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Chris Price
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My perception is that those who have choices require less faith. The person who chooses poverty is comfortable in their modest lifestyle while the person born in poverty or forced into poverty has shame to compound the impact. Its interesting that Abraham was credited with righteousness by simply believing God - that was before Isaac was born. I think faith is proved in narrow places (choiceless) but produces fruit in wide places. Abraham could offer up Isaac because he'd already accepted, by faith, that he would be blessed through Isaac. When you think of the choices God gives us, like choosing death over life, the choice is really a no brainer. When you are faced with eviction or unemployment the choice is similar - to resign yourself to fate or faith, to give in or give up. Living by faith, as most understand it, is relatively easy in comparison. The person who testifies to God keeping their car going on an empty tank would probably learn more of faith if the car simply stopped and left them stranded.
Toggle Commented Oct 4, 2012 on On Faith and Resignation at Heresy of the Month
I reckon many Christians would hate Abram if they met him. How many times have I heard talk of God's promises which supposedly depend on faith yet I'm made to feel that if I don't faithfully say my prayers and keep my eyes from wandering, God is going to change his mind. Jacob was a proper scumbag yet God kept his promises. I wonder if God is grateful for my mistakes. They make much more fertile ground than my great ideas. And I'm convinced that you are right about God being Lord rather than life coach. Christians who rely on 'a word' for every decision are simply burying the talents God has given them in the form of brain cells. I imagine God has stacks of brains given sacrificially but which he would much rather have seen being put to good use. I discovered my promised land over 30 years ago then wandered for another 15. Again I am a sojourner in a state of flux and uncertainty. I've experienced God's faithfulness but more his discipline. Thanks for sharing your own experience.
Thanks Bill. I wasn't suggesting that God was teaching us or Job a lesson but if we are to get anything out of the book of Job it would be that at the point of suffering Job connects with God in a way that he never did before despite being a righteous and upright man. God makes very clear that he is beyond question, is accountable to no one and is way beyond our understanding. Yet as soon as Job understands his position as a mortal man before an almighty God he is asked to pray for his friends. We are not told that it was necessary for Job to suffer to bring him to that place but, once there, God was able to use him as a conduit of grace.
I have a theory: Just like you wouldn't swap your kids for newer models so God, when he created man, was determined to work with what he had because man was important to him however much mankind grieved him. Even God's Son came as a man which shows that God was going to restore his creation through human activity. We know that when we are broke we don't suddenly heal so when mankind is broke it needs to go through a painful healing process. For good or ill we are all a part of that process. God's plan is for good so his purpose is not to make us suffer but if God circumvented the healing process he would rob us of our humanity which is so precious to him. We are the better for suffering, not because suffering is good in itself but, because it confirms our humanity and, in an apparently perverse way, connects us with our creator, which is probably the lesson we can glean from Job.
How about: Fox News: If you have no opinion try ours House: We thought the first episode was so good we re-boxed it 77 times Wal*Mart: How do we offer such great deals? You don't want to know Twilight, Breaking Dawn: Lose the will to live
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2012 on Extreme Culture at Heresy of the Month
I'm not sure that Jesus engaged the devil in the way you suggest. I see it as Jesus (as a novice) being put in the ring with an opponent to get him match fit. In the account you can see Jesus sparring with the devil. I think Jesus was being treated as the second Moses. Moses was the law giver but though God showed him the kingdom he would not be allowed to enter it. It was Joshua, who came after him, who entered. Maybe you answered your own question about Charlie Brown and the football. There's much more to Charlie Brown than kicking that ball. I really identify with coming back to that same place of exasperation with God and wishing I had the conviction to walk away but its like when Jesus told his disciples to chew his fingers and drink his blood. Those with any sense left in disgust. He was left with those who'd already burned their bridges and when he asked them if they were going they answered, "Where to? We have no plan B".
Toggle Commented Feb 25, 2012 on Lenten Strain at Heresy of the Month
Hi Susan. I think you've answered your own question. It being Advent I'm mindful of Mary being told all manner of things about her newborn baby but we are told she held them in her heart. It wasn't until the resurrection that she could have any idea of God's plan. The cross was like a stake driven through her heart yet it has been the most significant event in all history. I don't believe God has an obligation to fix our mess even when we are sincere and so we shouldn't demand that of him. We read testimonies where God intervenes at the 11th hour and so we are told to trust God because he will come good if we continue to have faith. But, like you have said, Abraham died, a stranger to his inheritance. It is only Abraham who is called a friend of God. O that we could experience the good fortune of God's blessings but what greater privilege could there be than being called God's friend. These evidences are open to interpretation. Truth is more certain.
Toggle Commented Dec 8, 2011 on Big Changes at Heresy of the Month
You're right about the 'name it and claim it' thing. Its born of a presumption that because things happen when God speaks, that its a principle we can adopt. When I hear people pray "we claim it in Jesus' name" it makes me cringe. Your illustration of the police officer is a good one - he isn't the law. For me, I've been so filled with Christian crap I've found it hard to know God's voice but I firmly believe that as I know God better I will begin to walk in his will naturally without a special 'word'. In my experience getting a 'word' is pretty unreliable. I would say follow your heart. If your heart is wrong you're no use to God anyway. You claim your future by walking into it not seeing it in your head or out the window.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2011 on Big Changes at Heresy of the Month
Chris Price is now following Bill Sergott
Nov 19, 2011
Friedman said it was not about cause and effect. That is precisely how this Karaoke society works. If a Jart hits someone in the eye and they are made blind then the cause of their blindness is playing with Jarts. The reasoning is that if you ban Jarts you will have less blind people. It sounds perfectly reasonable but the compound effect is that we stop taking risks because they are dangerous. The overall result is that our society collapses because its too safe. I don't want individuals to suffer for the greater good of society but that's just the way it is. In our safe society we suffer from anxiety and lack of fulfilment because we are not stimulated through risk and unpredictability. We also escape all blame so that we feel vaguely guilty rather than truly guilty - this only leads to neurosis and litigation. The Word of Faith People follow the same sort of reasoning. In James it says, if you are sick go to the elders, because that is way it works, so faith preachers teach that if an elder prays for you, you will definitely be healed (if you have faith). They are preaching cause and effect but James is preaching propriety, not magic tricks. The problem is people are not healed, Jesus doesn't rescue us from terrible situations and our prayers are not answered. There are more than enough neurotic and disillusioned Christians and too many quack preachers who could preach faith from a telephone directory but have no integrity. My pastor has been talking about doing things for the glory of God. I've found that if I am simply obedient I bring glory to God and I get a buzz out of it. I am also seeing that prayer is not a magic way to get God's attention but an act of obedience which makes me more in tune with God's heart. God doesn't do something because I've prayed, I pray because I want God's will to be done and when I pray in accordance with God's will he answers. One of my biggest problems is with Karaoke Christians - God grant me patience.
What you haven't touched on here is that Peter told us to make our calling and election sure by the way we live our lives. I see sanctification as a Christian construct to explain the gap between having been saved at a particular point and being saved. Its like the problem with the first and second coming. The Jews believed in one coming and the Old Testament never implies 2 comings. The prophets identify the suffering servant and the conquering hero and its only in hindsight that we can distinguish the two even though they refer to the same person. If 1000 years is like a day to God there is no problem with God seeing the advent and the nativity as the two ends of the same event just as they are both celebrated at the same time in the Christian calendar. Rather than there being two salvations why can't they be two aspects the same thing. We are told that Jesus was made perfect just as we are made perfect through suffering but that would make suffering a work and deny the perfection of Jesus at birth. What if we talk of being proved perfect instead. A theory is tested to its limits before it becomes fact and indeed it must be theoretically possible to prove something false for it to be classed as a fact. Its the exception that proves the rule, i.e. only in bombarding the rule with an exception can it be proved. The exception doesn't make the rule true, it merely demonstrates it. When we turn to God it is God's prerogative to accept our repentance and declare us forgiven. We cannot hold God to ransom just because he says all that turn to him will be saved but knowing that he is trustworthy we take him at his word. Its the converted sinner we can't trust. We cannot prove that we love God but we can prove that he loved us by acting in accordance with his Spirit. Its like taking a DNA test. Its a test we pass not because we are good enough but because of who we are. Rather than saying once saved, always saved or looking back to a day which guarantees our eternity we should be continually assaying our lives to see if our repentance was real. Yes we will fall off the wagon from time to time but we can examine our hearts and we know when God's Spirit witnesses to our spirit. But as John says that we cannot claim to know God and hate our brother, I fear for those who claim to be Christians yet would condemn their brother to hell on a doctrinal issue. In our materialistic, modernist world we find our security in possessions and salvation can easily be a personal possession ('my personal saviour'). I wonder if we should trust less in our salvation and more on the God who will save us if our hearts our turned to him. Its not that we possess God but that he possesses us. We might see ourselves as God's teddy bear. That bear is not secure because it has its owner but because it is its owner's.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2011 on How Good is Friday? at Heresy of the Month
Thank you so much for this article. The last couple of days I have been burying myself in the rubble of my failure and have been looking for a little hope. When the agony drags on it can be crushing. By admitting your "optimism and endless hope, followed by frequent failure and sometimes crippling mediocrity" you have encouraged me to press on because I know God will see me through. I am grieved at the way Rob Bell has been hung up to dry by Christians I respected as well as ignorant people who might be better educated if they had more noble leaders. He speaks from the heart and wrestles honestly with his theology. Its a pity others don't see that God loves a contrite heart much more than correct theology. You are right that honest, open debate is so rare. We are breeding a generation of armchair critics with attitude instead of seekers of the truth. You sound like a guy who will speak his mind with conviction and a healthy suspicion of your own rightness.
Chris Price is now following The Typepad Team
May 29, 2011