What is this blog about, anyway?

I've been trying to untangle some of the 'big picture' things in life.

I also wanted to find out by experience whether the Bible is sufficient to generate faith.

One of the ways I started on my recent journey of re-discovery of Christianity was by reading the Bible, starting at Genesis, and trying to have no pre-conceived notions of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and other big questions. Would I discover anything new? Would I be able to get more insight into Big Questions? I did make some discoveries that were new to me, and wanted to record these somewhere. Hence this blog.

For the record, I found that the Bible is sufficient to generate faith - but only if you read it with no pre-conceived notions.

I welcome comments and insights from others.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

The 3 people in the Bible I would most like to ask questions of

Besides Jesus, there are 3 other people in the Bible I would most like to ask questions of. These are Eve, Lazarus, and the apostle Mark.

How I wish that more had been recorded in the Bible from each of these people! But of course I have to remember that the fact that there wasn't more is because it wasn't strictly necessary for us to hear more from them. The Bible is sufficient to generate faith.

For Eve, the questions I'd want to ask are not "why did you do it?" because I too disobey God every day. The question of why she ate the apple is exactly the same question we could ask ourselves "Why was I judgmental toward this person?" "Why did I not listen to God about this situation?", "Why did I allow myself to fall into temptation?" and so on. After thinking about it, I knew it would be hypocritical of me to blame Eve for mankind's fallen state (see my other article about that).

What I would ask is that I would be really curious to know what life was like for her.

I don't see evolution and Christianity being mutually exclusive (see my other article about that here).  But I do believe Eve and Adam were the first in a new line of species - the first that were differentiated enough from animals to be, well, human. I'd want to ask her what it was like not having health class or anything else like that to help figure things out. How did she and Adam figure out how to propagate the species? What was the first pregnancy like? All of that would be pretty scary for her, I would imagine. Thankfully, they figured it out or I wouldn't be here typing this today. (That feels very metaphysical!) As much as I'd like to ask her these questions, I know the answers wouldn't have long-term significance as regards matters of faith or anything truly important. Because if those answers did, these things would already be in the Bible. It would probably be the spiritual equivalent of asking the apostle John of Patmos what he ate for breakfast. There is nothing wrong with hearing the answer, but it's unlikely to tie into anything of actual long-term importance. So, as curious as I am about Eve, I know I will have to let those questions rest.

Lazurus was raised from the dead long after decomposition had begun to occur. I am sure there are plenty of people who are just itching to ask Lazurus where he was when he died and what did it feel like to be dead and brought back to life. How did this experience change his life afterward? Disappointingly for me, none of this information is in the Bible. Let's take a look at what is recorded about this:

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” 

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

John 11: 38-45

As you can see, there is no information on Lazarus' viewpoint of this. To me, it seems like a huge gap of knowledge, but at the same time I also know that if it's not in the Bible it's because it wasn't deemed by God to be an essential part of what we need to know. The fact of the raising of Lazarus by Jesus certainly was essential for us to know; how Lazarus felt about all this was not.

Mark was a fisherman who came with Jesus when Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee. Jesus told Mark he would teach him to become a fisher of men. See my other article about that here.

Mark in so many ways seems so ordinary and matter-of-fact that I often find myself wishing to ask him "How did you know to follow Jesus? How did you know he was genuine?"

Mark experienced many unusual events in his walk with Jesus, yet never seemed to question whether he was on the right track, even though some of these events were not always comfortable ones. Mark was obviously a man of faith and with the gift of discernment.  Yet he seems in so many ways such an ordinary practical man that I find it amazing to know that he was willing to put everything aside for something important (becoming an apostle of Jesus).

In some ways he reminds me of men in the church who at first glance seem like ordinary everyday people but who clearly have immense faith and are clearly listening and acting in accordance with the Holy Spirit. I suppose I could simply ask these people the same questions I'd pose to Mark.

If you found this post interesting, you might also like these related posts on this blog:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Bible verse that is incredibly powerful

I came across a Bible verse that to me was very powerful. I read it three times because I was so struck by it:

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
    and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Isaiah 55: 6-7

This verse is immediately followed by what to me was a much more familiar verse:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55: 8-9

Verses 6 and 7 in the first passage spoke to me so much. This was because the importance of seeking the Lord now (and not delaying) is something which is much more frequently found in the New Testament. Yet this piece was from the Old Testament. Calling upon the Lord while He is still near is important. This is because one day, Jesus will come again and  there will not be the choice to seek Him any more - He will be there.

God wants us to come to Him out of choice, not by being forced to know Him whether we want to or not.

If you found this post interesting, you might also like these related posts on this blog:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Our leaders are imperfect. Even the best leader pales in comparison to Jesus.

Every election year, I notice that many people get very vocal for or against a particular candidate. But  we should never put all of our trust in human leaders. Even the best human leader is flawed and imperfect. Even the best candidate of the century pales in comparison to Jesus.

It's good to carry out our civic responsibilities: carefully considering the candidates and their policies, and picking which one we feel is best for the country at the time.  It is wonderful to live in a democracy where we have choices. At the same time, I find it hard to get passionately behind any candidate, because I have yet to find one that isn't flawed. I'm flawed too, an imperfect being, a sinner. We all are. It's part of being human. But just as I would not find myself worthy of leading a country, I find it hard to find anyone worthy of leading the country.

In the second coming of Christ, we can look forward to a new Heaven and a new Earth, with God and Jesus as our leaders. Now those are leaders we can get passionate about.

If you found this post interesting, you might also like these related posts on this blog: