An excellent discussion was started via email regarding a particular article on Christianity today. You can click here to read the article then pop over to my good friend Daniel's blog and jump in the conversation. I like the discussion we're having, and I really like the guys and girls who are participating. I trust them, and it's like listening to theologians who have something in mind other than winning an argument. It's as if they might actually be interested in truth. Novel concept.
The conversation has stirred up a big mess in my head. I mean, clearly my head is a perpetual mess so that probably isn't the best description, but I had this nagging unsettled feeling as I attempted to comment and participate. I wasn't sure why, so I've done today what I tend to do in these situations, I've been quiet and thoughtful and let this work itself in and through my thoughts. I think I know what is eating at me. I'm still waiting for some conversation/discussion/argument regarding theology and Christian living to catapult me into the type of intimate relationship with God that I envision. The nagging unsettled feeling is that if we "solve" (which is not the goal of those participating in that discussion) or reach some agreement on the thoughts presented in the article, I will still be in the same place when it is all said and done. What I want out of that discussion no discussion can give me. I've turned the discussion itself into an idol.
Kyle has a recent post that I really get about not hearing God. I love what I do in regards to worship and music. I encounter a living God in those times and I am humbled by all that He is. I see the gospel in movies, I hear it in music, I read it in my favorite stories. God is not absent from my life. I have an expectation, however, in regards to how I believe my relationship with God should look and feel, and how it should change my thoughts, reactions, and choices. My reality and my expectations absolutely do not match up. This could be a Romans 7 kind of thing where I do the things I don't want to do and I don't do the things I should, but it doesn't seem like it, at least not exclusively.
Maybe it's that how God and I should relate is based on my expectation and desire, not on Gods design. Maybe I'm saying all the right things about wanting to relate to God but in reality I only want that on my terms, or "my expectations". What popped in my mind as I said that was the verse that says something like God wanting to do more than we could ever imagine or desire (a little help on the reference from you true theologians, if I'm not making it up). It could be that God in His mercy and grace will not meet with me on my terms because my terms are so far short of His intentions and desires for me, and He refuses to settle.
I'm joining Kyle in placing myself in a better place to hear and relate to God. I am going to begin practicing some disciplines, i.e. solitude, silence, fasting, etc. I don't do these things as a set of rules to follow, or as a checklist to complete, but in an earnest desire to hear and relate to God. As Kyle issued an invitation I would also enjoy sharing this with a few others.