The Eye of the Hurricane

Somewhere in Montana.

Somewhere in Montana.

If life is like a hurricane, what does the eye of the storm stand for in this metaphor? Surely we all get that life resembles a storm, or maybe a sequence of storms with a few days of clear skies. But what about the eye of the hurricane. Well, I think that God allows suffering as a means to our growth (see the previous blog). Otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense that He’d allow suffering to continue so long, in spite of the rebellion and fall. So what is he after.

Why was the apostle Paul struck down and blinded on the way to Damascus? (Acts 9) This is neither a trick question nor very hard to answer. He was a zealot persecuting the heretic Jesus followers and even killing some. And what is the result? Paul becomes a loving man, and one of the deepest, inspired theologians of all time. In spite of this miraculous conversion – and by the way, it’s always supernatural when we have a glimpse of who God is – Paul’s life does not smooth out or get any easier. In fact, at one point he literally goes through a storm at sea and is shipwrecked. But even that becomes a teachable moment for him and those around him, and for us reading about his adventures, and misadventures.

What, then is the eye of the storm. In my metaphor, it is that place close to God’s own heart, holding on to him tightly, in that place where we can experience peace and calm even in the midst of a hurricane. That’s what he wants. Does He want us to do good works? Does He want us to study and meditate on the Word that He inspired? Does He want us to be around other believers regularly? Certainly. But if you strip it all back to the most essential, He wants us to find Him somewhere in dimension 5 through dimension X. Someone else would say he wants us to be with Him in spirit and in truth, or spiritually and emotionally, so that the colossal waves and 90 miles per hour winds don’t cause us to perish.

As the hurricane approaches, find a way to the eye, that place where the heart of God, a loving Father, resides. Jesus said that his Father has a mansion with many rooms, rooms enough for you and me. I know that mansion is built with impregnable substance. It’s probably made of quantum energy that can’t be shaken by anything Earthly or other-worldly.

Psalm 29 describes a great storm which “… strips the forests bare, and in His temple everything says ‘Glory'”   And he finishes with these verses: “The Lord sat as King at the flood; Yes, the Lord sits as King forever.  The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.”

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Life Is like a Hurricane

Eye of the hurricane

photo courtesy of NOAA

My friend was sharing on Facebook about the setback he had many years ago, and I posted the following:

“I just know that God sees success and suffering differently than we do. I totally identify, having crashed and burned literally and figuratively. Both times it reset my thinking deeply and put me on a better way radically. [Friend] you’re awesome, and you’re a light for many. I’ve always said that if we haven’t suffered we can’t be worth much. I’m sure that Jesus had that in mind when he told the rich man that he had to give up everything before he could follow him. I doubt that he was trying to teach us that everyone has to give up all their worldly possessions, but that each has to have that reset. Makes me want to blog again. Love you my brother, and your dear wife! Thanks for keeping on being you!”

It occurred to me that life is like a hurricane…and the only safe place is in the eye of that storm. What is the eye in the metaphor, and how can we be in it?

My friend had fallen from grace in the Christian community and lost “everything”, including a thriving, growing church. To most of us who know him, and to many who follow him on line, he is one of the deeper Christian thinkers around, and in a vulnerable, even brutally open, and certainly compassionate way. And continually you’ll see comments by people who find wisdom and solace in his words. Was it worth it? Would he choose to do it all over again over continuing along with a comfortable, “successful” life? Probably not.

If I think of my own life and the many stupid choices I’ve made, and the suffering they’ve entailed, I would certainly not choose to redo it the same way. Two fairly dramatic junctures come to mind, when I crashed and burned, once figuratively, once literally. But both times reset my way of thinking and restarted me down a better way.

Once I hit a concrete power pole doing 50 miles per hour on my motorcycle while under the influence, and miraculously survived. As it turned out, it was the first time in my life that I came to the realization that God was real, and that He had protected me.

Did I suffer? You bet! It hurt a lot, and I had to move in with my parents for six months while I convalesced. I lay in bed all that time in a lot of pain, slowly recovering the memory I’d lost completely for many hours, having to be accompanied to the bathroom by my step dad. But I also was thinking about God and how real He had become to me.

I’m sure God thinks of our suffering very differently than we do. He was even willing to become flesh and experience great suffering himself for a greater purpose.

Also, I’m sure God thinks of success in a radically different way than we do. Most Christians in the Western church were led to believe that being a pastor or missionary was the sine qua non, the ultimately successful Christian life. Next to that maybe becoming president, or making a pile of money. But I doubt that when we make that transition to the next dimension, we’ll regret that we didn’t make more money or become famous.

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Saturday, we’ll see what the eye of the storm is all about. I hope you’ll join us.

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“God Is Love” (1 John 4:6)

How can a “monolithic” God be love? I don’t think he can. Because love must have an object, a lover needs another lover. Thus, if John is right, that God is love, it makes sense that God is “on essence, three persons”. It took the early church 300 years to hammer out this little gem. So, the idea is that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – however you grasp that – were a love circle from before creation, and they (yes, Genesis uses the plural pronoun) created man out of a desire to bring us into this love circle.

So when Jesus talks about he and the Father being one, and us folks and he – Jesus – being one, this is the meaning. We were created originally to live in a face-to-face relationship with God; we messed it up; and Jesus re-established this one-ness by becoming man and paying for our messes. This is fundamental Christian belief, with an emphasis on a loving God who eagerly desires us to return to the circle of love. The emphasis is on what God did to make this reconciliation possible, rather than on the many hoops we’re supposed to go through.

Salvation is there for everyone, in spite of the Calvinistic foolishness about being chosen. Or you could say that we’re all chosen, “for God so loved the world” means everyone: it is inclusive not exclusive. And yes, we are called on to believe. How and when is not my concern. Moreover, this moment of belief brings with it a supernatural “embrace” or indwelling inside of which change happens. It is not our change that makes it happen. When we turn towards God as a lover turns to the one he loves, He comes into us and we are enabled to “be a better man”…or woman.

If you’re wondering what my theological underpinning is, or even if I have one, it is Trinitarian.  C.S. Lewis was a famous author and apologist who believed this way. Karl Barth was an important 20th Century theologian. And currently I like to read and listen to is Baxter Kruger. You can find his stuff on Youtube.  I’m including a brief and simple explanation of Trinitarian theology for anyone interested enough to read it.

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Link to blog mentioned above:

“Our walk with God is shaped by our view of God. A non-trinitarian understanding of God leads to a spirituality fundamentally different from that which results from believing in a self-giving, self-…”

Read More: Trinitarian-Shaped Spirituality

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How Is Life Like Texas Hold ’em?

Bluffing made easy.

Bluffing made easy.

How is life like Texas Hold ‘Em?  First, we’re dealt two cards.  In life, before we can play, we get our genetic heritage (nature), and our environmental surroundings and formative experiences (nurture).  In the game, the dealer now flips up a total of five cards face up, and we decide how to play our two cards, combining them with the up cards to make the best five card hand we can.  In life, we’re dealt good and bad cards and we make the best of what we’re dealt. So where does God come in? Continue reading

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Intimacy or Intercession

If we neglect intimacy, we cannot be intercessors; if we neglect intercession, we fail our calling.

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Visible – Invisible

Subatomic Illusion

Subatomic Illusion

Until we were able to pry into the atom and beyond, it made sense to believe in what is solid. But the Bible, written two thousand years ago, says that what is seen is made up of what is not seen. Literally, it says that phenomena (the original Greek word which we still use today), IE things that are visible, are not made of things which are not visible. Continue reading

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Teachable Moments: Kingdom Here And not Yet

 

Ophelia_3397

God is consistently presenting learning moments for us. These moments are like experiencing a living parables right in the context of our lives.  Mostly we march right past these billboards without reading or even noticing them.  But they’re there nevertheless.  God patiently prepares these teachable moments for us to learn—or  rather, become—one more little concept of the way the world He designed and created works. Continue reading

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Do Statistics Defy the Existence of God

Turbulence at airplane wing

People think statistics defy the existence of God. Actually God’s order replaces statistics, or rather randomness. Statistics are based on randomness. randomness, or entropy is the absence of God or life, which organizes the universe. A seed organizes random matter around itself to “create” order – an organism. God organised random matter when He created our planet from what was formless and void. Thus believing in statistics is to believe in randomness/entropy/death. Continue reading

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Can God Fix Computers?

This morning I turned on my computer and it proceeded to crash. Repeatedly it restarted itself and crashed again and again. I have never seen anything like it. I was on a deadline to get something written, and tried disconnecting everything unnecessary and doing a hard reboot. Again and again it crashed. I wrote down the failure codes just in case, and restarted several times. I thought I was going to crash it permanently. The odds of it functioning without professional help seemed to become exponential. Continue reading

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The Big Lie

My old girl, Tessy. True love!

My old girl, Tessy. True love!

I was in my apartment in a somewhat questionable part of town, when a man walked up to my living room window, pulled out a glass cutter and began to make a long incision. Angered but feeling somewhat threatened, I opened the front door and began talking to this man. I told him to please stop because that would be expensive to repair and I was out of work just then. Probably surprised by this unusual approached, he replaced the tool to his pocket and walked over to me. We began talking and before long he decided to enter my apartment, and we continued to talk. As the door remained open, some people walking by heard us talking and followed him in. Pretty soon the house was full of people, all talking and visiting with each other.
That’s when I became aware that this had been a dream, and in my half awake state, I found myself asking the question: Continue reading

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