Tag: human

Faith is not the absence of doubt

At BBC there is the all holy seminary reading room. It’s a humorous title, it’s just the seminary room. One day we were brought into this room. I do not remember which professor it was, but I do remember the warning:

“Many of the books in this room were written by men who knew more about the Bible then some of you ever will, but they missed the point.”

It perplexed me that many of the Bible study tools we have today were built on the work of those ho actually doubted the Bible or doubted inspiration and inerrancy. How can doubt produce coldness to God in once sense, and bring others closer? I don’t know, and hence I’m perplexed.

I do not think scholarship, reason or doubt is the enemy. I do not think giving up these things in the name of faith, pragmatism or focusing on what is most important is biblical. Let me give an analogy for each:

Faith: We sit in many chairs without seeing them first verifying they will hold us up. I say that as I sat in my kitchen chair one day and it collapsed underneath me.

Pragmatism: There is nothing pragmatic about romance. ‘Nuff said.

The biggest thing: Coffee brings me great joy in life, but it’s not the meaning of life. (Though, enjoying it does help ponder the larger things in life.)

Often in churches we get very nervous when someone questions or doubts. We get more nervous when someone declares their doubts. In our quest for Christ likeness, do we forget Thomas- one of the foundation stones to the church. Saul was a doubter. The Roman centurion was not. Is one better than the other? I think not.

The Bible has stories of doubters. I do not think doubt is the enemy of faith, but squelching doubt is. The trial by fire for each human is different. For some it will be life circumstance, others pride, addictions to some and some it will be doubt. People will succeed or fail in these challenges.

Truth is truth. If the Bible is fully truth, as I believe and I am convinced of, then in the end truth will prevail. And if we fear those who doubt, or worse question whether they are really saved in the first place, then we poison the situation. The Bible makes it very clear that salvation is solely a work of God and kept by God. The Bible makes very clear that humans will doubt.

Is our faith in God or in people who don’t doubt? Do we believe salvation is by faith or in people who do not sin? How we approach issues can prevent the ability to help or open the door to greater depths of our faith. Which is more important to us and God? Yes, God gets frustrated by doubt. God also gives them an answer in due time. The bigger issue is pursuing God.

The Bottom line:
Squelching doubt is an odd form of denying the power of God. Like any other challenge in life, we should treat doubters with love, patience and respect. Not from  superiority and they are wrong, but a human understanding that each person has their own trial by fire… Let’s be honest, we all at times have doubts. God knows that.

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

Social media: Pensées au sujet des medias sociaux

Thoughts about social media

The last few years I jumped into the social media frenzy: learning, participating, engaging, listening and observing. I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my thoughts. After all, we’re all human…

Social Media is a cure of LIAR’s
LIAR stands for Low Information to Action Ratio… The dilemma many deal with is having too much information. This eventually trains people to ignore large volumes of solid thought. In a real sense our information driven culture trained us to ignore Sunday mornings or other “data dumps.” This leads to us knowing lots, but acting little. Social media is an ironic cure.

Social media helps in two venues:

  1. It breaks large chunks to doable small chunks. The best example observed: Rick Warren’s tweets.
  2. It builds a passive accountability. Social media gives opportunity to soak, digest and respond to information given. It allows community to live truth out together in real-time.

Social media is the Borg at birth
Star Trek created the Borg as an allegory for over invasive technology. If you read up on this sci-fi nemesis, you’ll find remarkable parallels. While the real-time connection to community is a help, it is also a vice. The Borg, even while right next to each other, have a blank stare and only connect through the hive (network). Kind of like talking to your friends by texting when they are right in front of you. This hurts.

Social media hurts in two venues:

  1. Artificial communication often replaces organic real-time conversation. The text, Facebook, tweet replaces the sit down conversation over coffee. Nothing can replace human interaction. Environments, touch, smells, etc are equally important to the human experience and communication. These dimension cannot be carried by technology.
  2. Always on can lead to allows off. The ability to focus and develop the depth needed for many things can be diminished with social media. While processing one can lose the product. This is more than just getting work done, it is also a matter of deepening relationships; the key one being with God. Humans need down time and periods of quiet reflection. Always on breeds the expectation for always available. We’re not God. Let Him be the always on always available guy.

Social media is the new old
I hear often that social media is a revolutionary not evolutionary thing. I disagree. Social media demonstrates something that has always been true: People want to be known, their fallenness unknown and both openly revealed. Any engagement with humans leads to this interplay. While the technology, feel and look may be new, human nature and the proverb…I mean torch runner… I mean bumper telegram…sigh… are still around.

The old renewed:

  1. Human depravity and redemption is active in social media because we can not escape our depravity and need of the Spirit. We can’t stop being human.
  2. Humanity always craves simple and brief tidbits of communication.

The bottom line
While social media is in vogue and seemingly new, it reveals that which is true of all ages. It has strengths it has weaknesses and it will be used for both. I do not advocate balance & wisdom. I do not advocate passionate usage & complete openness. I advocate remembering we are human: fallen and in need of redemption. We cannot escape that and anything “revolutionary” will point out that we’re a mess and God loves us anyway. C’est la vie.