Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Alive

One thing I've been thinking about for a while now is how I should go about reading scripture. Does it matter whether the events in the Bible have actually happened? Or is it the story that is important?

I was reminded recently that it concerns both. The Bible, in my opinion, is a factual history, excluding such parts as Psalms and the obviously poetic and symbolic parts (for me Genesis is not included in these). Yet, when we see the Bible only in this aspect, we lose a good deal of its meaning. It becomes a thick volumed dusty history book not too different from others. But in reality, it is a living book that is immediately applicable to our lives. When we begin to look this way we begin to see ourselves in the characters of the Bible, both the wicked and the good, the weak and the strong. We notice they have faults like our own and they take on life and it is no longer a stretch to believe that they truly existed. Seeing them a symbolic of ourselves, does not seem to detract from their historicity, but instead seems to confirm it. The Bible is not a book of the dead, but of the living. It is not of the fake, but of the real.

One book which I have found insightful in this is Peculiar Treasures by Frederick Buechner, it has a couple pages of thoughts or a little less on an A through Z listing of many of the characters throughout the Bible.

Monday, May 19, 2008

You Shall Love the Lord Your God

I'm currently in the process of reading A Room Called Remember by Frederick Buechner. Here's a passage from it I found particularly moving (it's from the end of a chapter but I think it's self-explanatory).

...To love God is not a goal we have to struggle toward on our own because what at its heart the Gospel is all about is that God himself moves us toward it even when we believe he has forsaken us.

The final secret, I think, is this: that the words "You shall love the Lord your God" become in the end less a command than a promise. And the promise is that, yes, on the weary feet of faith and the fragile wings of hope, we will come to love him at last as from the first he has loved us-- loved us even in the wilderness, especially in the wilderness, because he has been in the wilderness with us. He has been in the wilderness for us. He has been acquainted with our grief. And, loving him, we will come at last to love each other too so that, in the end, the name taped on every door will be the name of the one we love.

This hopeful promise is a beautiful truth. Even in the happy times we do not love God truly and completely. In fact as Buechner says early it may be only in the hard times that we truly understand what it means to love him. Yet, even still there remains the hope that even though we fail to perfectly love God now, our hearts are still struggling against Him, there will be a time in which we will know what it means to truly love God as he has loved us, then it shall be our constant desire of our hearts to delight in Him. No more struggling against the one who is trying to save us because He will have led us on the journey through the wilderness and we will have found ourselves home--in our true home.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Home Is Where Your Heart Is

I'm home, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the first time in about five months and before that I have only been home in the past nine months on three occasions for a total of a little over a month. Although it is good to be home, it's also a very weird change, especially when I first got here. It seems like I have entered a dream or an old memory, it has a surreal quality even though I have known this place all my life. Maybe it's because it feels like just as much of my life is present somewhere else now. It teaches something about the impermanence of the things we call home. Home is where the heart lies, but Home in this world, I don't think, is so much a place as it is an idea of our true home where the longings of our heart will be met.

Living in a dorm room also teaches something about the necessities of life. I have all this stuff in my room in addition to all the stuff I brought home (a third of which I probably didn't use) and my room is at least twice the size of my dorm room but only for me. What do I need all this stuff and room for? I lived with the amount of stuff I had at college for a year. I have seen others who were happy and grateful with even less. It makes me really wonder if a well-paying job is what I should be seeking after so that I can get all the stuff that makes for a "happy" life.

Jesus said to"lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
and there will be your home.