August 31, 2010

"Give me that old time religion"

Please permit me a blog post of a personal nature without the need to provide advice about something or to expound on a religious topic. 

Nunnally United Methodist Church in Hickman County TN
During a discussion with one of my customers and his wife, I mentioned my Blog “I Believe”.  Thinking he might stump me, he asked me to briefly state my beliefs.  I responded with the Apostles Creed which begins, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord....”. As I got into the Creed, he and his wife both joined me as we ended the Creed with, “... the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting”.  The three of us laughed and parted as brothers and sisters in Christ. As they walked away, I thought, “Why had that Creed popped into my head so quickly?” As I pondered this, I began to understand the legacy of my many years in the Methodist Church (now the United Methodist). The constant and often boring repetition of certain portions of the service were silently criticized by us young folks. “I get nothing out of saying those things. I know them by heart and could say them in my sleep.”  What seemed terribly old fashioned then served the real purpose of cementing them and their message in my mind and heart.

I attend a local Baptist Church and always leave the service with a sincere feeling of having worshiped God and having been filled with the Holy Spirit through the music and the inspired message of our pastor. 

August 25, 2010

I Believe in God - Questions about God

You would think after three posts, I would be through writing about a belief in God. Truthfully, there are indeed numerous other posts about God, the nature of God, God's relationship to His creation, God's intervention in history and so on and so on.  Most of these questions will be addressed in later posts. As an aside, you may tire of me indicating I will address something in a later posts.  Frankly, I am tired of writing this phrase and am anxious to proceed as well.  But my intention in these first few articles is to establish a basic foundation of beliefs. On this foundation of basic beliefs, I can discuss other beliefs which may not be "provable" but which are faith based and thus as strong as any other beliefs.  In other words, I feel I must earn the right to discuss faith based beliefs by setting out some basic foundational beliefs.

But before proceeding, it is important to confess there are some questions about God that continue to elude me. For example: 

August 11, 2010

I Believe in God - The implications of a belief in God

So I believe in a creator God. More importantly is the question, "What are the implications of this belief and how does it impact my life?" 

There was a book several years ago titled "Your God Is Too Small". We often limit God to those things we see as being possible for humans to do.  For many, God is nothing more than an over-sized, very powerful human.  So our requests of God are often limited to those thing we think are possible for humans. Seldom do we ask for or expect to receive those things which we perceive to be impossible. We underestimate a God who is powerful enough to create the earth and the universe from nothing. So the first implication of the creator God is that nothing is impossible with God. As an aside, realizing that nothing is impossible with God is not the same as expecting to receive everything we ask of God even those things which are for a good purpose. Can God heal? Can God move mountains? Can God keep our loved ones safe in a war?  The answer is yes to all three.  But the real question is not can He, but does He in all cases? I think the answer is probably no.  These are things we want but are they the things God wants? Unfortunately, we do not know the details of God's will.  But we do trust that God has our best interest at heart and the things that happen do so for a reason although the reason may be unknown to us.

The creator God does not have a time table for this earth. As humans, we are constrained by the limits of time, minutes, hours, days, years. Thus when we write of the creation of the earth we are limited to the use of words such as, "On the third day...". When in fact, a God unlimited by time, may have taken a billion years of human time to accomplish the task of creation.

The natural sciences suggest that the earth has taken millions of our years to develop and evolve. That evolution extends to the development of  humans as well. Natural scientist have discovered the bones of prehistoric humans, often different or varying species of human-like creatures they estimate are the steps in the evolution of mankind as we know it today. Through carbon dating they have  determined the period of time when these various prehistoric humans lived.  These estimates are given in human concepts of time.  Interestingly, the dating is in increments of tens of thousands of years; this species of human lived between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago, etc. so far there have been discoveries of at least three fossil remains of variational of humans.

Since God is not constrained by the limits of human time, why it so hard for us to believe that God used  all of these variations in humans to test and refine us as we are today?  What to us is 200,000 year ago might be a mere second in God's time table. The fossil remains may, indeed, be evidence of God's craftsmanship.

To believe in a creator God, we must not restrict God to the limits of our understanding of Time nor must we gauge His handiwork on our scale of the possible.

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