Rainy day in Texas. I love days like this. They give me an opportunity to spend time reading, writing and letting Holy Spirit lead me into prayer and worship.
My last blog post, In Obscurity? A Fresh Wind is Blowing, beautifully ties in with what I am reading today, Water to Wine by Brian Zahnd. God amazes me by bringing books into my life to read at the ‘just right’ times. And He gifts me with rainy days to settle in and absorb the revelation pouring into my life.
When God confirms things to me 2-3 times, He expects me to take notice and to ask the right questions (Another blog post on not asking ‘why’). So I did. I asked God some questions.
What is the purpose of this book coming right into my life today?
How does this book resonate within me to move me forward in the midst of my transition?
What do You want me to learn, to see, to know?
This book was written as the author faced a time of total disssatisfaction with Western Christianity, the consumerism in the American church, and many other things. This is where I stand right now. I am dissatisfied with most things ‘church’ and I find that God often has to give me a reaon to go when staying home seems more filled with His presence. I’m not jumping ship. I continue to gather and believe in the church but I know what I seek is the expression of Christ and His kingdom in community. I don’t see that in my life….yet…..but I know I will.
I found some answers in the silence, reading the book, settled in on a rainy day. In a world filled with chaotic noise silence is necessary for our Christian walk. Here are some takeaways from this book that I hope encourage you.
“Without some intentional silence, the weary soul is a prisoner very slowly worked to death in a mindless gulag of endless noise.”
“Too much of the most visible presence of Christianity is loud, vociferous and angry.”
The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. Isaiah 32:17
“Because we are obsessed with all things ‘big’ and ‘powerful’ in the conventional sense, we are convinced that to change the world, the kingdom of God needs to sound like a deafening construction site – bulldozers and jack hammers.”
The stone blocks for the building of The Temple were all dressed at the quarry so that the building site itself was reverently quiet––no noise from hammers and chisels and other iron tools. 1 Kings 6:7
“In a world that surely must grow weary of the harsh blare of ideological anger, the church is to be a haven of quietness and trust, a gentle refuge of peace.’
As life shifts into a new place, I find myself gazing into a new horizon, toward the east where the sun is rising, not setting. This gives me hope to trust God that He has the whole world in His hands. And, what is my place in all of this? To challenge you to turn your eyes upon Jesus, away from the world at large. Then, to look back on the world with a new lens in Christ. To unplug and to gaze upon His beauty. I am one small voice but resolute in the message that sounds out from me in this time.
I love the church but I am not in sync with most of it right now. I don’t opt out or pull away for I value community but I have not found it yet here where I live. So I still believe and look for a home, a tribe, a place where I can see the creative expression of Christ worked in and through people who love Jesus. Why? It’s something he said in the book.
“Salvation is NOT a private, autonomous, individual, unmediated experience – salvation is being personally gathered by Christ into His salvation community…..Salvation is communal by design….”
So for many of us, has it come down to this in our waiting time -> Is going to no church better than going to a church where the center focus is on the stuff – the stuff being all the peripheral things – the constant flow of prophetic words that at times seem to be a lot of noise, or the worship in a performance flow, or the experience of people manifesting over and over and over until it all gets so predicatable and boring, or the preaching the settles into the trending topic of the day, or the iconic leaders that people flock to see, or more of the stuff and the stuff and the stuff? (My small rant from my silent morning that revealed my inner frustration.) I am only being honest here, okay?
Does going leave you dryer and more out of sync than before you walked in? And how about all the commments and silent implications that imply there must be something wrong with YOU? Well I guess I have to answer these for myself and so do you. But questions are good for us. They make us think deep thoughts. A mixture of stuff coming out today and it’s all good for me.