I am beyond tired and I really should be going to bed right about now, but I just got home, found myself famished, and so I cooked myself a late dinner. I generally get an upset stomach if I sleep immediately following a meal so here I am typing away about nothing.
We had club tonight and there was quite a number in attendance. I was asked to sign people up for small group, which meant that I was running around with clip boards and applications. I don't very much care for this type of task, mainly because I feel like I'm selling something. I can kind of see it in the eyes of some of the people I talk to, that they might perceive me that way... they walk in the door, get rushed by smiling folks wanting to make them a name tag, then pulled to a table to sign up for college weekend, and then there I am trying to talk over all the noise about the great benefits of being in a small group. It's a madhouse, and sometimes I feel like I'm in the middle of the stock exchange floor.
We had a guest speaker for the message this evening, he leads a high school Younglife in town. I've heard him speak a few times now and the students always seem to enjoy him. He seems genuinely sincere and likeable and passionate about sharing his faith. But the truth is I found the contents of his message troubling for me personally. As I've mentioned before, I've been having a real crisis of faith these past few months mainly in terms of the nature of God. Consequently, when I hear people talking about their understanding of God, His function in their lives I listen intently. Truth be told, often I simply cannot relate to what I hear and I wonder if we seek after the same being...
My professor of religion believes that there are 3 levels to religious beliefs. The popular, historical and the philosohpical. The popular level deals solely with practical and psychological needs, it is shallow and wide and is the point where people use a system of faith to function daily in a highly pragmatic sense. The philosophical on the other hand has to do with the challenges and questions that go further, deeper beyond the day to day functions.
I often hear people talk about God as if He were a genie in a bottle, but one that is very limited in scope. They tell me that they prayed for a specific car, and the exact shape and color and number of miles were granted, like a wish come true... and they feel that God loves them immensely because he even considered the meticulous details... far less often (maybe twice in my entire life) have I heard of someone praying for a friend or family member who is severely ill or in immense suffering, and their relentless prayers were answered. And I struggle with this fact... and I have to wonder if it is that God more readily answers our trivial prayers... or if it may be true that we more often obsess over nonesense and attain things out of sheer stubborness of will and then attribute it to God to keep our faith system (however faulty) intact.
I say all of this because the speaker tonight talked about how God would bless people if they would truly follow Him. In sharing with us about what it was like to follow Christ, he chose to mention that God had blessed him with finances and two houses and a vehicle. But it all seemed to trivialize God to some extent. To make our religion, popular. Is that really what we're spending our time praying for? More stuff? Is that reason enough for to follow the cross? Are there not larger battles to fight, more imperative ones?
Is this what Christendom has been reduced to? Follow Jesus and he will hook you up?