Scratching the Surface
Just Converted, and
Dedicated with thanks to everyone
who finally convinced me
to say it simply!
"I will tear to bits the dissertations of the Ph.D.s;
I will pull the rug from under those
who have all the answers."
1 Corinthians 1:19
Clarence Jordan, The Cotton Patch Version, 1968
Since first reading Hans Kung's On Being a Christian in 1976, my life and ministry have been challenged by these sentences: the Church's agenda is "to discover what is permanent...originally meant, before it was covered with the dust and debris of two thousand years...This is not another gospel, but the same ancient gospel rediscovered for today!"
35 years later (October 2011), I spent a week with three buddies and Eugene Peterson in Montana; and as I sat and listened and even inquired, I was overwhelmed by how such a renowned pastor, professor, and prolific author talked so simply about the deepest truths of Holy Scripture.
Then it/He hit me!
Everyone who has ever asked and sometimes begged me to speak and write simply remain right.
Indeed, as my passion for Bible-reading grew and grew and grew every moment with Eugene and has not lessened since, I recalled how no one was confused when Jesus ended the best sermon ever (Matthew 5-7). They understood every word; even if they had no intention of paying any attention to Him.
He spoke simply because He wanted everyone to get it/Him.
I confess I've not always done that.
I confess I'm having a hard time doing it.
Yet I am convinced He wants/expects/commands me to keep trying until I stop separating myself from anyone by degrees and communicate the clear, concise, compelling, challenging to the content, comforting to the suffering, timely, eternal, and universally relevant message of Jesus.
In short, I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus.
I feel like I'm reading the Bible for the first time every time I open it.
I feel like I'm starting all over again in life and ministry; moving from a religion about Jesus to a relationship with Him.
I suspect I'm not alone.
I suspect there are first-timers and older-timers who feel like they're just scratching the surface of their relationship with Jesus.
The following pages are for, uh, us.
Surely, my summaries of basics in Bible books will be negligent, incomplete, inaccurate, and horrifyingly superficial to many scholars and the wannabes who buy their books that become dust-catchers because they're so incomprehensible.
Again, I'm just scratching the surface and admit there are many others who get it/Him much better than me.
So if I'm scratching where you ain't sniffing, I won't be offended if you poop-can this copy because you can do a better job.
Go for it!
For Christ's sake and anyone who wants to get closer to Him!
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!
Sing it, brother!
Signed, A brother in the denomination who's trying and failing, to follow Jesus.
With you, friend.
Like they say in the song "Jesus loves me..." If you can understand that everything else makes sense...sometimes.
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