jen

Too Much to Say
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2006-05-10 15:46:01 (UTC)

Springs, Brickworld, and Questions

In his book, Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell compares Christianity
(or the way Christianity was meant to be) to a trampoline.
Meaning that God/Jesus is the center of the trampoline, the
part we jump on, and the springs-that flex and stretch-are
our doctrine. He says:

"The springs help make sense of the deeper realities that
drive how we live every day. The springs aren't God. The
springs aren't Jesus. The springs are statements and
beliefs ABOUT our faith that help give words to the depth
that we are experiencing in our jumping...They aren't the
point. They help us understand the point, but they are a
means and not an end...Once again, the springs aren't God.
They have emerged over time as people have discussed and
studied and experienced and reflected on their growing
understanding of who God is."

The reason our doctrine has to be built on springs is
because there is no way our small earthly minds can
understand-or put into words-the limitless, boundless
character of God. What we know (or think we know) about
God HAS to be able to flex and mold and CHANGE. "The
moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and
definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. We are
dealing with somebody we made up. And if we made him up,
then we are in control."

THE PROBLEM: Very rarely do you see christians jumping on
trampoline-faith. Instead, the are standing on a wall of
BRICKS.

BRICKWORLD
In Brickworld, "each of the core doctrines is like an
individual brick that stacks on top of the others. If you
pull one out, the whole wall starts to crumble. It appears
quite strong and rigid, but if you begin to rethink or
discuss even one brick, the whole thing is in danger...This
is because a brick is fixed in size. It can't flex or
change size, because if it does, then it can't fit into the
wall. What happens then is that the wall becomes the sum
total of the beliefs, and God becomes as big as the wall.
BUT GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY WALL. GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY
RELIGION. GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY WORLDVIEW. GOD IS BIGGER
THAN THE CHRISTIAN FAITH."

We are often taught, as christians, that there is a right
and a wrong way, a black and a white, no inbetween, no room
for questions. We're right and the rest of the world's
wrong. We know all the answers-and that's that.

How incredibley prideful! To think that we have the God of
the universe figured out. That He could fit neatly into
our solid brick wall. If faith in God is built upon a man-
made wall of doctrine, than God becomes man-made. Pride.
And Control. That's what Brickworld is.

As Christians, we must be allowed to question our
doctrine. Because "questions, no matter how shocking or
blasphemous or arrogant or ignorant or raw, are rooted in
HUMILITY. A humility that understands that I am not God.
And there is more to know. Questions bring freedom.
Freedom that I don't have to be God and I don't have to
pretend that I have it all figured out. I can let God be
God."

I really meant to write more of my own thoughts, but Rob
Bell just says it too perfectly. And I was already having
a hard time not just typing out the entire chapter of the
book.

"Being a christian is more about celebrating mystery than
conquering it."


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