People Really Do Believe in Captain America: The Hope of Living Forever

My boy still doesn’t get how Captain America flew the plane into the ice and then showed up in the next movie. It doesn’t stop him from wearing the costume to the declaration, “Captain America saves the day!”

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Recently I read about cryonics. This is good mostly because I need to expand my vocabulary.

People (precious believing people) are investing $200,000 for the possibility of returning to planet earth and doing this whole thing all over again. Pretty good deal when you consider coming back to life. Cheaper than some pro football tickets.

Note – some are choosing the cheaper option of $50,000 just to preserve their head.

{CRICKETS}

The premise of membership in the Alcor Life Extension Foundation is to use “ultrasound cold temperature to preserve human life with the intent of restoring good health when technology becomes available to do so.”

When it’s available. That’s a lot of money for a hope. They estimate this technology needed to bring frozen people back to life will be available in the next 1,000 years.

People really want hope, and their willing to pay for it with some serious pocket change.

A couple advertises on the website with the quote, “When you love life like we do, Alcor’s Cryonics Preservation Services were a natural choice for us.”

And I’ve just been thinking about how much people really love life. The hard and good of it. The ups and downs and struggles and questions. Because no matter how much I enjoy people and creation and relationships – who can really say anything in this life completely satisfies us?

There is a searching deep in the soul of man to find it’s true home. And I can’t get away from the idea that we would only try to extend some kind of life – even our frozen head on a new body – because we fear the other side of life just can’t be a good thing.

To many, many people, it is a far stretch to believe God came down in flesh through a virgin birth, died and rose again. To them, our faith is like the idea of freezing a head. I get that, and it’s why I am SO thankful for a faith I can’t explain that took me over and removed my need for all of the answers. You can’t pay for this kind of hope. It is other-worldly.

What differs between my “odd” beliefs and those who choose a frozen future is a seal of proof. An indwelling Spirit that proves Himself to the believer over and over again. I’m okay with not proving it to others. He proves it to me.

I don’t believe because someone sold me on it. I believe because He is alive inside of me. My hope starts now. I don’t have to wait 1,000 years too see with my own eyes. I get to live and breathe and know the ONE who is my hope right now.

I was trying to find an article last night and ended up searching for the tag “faith.” The search brought up post after post of people struggling out loud to believe in God. I felt their struggles in the words and the spaces between them. There is a hunger, a need to voice this search – even for (maybe especially) those who have not fallen into the arms of Christ. There is something deep within us longing for connection to our Creator.

Some agnostics spend quite a bit of energy trying to disprove the existence of God. For those who have decided not to believe, they sure do spend a lot of time thinking about it. It’s our job – as believers – to love them, encourage them and go into their spaces with grace and love. No amount of knowledge or argument can do what His Spirit wants to.

Sometimes the best thing we can say is “Me too.”

“I’ve doubted. I understand. I hear you. May I tell you how I got over my mountain of doubt?”

Because I have this hope, it’s my responsibility to share it with grace and love. I didn’t earn it; and I’m not better than those who don’t have it.

In what ways are we reaching out to love the world into the hope we have today?

Faith for the Thinker: A Response to Bill Nye & A Love Beyond Reason

A little different post today…

Many believers, agnostics, science-lovers and curious minds viewed the live debate between Billy Nye, the “Science Guy” and Ken Ham, a creationist known for the Creation Museum. I’ve heard various comments on either “side” really feeling like not much changed that night. Same arguments – different night. I appreciated their willingness to bring their experience and knowledge to the table for growth and education.

Saturday, the Huffington Post featured coverage of a recent interview of Nye in which he states a few concerns about the future of students who are taught creationism, namely that they will be unable to think for themselves. He suggests that evangelicals are holding kids back because anyone who is told to believe in creation will not be able to contribute to society through science, physics or biology.

I respond with joy as I think through this fascinating struggle in society between the mind and what we know as faith.

We could read all day about mathematicians, astronomers, scientists and physicists who have changed the world and fully believed in God, and further have even used science to secure their faith.

Never mind Blaise Pascal, the mathematician, inventor and Christian philosopher who worked in natural and applied sciences. Nye states that to believe in creationism is to forgo the ability – not only to think, but to work in physics or biology. He continues to try and separate the ability to understand science from any kind of faith.

Here are a couple of assumptions with regards to Christianity and creationism:

1. Creationism blocks any possibility for a biological change

In Genesis 3, we find what has been called the “fall” of man – when sin entered the world. Following that sin, God gave some consequences – for men, woman and animals. His consequence for the serpent was to crawl on his belly and eat dust all the days of his life. The snake we know of today is probably not the same creature in detail as it was before the fall. Much happened in the fall, and who knows but what species and kinds changed in various ways.

2. To believe in God means you cannot ask questions

Bill Nye believes children of evangelicals will not have the ability (or permission) to question things. We certainly need to continue the conversation in the church about allowing all questions and not being threatened by doubt. However, I would state that faith itself causes many questions. For various reasons, some are not voiced – but they remain. Secondly, questions are not the enemy of faith. On the contrary – for me, they are the doors into deeper places of trust. I want my children to ask questions I cannot answer. (this will be common) The very definition of faith is being sure of what we hope for but cannot see. If we are able to answer everything, faith is missing.

The search for answers via logical thought has, in fact, been what has led so many back to the original suggestion: There is a God. There may be no better known example than the conversion of C.S. Lewis. A good modern day example might be Lee Strobel, from whom we get the great book for a seeker, Case for Christ.

In regards to reason, I find one thing most fascinating about faith: it is the only thing throughout all time and all people groups to transcend understanding and still capture the mind. Numerous people have tried to think their way from God and end up in His lap.

What we claim and talk about and live within – this faith – is much more than knowledge or experience.

The presence and essence and fullness of God is beyond our mental capacity. He gifts us with the mental ability to stretch out our minds towards Him, yet we are short of His fullness. We cannot withstand the completeness of His glory.

It is the love beyond reason – found in an incomprehensible immaculate conception and resurrection of life – that can freeze the thoughts of man. We cannot merge reason with such actions. This love shakes off all need for reason from the begging and questioning soul. It is this mystery of grace extended towards the most indebted man that gets the attention of the life-long laborer. We do not believe we can actually receive in full – without gimmick – that which we have not earned or worked for.

Love itself is beyond reason. To extend that which may not be returned. To love someone is to risk great loss, to know pain. Our deepest fears are most often related to those we love most deeply. Love cannot always be explained.

I find it harder to believe I came from a rock. In the theory of last universal ancestor, we must all originate from the same first organism – which was stated to be found in a piece of granite. In the published work of Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, he says “Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.”

Did Darwin miss the irony of his own statement, in which he suggests life must have been breathed into the first organism? Yes, life must come from life.

“the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living thing.” – Gen. 2:7

I will raise my children to be thinkers….to search the world over for wisdom and apply it to better this world. I will do everything in my power to increase their education in sciences, math, languages and religion. And with no apology, I will add to it all the hope I find in Jesus Christ and a loving God who created them. Because at the end of the day, wisdom and knowledge alone fall short of a fulfilling life. Eternity is set within the heart of every man…. and love – though it be beyond reason – comes from God.

 

 

 

 

 

Playing Tug-Of-War With God

This post was featured over at the High Calling.

I asked a classroom of women a question a few weeks ago and my words hung in the silent air. I knew I’d stumbled onto something.

I had scribbled a line on a page with a single spot in the middle. With my black marker I threw down the words “You” and “God” on either side of the line. This was only meant to be a filler during my 30-minute talk about Knowing God.

I was coming to the end of my talk, so I pulled out the half-wrinkled page. With a round-about way I explained an idea about the spot and how close we “feel” to God. Then I asked them,

“How many of you, if I asked you how close you are to God, would move the spot to sit right under His Name?”

These woman are active in the church, one in full-time ministry. No one raised their hand. No one.

No one had the confidence internally to say (or believe?) they were that close to God. Or that God was that close to them.

And though I couldn’t fully process it then, I’ve thought about that moment and it’s telling of unspoken truth. ———-> I’m not the only one playing Tug-Of-War with God.

I’ve been “pursuing” God for twenty-one years, and still today I often find my mind on the wrestling mat with Jacob. Because no matter how near I draw to Him, through prayer and study and action, sometimes I still truly doubt how He feels and thinks about me. I know I shouldn’t. I know what the Bible says. And I could encourage you all day with it. But just like we seem to pray more boldly for others than we do for ourselves – we also seem to believe less for ourselves.

If we pull hard enough on that rope, and live just right, will God cross center and come near? How long do we think we need to seek Him and pursue Him before we finally find Him?

I’ve had beautiful moments with God. His Spirit has warmed my heart so much I thought it might burst. I’ve seen answered prayer and gotten the goosies from that verse that seemed to pop up on just the right day. I’ve had a personal healing. So why do I, like so many believers, still imagine quite a chasm between He and I?

Is it possible we are most unsure of what we will do when we really find Him? Like a man unwilling to settle down, is it the chase that keeps us safe from being vulnerable?

Are we afraid of pulling our ropes too hard because of His holiness or our unworthiness?

My faith came to me quite easily at the age of fourteen. I fell hard in love with Christ and His Word, and I practically ran into church every time the doors were open. So when I entered my season of doubt three years ago, I had to redefine what it meant to seek God.

Here is what I’m discovering: God doesn’t play games. There is no rope. And asking questions is actually the key to growth, as long as we are asking the right ones. So the question is: Are we basing His abounding grace and His willingness to be found by who we are or by who He is?

Because if we can take one truth to the bank, it’s this: He is faithful.

“…he will be found by you.” 1 Ch 28:9

Do You Love God More than the Idea of Being Remarkable?

We walked up the rounding staircase of the older downtown church, and I asked him the question: What is your greatest fear?

I was never much for small talk

The pastor, a friend, he answered me, “That people won’t like me.”

Yeah, the public life can be brutal.

He turned the question to me, and I replied, “That I will get to the end of my life having done nothing big for God.”

It is my biggest fear.

Craig Groeschel said it one time, that “what we fear the most reveals what we value the most.” And I’m finding my values here. In this statement response. The doing and achieving and can’t we all get lost in the Pharisee crowd.

A friend in college asked me once, “Do you ever feel like you are just meant to do something big?” ———-> Yes. So I signed up for the Peace Corps and visited the U.N. and had all kinds of thoughts about what big looked like. I had a dream of Africa, literally and then everyday in my heart. I lived in Dijon, France…and, yeah, they have good mustard there.

Then, you know, life happened, wars were waged, and I walked my yellow-brick path back home. I married a pastor, had littles and dreamed of the day I could make some kind of world difference.

I can see the rocking chair, smell their skin, remember the long nights of losing prayer – losing myself. The little people became my life. And I remember the day my husband whispered it low as I rocked them. “You are doing something big.”

The words of Micha Boyett, they echo mine:

“I know. But also I long to rescue the crushed of this world. I want to do something great….

…Do I believe there’s some secret path to valuable and I’m mindlessly skipping down the wrong one?

I think back to God’s long tunnel between my theology and my striving soul. Maybe I want to be there rescuing people because I want God to like me most.”

Yeah, maybe, like my pastor friend, I just want to be liked. By God.

And then Micha – she confesses something to her husband and I get it. So the Spirit rewords it for me. She says, “I love you more than my idea of being remarkable.” It catches me and my heart. My God – He settles it deep…

Ginger, do you love me more… than the idea….of being remarkable?

What mother doesn’t get lost in the space of mothering? Aching in love and wonder and worry all at the same time. Doesn’t motherhood take a woman into the deepest questions of role and purpose?

Who prepares us for this redefining?

I was lost and yelled out words in the dark nights of long. I just wanted God to rescue me from a hole I seemed to fall into with no exit ladder. What I did not know was that God was redefining me – deep in that dark hole of faith crisis.

Interesting how we strive towards Him, stumbling…. but still want to rescue everyone else.

It’s a path many have walked. And when I walked into the words of Micha Boyett through Found: A Story of Questions, Grace & Everyday Prayer, I found a soul sister.

Of course, if you buy it just for the forward, you’ve got a new nugget in your box of spirit candy. I was stopped steady with just one question by Ann Voskamp:

“How do you get through life knowing you didn’t miss out being who you were meant to be?”

Because if you follow the wisdom of the wise (and ain’t no one gonna question the wisdom of this farm girl) – you notice something here. So I pay attention.

Ann’s question is about being. Mine…is about doing.

I’ve got to do justice and love mercy and walk humbly..

What should I do for you, Lord? Is this enough, Lord. Do you like me now, Lord?

While the Spirit is whispering, Abide in Me.

Is the more important question – at the very end – who we are? Or maybe just – WHOSE we are.

Some questions need space to grow in. To sit awhile.

In that “space between the life we’re living and the life we long to live.” – A. Voskamp

You can find that space in Micha’s words, her telling of questions and daily living.

That daily living we all abide in and somehow miss…because we think it’s not big enough for Him.

What if your big thing is doing what God puts right in front of you….today?

big thing

What if the call of God for you looks a lot like grunt work? Or changing diapers…and caring for an aging parent. Remarkable things in the shadows…unseen by men.

Can I say “Yes” to this pocket, this corner. My little corner of the world. And what if every soul stretched to fit their own corners. Could we round out the changing of the world together?

I know a man who got a job sweeping floors at a Quick Trip to build a relationship with a worker there. That worker came to Christ, and that man is still sweeping. You know, just in case God can use him still. Who does that? Steps into the mundane with their free time solely to love one person to Christ. Every day.

Maybe we’ve falsely defined what it means to be remarkable.

Is it true that we miss the answers, often because….we aren’t asking the right questions? Are our questions too self-focused? In trying to find God, we keep talking about ourselves.

The search for God is the search of every soul. This book, Found, will walk you into the fabric of Micha’s daily life searching for ….and finding the God of love we all long for.

And at once we see He was with us all along. Leading us to a cross where every soul can be found whole. And every life can be of count.

My husband said it right, in the Sunday pulpit.

“The only way I can make my life count for something bigger than myself…is through Jesus of Nazareth.”

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I pray you feel the brush of His Spirit today, believe in His love and know questions are okay. You are safe with Him.

Have you lost prayer? He hasn’t lost you. I’m walking back into prayer. You are welcome in my Prayer Closet any time.