According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Embracing the Dark Side of Doubt & Uncertainty

Not many years ago I spent nearly a year held within the black landscapes of doubt and uncertainty. My soul was troubled unlike anything I had ever experienced before and it drove me towards shattering my past before I was allowed to reform/reframe my future. Most curiously was the journey itself in that I didn't mind being in this troubling stage of destruction. I knew it needed to be done. And it needed to be quite thorough. But nor did I go on a "binger" and freak out during this time. I still was a husband and a dad and worker and lay minister with community responsibilities. But underneath to the observing eye there were dark waters and warring storms crashing across my soul.

Worse still was this strong feeling of God's absence. How ironic I thought! How could that be? Because even though there was this deep sense of abandonment of God's Spirit still I knew God was there. Hearing my laments. Knowing the troubles demanding my soul. But perhaps this was Job's experience too. Or, the Psalmist David's. Or really, any of those prophets of the bible who needed to be stretched out and laid bare before God from all the beggardly conformities of this tempestuous life.


And so I tarried in this dark land of shattered dreams, unknowing, and personal removal. What I was ,and where I was, before this occurred turned significantly afterwards to what, and where, I am now, today. It was unplanned. It was deeply surprising and unnerving. But it was also necessary. And it wasn't a place I wanted to leave or abandon while going through this dark, soul-searching time. Why? For some reason it dawned upon me that God needed to have His way with me during this time and that I shouldn't quit it lest it be undone or incomplete. And so I stayed and waited for a redemption to come in the days of my reforming.

I knew too that my God would never leave me. But as well that I must fundamentally leave my past to follow Him. And so, it was a spiritually dark time. Nearly oppressive in many ways. And without anyone who would or could help though I tried to speak of my travail several times to unhearing ears. Still, there was silence. From God. And from man. But as this darkness persisted through most of a year I began to hear the Spirit's words in my heart and my mind more plainly than I had ever heard Him before. More surprisingly was the movement of God's Spirit upon me to write of Him in fundamentally new ways that freed my soul to do the task laid out before me; and later would go on to bless many others seeking healing, inspiration, or reconstitution.

And lest you think this is a rare occurrence let me share a video below which gives but a small glimpse of the agony a believer can go through when pressed of God into a new service, a new change of living, a new burden. But know also we are never forsaken of God though it feels for a time we are. Mine lasted most of a year. Now that is a long time. And certainly it was troubling to my soul. Foundationally troubling. Here was were doubt and uncertainly lived. Lands I had previously embraced, but now in fundamentally new ways of acceptance (and joy). Even so, though I felt abandoned by God I knew God was with me as He is with all of us at all times though we feel it not at times in life. At least that was my experience knowing God's assurance never left me even though heaven's brass ceilings echoed my laments back only to myself with no one - not even the Divine - seemingly hearing.

But morning eventually came and when it did I then understood the value of God's silence. For it was in the wilderness of my despair that He ministered to me across a land of hard rocks and desert heats. Through anguishingly empty spaces and formidable obstacles I would encounter in my (unwanted) journey into the divine whose fire burned all that remained within me. And it was there that faith returned and grew strong again in the bad lands of evil and lostness. That a divine compass was re-ignited to guide me again. That nourishing manna was provided to heal the soul. And cold waters would flow from the fissures of the earth opening up in their time.

And so it was enough. And the long days of despair in wilderness living were left behind and in its place, as I looked back, were discovered scattered memorials to God's faithfulness supplying His grace and wisdom in the desert places of my soul though I saw it not at the time. And with it a new direction that might guide me through the end of my days. And perhaps guide a host of other penitents living out their own wretched miseries and afflictions like as I. At least this is my prayer of healing restoration to the ones who weep in the night seeking guidance upon their knees. Whose speak words of lament to questions, angers, or disappointments without answer heard only upon the blowing wind. But know this, there is a mighty wind of the Spirit who bears and hears all who blows across the desperate reaches of our soul.

R.E. Slater
July 20, 2016

Doubt is Real - I Pray This Blesses Someone in Jesus name
Artist: @ChristianRapz
Category: Christian Hip Hop

Not knowing but moving forward

The Agnosticism of Wonder

No comments:

Post a Comment