This month Alancetotheheart is two years old. Wow what a journey it has been. 342 posts later I can say much has changed and much has stayed the same. That sounds pretty cliché I know but let me see if I can explain.
When I started writing I felt like the “great defender of God’s goodness.” Somehow I thought God needed some help to show everyone how awesome He really is. You know, He doesn’t need my help. Still I pressed on. Inside, deep down in the innermost place, I knew God was not the one I had learned about in Sunday school or the one that Johnathan Edwards made us afraid of or the one that fundamentalist evangelicals use to threaten people to behave. I knew that I knew… God was not someone to be afraid of or run from or hide from. Our Father in Heaven was not a monster that needed to kill His child so He wouldn’t torture us. He couldn’t be a schizophrenic blood thirsty God who called mankind His enemy. I was absolutely sure, with no doubts, that God was not the punishing brutal beast that many western churches declare each week from the pulpit. The way of the master wasn’t a way at all. The romans road was a spiral into endless fear and condemnation. People were running to church to stay out of Hell not to embrace an Abba Father who loves them more than His own life. I just had to declare His goodness no matter what. It meant that I didn’t know how to explain this verse or that verse or this doctrine or that dogma. I was stuck in the oblivion of the four spiritual laws with only a hope that my Father, my brother, my groom, my teacher, my councilor, my tutor, my guide, my lover, my way, my truth, my life, my Love … would show me He was not that monster god.
I was accused of making a God of my own design. I was called blasphemer and heretic and many more interesting things. At one point I was told that I don’t worship the Jesus that they did. That actually turned out to be very true. Still I forged ahead. I had nothing but a bunch of tradition, doctrines like Penal Substitution and years of post-reformation commentaries full of horrific images of a God that could never be trusted outside of Jesus. Still I pressed on. No matter what I was willing to take any abuse, insults, snide comments and lose a bunch of “friends” in the process. Still I pressed on. Even though I am not a theologian by trade, I never went to seminary or Bible college, I just trusted God would give me wisdom to see.
Now so many of the themes or threads of thought that persisted in my heart and my mind of Christ found their way to a new home. God has revealed Himself in these posts. The revelation has been mostly for me, I know that. I have shared it with you so that those who are hungry and searching can find some answers. I know that Jesus is in all of us. He may be there in a hidden way but the incarnation is indisputable. So I feel there are many that are conflicted by what they have been taught compared to what they know to be true in their hearts. Our mind of Christ is crying out for wisdom from God and not from man. Our hears have His nature written all throughout them, His laws of love and liberty and life.
Here are a few of the significant threads and what they look like now:
Abraham. The story of Abraham, which I have known pretty much my whole life, leaped off the pages one day and I saw something so profound. Check out “Your shield and great reward” for t details about the covenant God made with Abraham. What was so profound about the story was how Abraham did nothing. Even his “believing” was nothing more than agreeing with God. His participation in the covenant ritual was to sleep while God did everything. Then I saw verses like this one for the first time in a new light:
Rom 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (ESV)
There it was…justifies the ungodly. Wow, that was powerful. Then I thought…maybe what was inside me that said God doesn’t need a payment was correct. Maybe this image of an angry punishing God who needs a dead Son to be OK wasn’t true. Other posts echoed that same idea like “Finding Favor” and “Godly Justice” and “Godly Judgement.”
Now on this side of revelation we see that God has always planned to include His kids. His justice has always to have His kids know their acceptance in His family. Check out “Godly justice revisited.”
Another thread of sorts was about how to interpret the Old Testament in light of the God that Jesus reveals. Jesus said stuff like this:
John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (ESV)
That verse and others like it really opened up my aperture to see differently. It gave me permission to know God through Jesus and begin there. Jesus even says stuff like this too:
John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (ESV)
and verses like this one:
John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (ESV)
Now with “permission” to look outside what most western churches tradition and doctrine decree, I wanted wisdom to understand how the Old and New come together. Check out “Zuzu’s Petals.” I feel this was a breakthrough post for me. I hope it gives you some freedom to let your mind of Christ ask those hard questions.
On this side of the revelation of the Trinity we have even more insight into God’s plan and how God can work with fallen mankind to save us all in Jesus. “Godly justice revisited” is a good post for that one as well. Also check out “The Fallacy of Separation” and “The Master Plan” and “Interwoven Dance of Intimacy.”
OK, one more, and this one is a big one. I’ve always disagreed with the idea that God (the Father) is angry and requires punishment to be happy. I’ve really had issue with the idea that we are miserable sinners that will never be any better and need a child sacrifice to make God feel better about us. That all comes under the concept of Penal Substitution.
I wrote a series of posts about “Splinters” where I tried to take a look at old entrenched concepts of God and break them apart a bit. Check out the Splinters if you like. There are many more like those in that time frame. I was really trying hard to find the God that I knew was in my heart. He is really really good you know.
Then it hit hard a fast. Christus Victor! I had read an article about this “theology” which set me free from “having to believe in a lie.” Check out “Christus Victor” and all those posts connected to it. While you are there don’t miss “Mercy-seats boxes and Sin.”
Now on this side of the revelation of the incarnation and the triune perichoresis dance we can see clearly that the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus was not a child sacrifice to an angry God…how ridiculous is that?!?!? Instead it was the plan from the beginning (Master plan) and the only way we could come to know the Father. It is God’s union with mankind and the death of Adam. It is the rebirth of us from above in the resurrection of Jesus. Check out “Light and Darkness Revisited” and “The Giver of Color…the light of life!” and “Undeniable Incarnate Inclusion.” There are many more like that but it is a good start.
There are many more threads and some really powerful revelations along the way. I’ve read many authors, spent much time listening for wisdom and probably logged 1000 hours or more in podcast time. That isn’t bragging. That is an expression of Joy! I want to share more of these threads in coming posts but maybe it is time to put it together in a book that you can read at your own pace and maybe share with others.
So have the last two years been worth it? Absolutely! What a great ride. Have I always gotten it right? No way. Am I still learning? I hope so. Eternal life in knowing Him is my only reason for breathing. Words on a blog don’t convey the joy I have in taking this journey. I pray that all of you find some peace in the truth of who God really is. He is Love and mercy and grace and really really good. Of course He is moral and right and smart and wise and pure. What I mean by good is the yummy good we all crave so desperately. He is the good of a welcome home embrace of a long absent grandchild. He is the good of a family holiday dinner (with the ones you love and not Aunt Mildred that pinches your cheek). I mean He is the good of being so accepted that you burst with joy just at the thought of His smile and warm hug. I absolutely mean the good that makes you weep and cry and shout and laugh and dance when He says your name. That is who He is. He is that good.