’m getting old.
In no way was I trying to imply you were moronic. I know several morons, and you do not fit that bill. And I didn’t feel you were being judgmental either. I just wanted to challenge your points, that’s all. Nothing personal. I don’t want to belabor the discussion, namely because it is your blog and I wish to respect its validity. But I will try to clarify my own points and perhaps suggest counters to your ideas—all in the name of good dialogue, of course.
First, I’ll preface my comments by saying I don’t attend church and don’t consider most Christian rhetoric to be an accurate or truthful representation of what it would mean for something “greater” than ourselves to exist. Christianity is as man-made as any other religion out there these days, stolen directly from the Egyptians as best as I can tell. Only the Egyptians were more intelligent.
Your idea of revelation may not be entirely coherent. You suggest that a person (yourself in this case) reveals his/her self to friends, family etc. and this is how we truly know someone. There is truth to this, but one has to concede that the revelation is not always conscious nor is it intentional. In fact, the best insight we get from someone is when their guard is down and they have a more organic response to a scenario (whatever it may be). A person does these things subconsciously, daily. But what is important is how they are interpreted by others. And each person’s perception or interpretation is completely unique, even if on the surface they appear similar.
The “revelation” you imply one receives from God (at least how I read it) has to be entirely intentional and conscious. The Judeo-Christian God has no lapses in judgment or flaws in his character, therefore what you see is what you get—and that has to coincide with The Bible (and whatever other Jewish myth books carry the story). What is left then, is not so much the so called intention of the man upstairs, but a person’s interpretation of him. Here’s the problem: each person has their own unique concept of God, but even moreso, they have their own set of experiences to draw from. No two perceptions are the same. While you suggest this merely changes the method of revelation from God to man; I think it has to go deeper. It reveals a major flaw in Christianity; namely, that there can be no concise conception of God.
On top of that, as per my Neil Young experience comment, it actually doesn’t matter what the source of the experience is. You can say it’s God or I can say it’s just a great bloody song on a record album. There is no way of saying one is more legitimate than the other.
When I say your attachments are self-induced, I’m implying that your emotional responses to God are more a byproduct of your own experiences than any ethereal interaction. At least that’s how I see it in the context of my aforementioned thoughts.
God, I hope disembowelment is never involved in any religious experience.
Anyways, thanks for letting me give my opinions. Seeing this is your blog, you should have the last say. Hope I didn’t take up too much space. Keep posting.

ootaynee said...

So.. whereas I expect much from and claim to have experienced much with Jesus, you may have your own experiences and thoughts on it. I do not daresay "to each teir own", no no. I would just say that I am in a place where if I did not have Jesus walking beside me, healing my hurts and redeeming my life form the pit I have been in, I would be nowhere. This is so based on my own experiences and interactions, I can't imagine it would mean anythig to anyone else, well only if they reacted in same way. I face so much in my life in terms of ridiculous obstacles, difficult times and tsunami crisis, that I have dfound myself desperate for someone to reach out and grab my hand. LO. God is the the biz. YO. He heard my bleating. MO. He took my life and pulled me out of the mire. Healed my wounds. Set me on a path that actually blesses me. I need him desperately.

I am just being honest! And I hate on much of the church's ways too, but I know Jesus has this total love thing for it. Go figure.

BTW neil young? Ummm. I know who he is, just cant remember his tunes. you are old, but hey, arent we all lately? :P