Why I Didn’t Write the Bible

I’m not much a fan of Paul.

I know, I know. It’s almost heretical to confess it freely. It’s not that I don’t like him. It’s not that I don’t think he’s a great teacher of our faith. It’s not that I don’t appreciate his sensitivity to the Spirit of God. It’s just…I’m not a fan. I read his letters, and I think, “Come on, Paul. Come down to my level.”

It shouldn’t surprise you, then, that I take great comfort in reading Peter’s epistles.

Nonetheless, I had an inner-argument this morning. It was between the Me who doesn’t care much for Paul, and the Me who knows Paul is right (I suppose this could be more accurately described as the natural self and the spiritual self — which makes Paul right, all over again).

It went something like this:

the Paul-is-right Me: Sarah, just stand.
the other Me: Quiet, you.
the Paul-is-right Me: Sarah…just stand.
the other Me: If I had written that passage, I’d have written something better. Like…and having done all, Crochet.
the Paul-is-right Me: Not crochet. Stand.
the other Me: Or…work on your novel.
the Paul-is-right Me: No. Stand.
the other Me: Or play my guitar.
the Paul-is-right Me: Or stand?
the other Me: Make lasagna?
the Paul-is-right Me: Having done all, stand.
the other me: Didn’t I tell you to be quiet?
the Paul-is-right Me: Just stand, Sarah.

It’s not that I want Paul to be wrong. It’s not even that I disagree with him. It’s more that I try to distract myself from the difficulty of life by doing things. While doing things can be acts of faith, acts of worship, acts of love, they can also be distractions and acts of disbelief. And don’t get me wrong — distractions can be okay sometimes. The problem is that if you seek distractions when things are difficult, you not only shield your gaze from the struggle, but also from the Solution.

Several months ago, my mom told me something that I found very profound. She said that we tend to relearn the same lessons again and again. It’s not always that we forget the lesson; it’s not always that we have failed and need to be corrected; it’s that we need the reminder of where our Help comes from. We need the reminder that nothing and no one in this life is stable or faithful; only God Almighty is faithful. Only He can be fully trusted. Only He can provide our needs. Only He can make us whole. Only He can grant us peace.

That’s where I am this morning: Relearning the lesson. Having done all, to stand. I don’t have to figure everything out. I don’t have to make a meal and write a new song about it. I don’t have to crochet a new afghan or save the whales. I just have to stand. I just have to plant my feet firmly on the Rock that will not move.

And be thankful…that I didn’t write the Bible.

Stand firm, then.

What Does Christ Look Like?

The question I turned over last night was this: What does a practical Christianity look like in the world around us?

I mulled over it for quite awhile, wondering how I could urge conversation that would go deeper than our speak-easy Christianese. Be honest, was your first reaction to give me some word like “loving,” or “forgiving”? I don’t at all diminish those as answers; I merely think they are unspecific, and therefore, impractical in terms of guiding our lives by it.

Can we marry an idea with an example?  We all know that Christ is merciful; but when we put it into an example, with context, and speak about a woman–broken, surrounded by accusers, bent to the ground in shame–and how Christ silenced the voices (within and without), granting her grace and the opportunity to change, then we see an example of His mercy in a real way. It becomes more than a theory. It becomes the person of Christ Himself.

But we are not living in 1st century Palestine. We seldom (to be read “never”) see a woman about to be stoned for her sexual exploits. So what does Christ’s mercy look like in a society of texting, facebook, twitter, dvr, oil spills, political unrest?

What does Christ look like in America today? When have you seen Him last? What was He doing?

What is Necessary

As some of you may know, I have a sick addiction to quotes. When I read a magazine, I watch for little snippets of wisdom to cut from the pages and store away in my quote box(es). When I read a book, I do so with pen in hand, ready to underline words of inspiration and challenge. I love, love, love quotes.

About a month ago, I was cleaning my desk (an ever-evolving project that I can’t seem to conquer) and I stumbled upon a St. Francis of Assisi quote that I don’t remember ever seeing before.

Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

It has buried its roots deep within my heart, twisting through forgotten chambers and digging ever deeper, the question echoing, “what is necessary?”

What is necessary?

What is necessary?

What is necessary?

That is a good question. I haven’t the answer for my own life. Not yet, anyway. I will. I promise you, I will find the answer.

What is necessary in your own life? And how do you (hope to) see it becoming the possible, and eventually, the impossible? Please share! I long for the inspiration.

ETA: What is necessary is stepping outside tonight for a glimpse (or eyeful) of the Perseid Meteor Shower!