Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Biblical Theology OR Relational Love??

A couple of weeks ago Paul and I traveled to Jackson MS to attend a conference. We were drawn to the conference because Malcolm Smith was one of the speakers. We credit Malcolm Smith tapes with starting us on the grace vs performance journey way back in the late seventies and early eighties. We hadn't heard of him for a few years, so we made a spur of the moment decision to go. The conference was entitled "The Shack" and featured William Paul Young, the author of The Shack.

The conference was put on by a ministry that has an interesting name, Perichoresis. (I had to look that one up.) Seems the conference wanted to focus on the Trinity, one of the subjects that is causing many problems to theologians who read the book, The Shack.

I downloaded the audio book to my iPhone so we could listen again to The Shack as we made the long road trip to and from Jackson. I got a lot more out of the book listening than I did reading it. We also stopped the recording and had discussions along the way. Great way to get the most out of a book.

Some of my friends and family have been asking when am I going to write about our trip and the conference and about the book. I found this blog written by DeHaan, the organization that puts on Radio Bible Class and publishing Our Daily Bread. These have been staples in my life since I was a child. After reading this blog and the comments,
Mart DeHaan, I decided I could not improve on it. If you're interested, read the blog and the comments. It's a pretty thorough coverage of Mr. DeHaan's view of the book. His excerpts were some of the ones I would have chosen. He does a great job and then the comments have some good arguments. Why repeat something that's already been done so well? I'll just link to it. :-)

My question: The book and the author are about the love relationship of the Trinity with humans. My desire and longing is to encounter someone or a group who has good strong Biblical theology PLUS a good strong relational walk and talk. One could almost begin to believe these are mutually exclusive. I've seen so many who have sound theology but somehow that too often translates into critical, harsh, unloving, and sometimes downright mean ways of relating. Then on the other side of the coin, those who show love and have great relationships seem to be weak in sound Biblical theology, or at least I have some disagreements about some of the ways the Bible is interpreted and then set forth as teachings and theological stances.

All of this prompts me to question: Is there a group or a theological way of thinking that emphasizes both? I'm on a hunt!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A View of The Shack

I was surfing on YouTube and put in The Shack. Up popped many links and things to choose from. I watched a few and they were mostly saying to stay away from it, or as one put it, "Stay Out of The Shack."

I then found this one:

It's worth watching. The writer identifies himself or rather his credentials, and he talks about the strengths and weaknesses of the book. I was braced for another video that gave all the scriptures and the reasons one shouldn't read the book and should steer completely clear of it. Pleasant surprise.

I copied the link. Hope it works for you if you're interested.
Mary B.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lessons from The Shack

I've had an interesting few days.

Last Saturday and Sunday we drove to Enid to hear William Paul Young, author of The Shack, speak. It was an incredible experience. I was so touched and so moved and wanted to write about it, but I had to wait and absorb and think about it. I had to sort of analyze exactly what I had responded to. Was it the message? Was it the speaker? What was it? While I was thinking on this, Wade posted about the conference.

I couldn't wait, so I attempted to write something of what I felt and why.

Then one of the commenters posted a comment about what I had written:

He said: (quoting me) "I experienced love. I was immediately reminded of the verse, 'Did not our hearts burn within us?' I don't experience that very much." (He continued.) Oh, give me a break. The Christian faith may have subjective elements but we do not define what is true or false by some sort of "burning in the bosom" but rather we have an objective faith based on the word of God which the venerable Mr. Young derides as reducing the voice of God to mere words on paper. Besides, couldn't your burning heart have as much to do with that Nuclear sauce you had with your chicken at Zaxby's? You know it could. Don't front like you don't know.

Hmmm...My dear sweet handsome feller took great umbrage at these remarks and immediately wrote a strong response, which he didn't post. His mistake was waiting to tell me what he was going to do when he picked me up for lunch. I said, "No, not on my account, you're not. I don't need protecting, and I can take care of this myself." It took quite a bit of "funning" and strong argument to convince him that it was okay. He finally agreed to let it drop.

I must admit that at first I was a little taken aback that someone would write like that and make fun of something that was so meaningful for me. It's not easy for me to talk about my feelings in a public forum like that, but I thought it worth the risk. And then this comment appeared.

I went back and read what I wrote and actually thought that someone like the commenter could get the impression he did. He doesn't know me, he didn't experience the weekend, and he already has something against the book and the author. Understandable.

I kind of wanted to say "Touché."

The commenter exactly proved my point. Isn't that funny?

Now, I can truly say what happened to me last weekend. I'm not angry at the comments made to me and about me. It's okay. I think I'm experiencing love for others, even those who mistreat me, albeit just with words. I love this guy and honestly wonder what is "his story" that he could comment like that to someone he doesn't even know, and especially in this context.

Lessons learned: It's okay to expose my feelings to others, no matter their response. It's possible to love and not to get angry at someone who ridicules or treats harshly my tender feelings. Perhaps I had a change-point in my life last weekend. I met God and experienced His love in a new and fresh way. That's what happened to me last weekend.

Thanks to the blog commenter for helping me come to understanding. It helped me clarify what happened to me last weekend. And would I have known had this event not happened?

Best lesson learned: don't waste any of life's experiences to share the love I have been given and continually receive. How great is that?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Teaching Socialism

My brother in Austin sent me this article in an e-mail. I think the application is self-explanatory. MB

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said ok, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism.

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great; but when government takes all the reward away; no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that....