Once again, I've had trouble the last few days working out what to write about. Not for lack of ideas of course, I've got plenty of those. It's just the simple fact that I am at a very personal part of my walk with Father right now, and the things he has been teaching me are very specific to my current situation. Not that God couldn't still use these things to encourage others, but I'm just not at peace with sharing them at the moment. I'm not sure too many people would be encouraged by a complete and thorough explanation of what I believe regarding church leadership. It's probably something I'll write about in the future, but now isn't the right time.
Lately, there has been a good amount of discussion, both in the blog world and outside it, between myself and people who have read some of the things I have written here. I am very thankful for this, as God keeps on bringing me in touch with the right people at the right time to accomplish his ongoing work. But I think a post about church leadership would spark more of a debate rather than a discussion, as it can be a controversial subject. That is not the purpose of my writing at all. As the title of my blog hints at, my desire is to point out places within disagreements and discord where fellowship and one-anothering can still take place. In otherwords, in the common identity all believers share as children of God, through their position in Jesus Christ.
So, what is it that I want to write about? Well, since I only mentioned it briefly a few posts ago, I thought I'd share more of what I learned, and am still learning, through reading The Shack. I don't want to give the plot away, for those of you who haven't read it, but about a week ago I wrote a series of unrelated paragraphs while on a car trip when I felt like my head was going to burst with ideas. I thought I'd share them here, as they are all results of concepts introduced to me through The Shack. (And I can't say this enough: if you haven't read the book yet, Read It!)
~There are a lot of horrible things that can happen in the lives of God's children, however, these things are not evidence of his displeasure. Pain, sorrow and grief brought on by acts of abuse, violence or injustice are not orchestrated by God. They are not in his nature. However, that doesn't mean that he can't still use these things for good. That is the essence of his nature: completely turning around the things we either screw up, or that are screwed up for us, results of the world we live in being ruled by sin.
~I am firmly convinced that there is only so far a child of God can come to getting to know his Father without going through pain.
~I can't tell the spiritual state of a brother I see everyday any more than I can discern the spiritual state of the pope. (I have my suspicions about the pope's spiritual state of course, but attempting to discern it, dwelling on it, or coming to a conclusion about it does absolutely no good to anyone, nor does it provide me with any more insight into his soul than before.)
~When I disagree with a brother, I can tell him that I disagree; God wants his children to be able to be honest with each other. True relationship can only exist in an environment of honesty. But simply disagreeing with a fellow believer does not give me the right to withhold love or fellowship from him, nor does it give me the right to try to prove to him that he's wrong and I'm right. If there is something I am convinced of, someone simply telling me that they think I'm wrong isn't going to change my mind. Only the Holy Spirit has the power, ability and right to transform. Whether it be someone's soul, thinking pattern, attitude, or a verse they have misinterpreted, a true change in any of these areas would require some sort of transformation. Based on this, I am convinced that believer-to-believer transformation is not something God meant to be a part of "one-anothering."
~Worship is anything that declares the glory and worthiness of our Heavenly Father. Our very lives, lived out in moment by moment trust and rest in his provision - his ability to meet every need - is a complete act of worship!