Friday, May 25, 2007

the organic God

Once again Margaret Feinberg has so poetically called us back to the basics of following Jesus as she has done in previous books like God Whispers.

"All too often I find myself tempted to live a distracted life. You know the kind--- the one where, within the busyness of life, you still manage to perform the stand-up, sit-down, clap, clap, clap of regular church attendance; drop a check in the offering plate; hope for a new nugget of knowledge, understanding, or insight in the weekly sermon; and check off a random, albeit short, list of acts of kindness to others. Somehow I’m supposed to feel like I’m living the Jesus-driven life. I'm not."

Performance driven Christianity has taken a huge toll, and the call to pray "There is nothing I desire but you God" harkens us to return to what gives real life. Real life only comes from God, who "in Jesus, put his whole heart on display for the world to see."

This Jesus says to each and every one of us, indeed to anyone who will listen, "I will not only go before you in this journey and make it possible- I will also go with you."

What an invitation, an invitation to life, to a life with God, each and every day!

Feinberg goes on to highlight and illustrate this relational God with many poignant and humorous stories from her own life. Jesus has a magnetic quality about Himself and Feinberg's writing draws us into His orbit in refreshing ways.

This God we follow, this God that we can know and experience speaks to us through beauty, through wisdom, and through an insatiable appetite to communicate with us about generosity, kindness and wisdom.

While we'd like to think that the church helps us along this journey, many if not all of us at some point experience what Feinberg writes of, 'the bruising of our hearts' from institutional church life.

In these times we need to detox from church ideas that 'bigger is better', from 'performance and drivenness', from 'filling our heads with knowledge while our spirits starve'. Time away from church, for a season, can heal our bruised hearts.

I believe true healing arrives when one can articulate along these lines:

"I knew in my mind that church was more than a denomination, a building, or a program, but God was awakening in my heart the reality that the church is the gathering of followers of Jesus. To fall in love with church meant falling in love with God's people. And falling in love with people meant puting my own preferences aside when it came to details like the style of music, the length of servce, or even the takeaway value of the sermon.....I realized that I was a part of a greater story, part of God's story, his plan for redemption which was being worked through saints around the world. God the Healer was doing his work in me." ....

"No matter what causes the pain to surface, I believe its presence is actually a gift from the God who redeems. The pain acts as a wake-up call that it is time to begin the process of healing, repentance, and forgiveness. The pain asks us to make a leap of faith- that no matter what has happened, nothing is beyond God's redeeming power. He can heal the deepest wounds. He can restore the most messed-up lives. He can reach into the darkest corners of our past and shine his redeeming light."

Thank you Jesus!

Feinberg's writing invites God's presence into the pages of the book helping us see that whenever and wherever God speaks, His words to us are 'bathed in kindness.' As we desire to hear him, as our God-volume is turned up, we realize more than ever that God is a giver and not a taker; He is a gentle healer and not an angry drill seargeant.

God is real, knowable, conversational, creative, mysterious, kind, gentle, organic. This book will stoke your desire to hunger after Him!


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