Wrestling To Know God
Jacob wrestled with God through out the night by the river side saying he will not let go until he gets the Lord's blessing. That about describes how I wrestled with knowing God. I have been up and down the theologic spectrum. To seek after God is an incredible joy. There should be a warning that along the way we may get knocked around and hurt.
Many well meaning people try to help, but in their well meaning we can be lead astray. How many times in the Gospels did you see the people who come to Jesus completely missing who He really is? It happened to the apostles on more than one occasion, even after viewing the risen Christ. As I listen to a lot of preachers and read a lot of books I am stuck with either all sunshine without consequences or nothing but judgment. You can't turn around without getting an either/or perspective of who God is.
Most recently I finished reading Brennan Manning's “The Ragamuffin Gospel”. There is a little bit of controversy surrounding Brennan. Theologians have attacked him saying he's a universalist (which he denies in the last section of book), or whatever. There is no wonder since he focuses entirely on grace and how God loves us even at our worst. He never discusses judgment or whether you have to accept Christ as your Lord and be Born again. At least not in this book. Sadly, his one sided view can invalidate his message in my people's minds just as Jerry Fallwel's message is lost.
I do not want to become a legalistic person or one so blinded by grace that I lose God's true nature. These are gross over-simplifications with a limited measure of truth. To quote Tony Campolo it is like we are are like mixing manure with ice cream. Once we pick out the turds (thank you Colbert) we at the very least can begin to sort out who our True God is. Where is the God of wonder, the God who brings us to our knees and makes us want to do nothing but praise and worship Him?
I think it might be demonstrated that almost every heresy that has afflicted the church through the years has arisen from believing about God things that are not true, or from overemphasizing certain true things as to to obscure things equally true. To magnify any attribute to the exclusion of another is to head straight for one of the dismal swamps of theology; and yet we are all constantly tempted to do just that.
For instance, the Bible teaches that God is love; some have interpreted this in such a way as to virtually deny that he is just, which the Bible also teaches. Others press the Biblical doctrine of God's goodness so far that it is made to contradict His holiness. Or they make His compassion cancel out His truth. Still others understand the Sovereignty of God in a way that destroys or at least greatly diminishes His goodness and love.
I do not see a book like this being written today. Do not read it if you want to feel good about yourself or think God'll give you goodies for praying a certain prayer. You will get a reclaimed understanding of the omnipotence, omniscience, and self-sufficiency of God. Our heavenly father who does love us in spite of our sins, though there are times he will punish us out of love.
you mention his artwork. Though this work has a new age
feel it still has this loving and transcendent quality. Christ and God
are elevated above man, yet still very much a part of humanity.
Who'd have thought a work like this would come from such a character.
I refer to the loss of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind. The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men.
posted by Out Of Jersey | 7:44 AM