Wednesday, January 24, 2007

An Oldie, but a Goodie...

Have you ever read 1, 2, and 3 John? Has it ever struck you as odd the way John repeatedly defines the nature of this life we call Christianity? His arguments would seem formulaic to some, and even infantile to others. I remember the first time this thought actually came to me. It was my freshman year here at Harding. Dr. Burks was giving us his end of the semester devo as usual, and this time his lesson came from, you guessed it, 1 John. I was sitting in the balcony and was incredibly drowsy (this of course is because heat rises and chapel is at 9 IN THE MORNING!) I remember hearing his familiar drawl saying, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:7-12)
I can't really say why, but for some reason this just sounded so odd to me. Not the idea of love or of God's love for us, but the way John said it. I kept thinking that whomever was the recipient of this letter must have been incredibly dense or had a learning disability... (By no means was this my finest hour, but it was hot and very early.) I had read 1 John before and this had never occured to me. Honestly, I have no idea where this idea had come from. But whatever it was this idea stuck with me. If you have known me for any amount of time you will probably have noticed I don't say much. You will probably have noticed that I think too much. I have what psychologists call ruminative thinking. Which basically means that like a cow(which is a ruminant) my mind will chew on something over and over and over and over again. This leads to odd results. Sometimes I'll think about something for days and will just interject my conclusions into a random conversation. Some of my favorite things to think about are philosophy, theology, and of course comic books.
Getting back to the topic at hand... I spent days thinking about this. I remember telling Aaron and Kyle about this thought. I wanted to know if they had ever thought about it before. They thought it was funny, but not much else. So I tried to leave it at that... It wasn't however until later when I was listening to one of my favorite Christian lyricists, Chris Rice, that the answer came to me. In a song called Sailing with Russel there is a line that says, "Now Russell chimes in with his youthful imagination“What if we saw him thereWalking out on the water?”No time for splashing around in shallow theologyHe just invited us out into the deep simplicity."
I heard this and it hit me. 1 John is so simple because he is writing to those who already know Christ. He is writing to encourage fellow Christians, and to reinforce their faith. Think about it... If I am talking to my youth minister I don't have to go into complex apologetics in order to get him to listen to me about Jesus. When I say, "God is good." He doesn't question the fact that there is a God. I say this so that you will understand that I am not putting down apologetics. I think that in order to reach the lost in our society we will have to be ready to answer very poignant questions about the good suffering or scientific discoveries, but with our fellow Christians we can say things like, "let us love one another, for love comes from God."
What am I trying to say? I am trying to say that Christianity doesn't have to be complex. I am trying to say that life doesn't have to be as complex. I know that there are complicating circumstances, but with faith and love we can simplify things. In the garden things were incredibly simple... It took the sinful nature of man to complicate things. I say that we all need a lesson in simplicity. Life can be joyous. Life can be peaceful. Life can have meaning. But life doesn't have to be so complicatedly shallow. ~Matt
I John 5:1-5, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Blog...

Hi everyone,

I am starting this new blog as apart of my new life. I am 24, a recent college graduate, and am about to move to Nashville, TN. I am a Christian. I will be moving some of my better posts from a previous blog over here. I hope to post on here more than I have been recently. God bless.