Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Help Me Believe

Today I sent a devotional by e-mail to my friends and one actually responded. His response became a back and forth conversation which was quite thought provoking. So below is the devotional followed by our responses.
The EX Daily Word for February 27, 2008"A Time to Sow"Gal. 6:7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.There is a law built into the earth. Doesn't matter what race, religion, or background you are will grow what you plant. God built that into the very earth so that seed produces fruit in the earth. When you sow it or plant it, you reap it. And you always reap more than you sow. So when people do you wrong and hurt you, let the law of reaping and sowing handle them. You don't have to say a word many times. Just let it work itself out. But there is one very important thing we usually miss about this law of reaping and sowing. We forget that there is dirt involved!When you sow or plant a seed, you surround it with dirt. And even though it's covered with dirt, the fruit will grow out of it. That's the way God wants us. He allows us to be surrounded by dirt at times so we can grow out of it! The dirt that is going on around you, the dirt that has been shoveled on top of you, and the dirt that your past may have put into you will only grow you up and out! Do you know what fertilizer is? It's the waste that passes out of the body of an animal. It's basically, as Paul called it, "DUNG"! And to us, that is the most detestable thing, but it is much needed for growing a seed. Any farmer would tell you that you grow better fruit when you use fertilizer. And that's how we are. We grow stronger and are made better when our lives have come through the dung. And once we pass through the mess, we are blessed! When you are in the mess, with the mess, and surrounded by the mess, that's the best time to sow a seed. You are in a fertile situation when you are covered with dirt and sprinkled with fertilizer! You are in the best possible position to grow and bring forth good fruit! So, when you are in the ground, covered with dirt, sow a seed of righteousness by reading the word. Sow a seed of hope by praying for those that are taking you through. Sow a financial seed into a good ministry so that ministry can continue to preach the gospel. Don't look at the dirt as always being a bad thing. God uses that dirt around you to grow you into what he wants you to be.
Suggested Reading: 1Pet. 1:23, 1Pet. 4:12, James 1:3, Gal. 6:9,Col.1:6©2008 G. Craige Works All Rights Reserved
Him: Someway, somehow...I knew with this being an "inspriational" had to be mentioned. I like the message, but this delivery about dirt, dung, mess, and fertilizer is sooooo predictable. How in the world would a God that is all-loving, caring, and knowing allow its creation to be subject to such redicule and "torture"...this is a very decieving message. But if it works for some...DO YOU!!!
Me: What exactly is your religion, does your statement imply that God shouldn't allow us to go through hardships?
Him: When I was growing up, my grandad was a baptist preacher. So I attended alot of baptist churches. My grandmother "fell" out of the baptist format and joined the Church of Christ. At the age of 10, I started going to her church. I attended up until the age of 29...I also called myself a Christian during those times. I did it all while I was in the church...teaching, involved in the worship, church trips, name it, I did it...I even led all of the prayers at our family functions (Thanksgiving, B-day parties, and Sunday dinners). My mind was closed to everything outside of my beliefs...While I was at Darton, my Western Philosophy teacher exposed me to some other ideas. So I read the bible, for the 5th time, but this time I read it with a critical eye instead of a study method. I found alot of contradictions & inconsistencies. I started reading other books...and don't let me talk about Psychology (it didn't help my church beliefs either, LOL!!!)

So I don't call myself a Christian, but I do believe in God. I don't believe that God made us dependent. I think he gave us all the mindset to make our own decisions. Our life is about choices, not God doing this or that. I don't knock anybody's beliefs cause that is their own choice. I don't put my ideas on my daughter either...she can believe the floor is God, I don't really care. As long as what she believes makes her a better person and teaches her to love herself, love others, and serve others..i'm cool with it...but on the other hand, if it teaches her to demean people, have the "i'm right, you're wrong" mentality, and be arrogant...then i'll have a problem.

I understand the Christian theology VERY well. I think that is why my belief in it is not really that strong. But I do believe in God, and I praise him and l believe that he has given me all the tools I need to be a GREAT person in my lifetime.
Me: I love e-mailing you (name removed), you always respond for one and your opinions are always out of the box of the 'norm'. I rarely get into conversations about religion or politics because it’s an individual choice. I ignorantly assume/stereotype blacks as Christians although I know otherwise. Living here is totally diverse than being in the Southern Baptist Bible Belt. I've met so many people with different religions and really applauded them; because it was their belief. It is so important for people to believe in something and stand strongly behind it. You mentioned God allows its creation to be subject to ridicule and "torture" and also say he gave us a mindset to make our own decisions. So are we actually subjected by God to ridicule/torture or are we making decisions to be in the mist of ridicule/torture. I too, like you, like to be the devils advocate in certain conversations. I stand by my belief to be a Christian. However I don't mind being exposed to other ideas or beliefs, one will still reign to me, over the other. The classic hot or cold question, there's no lukewarm or in between. I always wonder what people mean when they say they believe in God, does this mean God the Father and not the Son? Or does believing in God mean you believe in Him until you find inconsistencies which doubt that belief? Or, do you believe in God but not the teachings of certain denominations? I guess my whole understanding is, if you believe, you believe. There may be inconsistencies in the bible, are there not inconsistencies in miracles, or other things that have an explanation but are unexplainable? I find the metaphor between dirt and trials to be a great description. If you believe in God and know the trials and tribulations he faced, what makes us superior and not have to face them, is it because we are his creation? People have gone back and forth on the inconsistencies of God. One thing is certain...we were not there to bear witness to any of them, all we have is the belief! The same way I believe the car will start as soon as I crank it , is the same belief that I have in God to carry me through ridicule/torture, even if I made a decision to be in the midst of it. The act of believing and the art of belief is all we have, no matter what it is we believe in.

You make me want to turn this into a blog topic!!! Thanks for the convo, I sure needed it!!!
Feel free to comment on the devotional or our conversation in general. Mainly whatever it is that you believe in (in any aspect), put it out there. I just really feel that you should believe in something.
I personally believe in God, I believe Jesus was born from a virgin (although this has never happened again), and I believe he died for our sins. I also believe I will one day have a job I love and move to a loft in N.Y with my baby Lyric. This whole post has me thinking of one of my favorite new Kirk Franklin songs titled Help Me Believe. The lyrics have really helped my unbelief during hard times. My favorite line is: If I never hear I'm sorry I can let it go, gotta let you go....powerful statement. If you don't have the cd I encourage you to invest in it, another classic (will do a post on the album later)!!!
To my friend thanks so much for letting me post our conversation, you're the best (and you know this...maaaannnn)!!!


Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

i can see where he coming from, and nice blog hit me up ne day, and i will return if u dont mind

Paula D. said...

Very interesting point of view.

Montreal Thomas said...

Hear is what we must do...
We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world -- its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future (GO OBAMA!!!), not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.
I'm not "Letting Go and Letting God"...I'm gonna drive this plane and "God is gonna be the Co-Pilot". People have to learn this concept, take control and make things happen. Don't pray to ask God for stuff, pray and tell him what YOU did today. He gave you the mental ability to do its up to you to do it. Most people struggle, pray, wait, then act. How about this...You struggle, think, then act...later on when you pray, tell God how great you did to come out of your "hole" and thank him for given you the ability to do so...You seen the IBM commercials, STOP TALKING & START DOING!!!