Sunday, October 5, 2014

Oh to be Ignorant

There is probably nothing more irritating to an old Christian, than a new Christian. They are so excited. It's Jesus this, and Jesus that. Every prayer seems to be answered without delay. And they are simply oozing with sticky, sweet, joy. You know what I mean, don't you? Better yet, you remember BEING that, don't you? Now you are in the group that tells them to calm down. Not to be so obnoxiously evangelical. You're already a Christian - you don't need to hear them singing every new Christian song, and don't want to see them wearing all of those obnoxious t-shirts covered with clich├ęs and slogans. You've matured. You've grown. You've become stale.

How do I know this? Because I'm stale.

What happened? How did I get this way? My story from when I first became a Christian to now is rather long and detailed, so I won't go into it too much here. Let's just say that the saying is true: the more you learn, the less you know. Let me explain.

Have you ever tried Google Earth? You start off looking at the Earth, and start zooming in. Click, by click, by click you get closer and closer to the Earth's surface, and see more and more details. Pretty soon you went from a big ball of blue to your driveway. That's so cool. Tell that to the crew of the Apollo 8 mission. As they orbited the moon, they watched the Earth "rise" and quoted the first ten verses of Genesis: "In the beginning, God … " The beauty and majesty of the Earth from space has had similar impacts upon those fortunate enough to "… have danced the streets of heaven, and touched the face of God." (Cuthbert Hicks) It's not the minute details of the streets, it's the overall beauty of the Earth seen from 100 miles above it.

(I have used the phrase "Five thousand foot level" several times in previous posts in reference to viewing the Bible. It sounded good, but in retrospect I should have used something more akin to 528,000 feet. But to be consistent, I'm going to continue using five thousand.)

Christianity, at least in the varieties I'm familiar with, starts off looking at God from such that low Earth orbit (100 miles). As you read the Bible, expose yourself to sermons, books, and other sources of knowledge, you get "closer and closer" to God. Soon you find you've broken through the clouds and gotten right down to your driveway. Some would say that is a good thing. At one point in my life I would have agreed. Today? Oh to be ignorant.

Let's look at it with another example. Have you ever looked at a painting? Not a print of a painting. Not a picture of a painting on the internet. A real, honest-to-goodness painting? Gotten so close to it you could see the individual brush strokes? That is where I am in my Christianity. I've heard so many sermons, read so many books (including the Bible, over and over), that I've gotten right up close to the brush strokes of God. The problem? I've forgotten what the overall picture looked like. I forgot the beauty and awe of God that I first saw when I first saw Him. I've spent so much time getting to know about Him, that I've forgotten Him. And what's worse, without my reading glasses, I can't even enjoy the individual brush strokes!

I want to be ignorant again. I want to wipe out all of those years of study and go back to that simple joy of meeting Him. If you had asked me what made going to church such an impactful part of my life, I would have told you it was the sermons - the powerful preaching. Not today. Today I would soon as much leave before the sermon starts. Go from worship to the offering to the car. I don't even mind the offering - to me it's an extension of the worship.

I'm a little biased: I happen to be on the worship team of our church. I sing, and play blues harmonica and a little percussion. For me, I find it "easier" to worship God from the platform than from the congregation. I find I worship God through the instruments. There was a Sunday a few weeks ago that the worship leader (who happened to be sitting at the piano) had tears running down his cheeks while he played. He was worshipping God through his playing. If the church asked me to step down from the worship team, I'd find I'd have very little reason to keep coming.

To be honest (if that above wasn't honest enough), if it wasn't for the fact that I'd end up leaving my instruments still on the platform, I'd leave right after the offering anyway. Its not that the sermons are no longer good - they are still phenomenal. I just find that I'm so empty sitting there. I am no longer interested in one more "nugget". One more Greek translation of some amazing truth of the Bible.

Jesus said to "Come unto me like little children." (Matthew 18:3). Some believe that that means that you come to Jesus as a little child and grow up from there. What is the most "popular" prayer in the Bible? It's called the Lord's Prayer. It starts off with "Our Father, Who art in Heaven. Blessed by Thy name." Do you know what that really says? "My Daddy, Who lives in Heaven. Blessed is Your name." Daddy, not Father. It's a word of endearment. Those who have translated it "Father" have done a great disservice. We are to come to Jesus, and continually come to Him, as a little child.

When I was a child I would reach up my arms to my daddy. He would pick me up and place me on his lap, and hold me. Today? We go out to breakfast and talk man-to-man. The thought of him picking me up and holding me on his lap is absurd.

I want to go back to climbing into God's lap. I want to be a child again. Oh to be ignorant.

© Emittravel 2014

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