Comments on Mark Buchannan’s book Your God is too Safe

Monday, January 24, 2005
Still reading Your God is too Safe by Mark Buchanan, and working on the second series of Revelation by Kay Arthur. Very fascinating. She is now having us draw out what happens chapter by chapter in Revelation, with a line drawn down the center of the paper for on earth, and then in heaven and beneath the earth – to show what happens, when. Not an artist, but it is good to visualize the book of Revelation, but it takes hours to do this.Here are a few interesting quotes from Your God is Too Safe

Page 64, he was talking about doubts and said “Sometimes doubting is not a lack of faith but rather an expression of it. Sometimes to doubt is merely to insist that God is taken seriously not frivolously, to insist that our faith is placed in and upheld by something other than seeming conjuring tricks.”

Page 65 “Biblical faith is not sentimental, not sloppy or vague. It excludes more than it embraces. Biblical faith progresses in an alternating rhythm of yes and no, a taking hold and a letting go, a believing and a doubting.”

He talks about Peter and Thomas and how they both believed one by seeing the other by not seeing.

Page 65 “The word skepticism has an interesting etymology. It means to look at a matter closely, to scrutinize, to study with great care and in minute detail. Based on this definition, what the church needs is not less but more skepticism. I met a mam who told me he didn’t believe the Bible because he was a skeptic. I asked him if he had read the Bible.
‘No, not really,’ he said.’I told you; I’m a  skeptic. I don’t believe it.’
This is not skepticism. This is its opposite–a refusal to investigate, to scrutinize, to ponder deeply. One thing skepticism is not is an excuse for evasion, an alibi for idleness.”

****

This passage hit home to me because even though I am questioning, doubting, looking for God’s presence it is an example of more faith than I ever had before.

I remember once, as a full-fledged witch, how proud I was that I did not invoke God when I went into surgery, did not ask for forgiveness, talk with the local chaplin or priest, or ask for anything but from my pagan gods. I did not give God one moment of thought.

In fact I spent 40 years of not acknowledging God once I turned my back on Him at the age of 8 I never once looked back. I did not pray to Him, depended on myself, never spoke about Him except to mock those stupid Christians who would believe such nonsense when clearly the occult gods had been around so much longer than the new religion Christianity. How naive they were, or so I thought.

That changed when I felt the need to give God one more chance. I had the idea to read the Bible through once from cover to cover (now where did that idea come from?  I know now that God seeks his children, we do not seek Him on our own.)

When I first started relating to God I raged at him. Innocuous words such as “God is love, God loves his children, He cries tears when you were hurt,” The “footprints poem” would send me into a blithering rage, seeing red. I would fume at God, rant at God, call him a bold faced liar. I told him off but good.

Now that would probably make most Christians cringe, but for me it was the first time I talked with God. The first time I acknowledged His presence. It obviously was not very pious, respectful, Christian, but I was speaking toward God. That meant that He was real in a sense to me. Real enough to yell at. That was a first encounter with God.

My doubts and fears, while not what most Christians would approve, still give God a reality, because I am doubting and fearing something. Not ignoring, Not seeking elsewhere. For me it is a big step. I am hoping that God understands this and does not perceive it as heresy. It is a real seeking.

I still feel that I talk AT God, not TO God. I hope He listens, but can’t quite be sure. The response is not there in a way that I can perceive. I still feel that praying to the wall is more responsive.

Here is a quote that really fits me:

Page 73 “This is the myth of self-reliance. Being self-reliant, being true to ourselves is at the root of our fallenness…But self-reliance also plagues the redeemed. We are painfully aware of this, of how much we withhold and withdraw from the hands of God, how much we clutch our lives and our plans in our grubby, fumbling little hands because we dare not relinquish such treasures to God. Most of borderland’s inhabitants are proudly, stubbornly self-reliant.”

I often ask myself, can I trust God, can I relinquish control. My being in control has not always netted the best choices, but can I trust a silent God? so challenging for me.

Page 126: :”We honestly think that we ourselves and those around us should be proficient with spiritual power, moving and acting with agility and endurance, wisdom and purity, able to conquer long-established habits of sloth and rebelliousness, simply on the basis of our desire and effort and sincerity….We have to train to run marathons, climb mountains, play violins.That the most basic idea in the world. It needs no further commentary. We have to train for spiritual life. That’s the most lost idea to the world and it requires whole books and sermon series to establish its value, even its validity.”

He then goes to talk about holy disciplines, which are not really helpful unless they are used for the right purpose, to build one up in Christ. They are not to be used as bragging rights, to compare oneself to another, to gain brownie points in the Kingdom. The sole purpose is relationship with God, or else even holy disciplines are valueless.

Here is one of the greatest quotes in the book. I am going to capitalize it it is so great and found on page 131:

WE HAVE FAR MORE WON’T POWER THAN WILLPOWER ANYHOW.

That thought blew me away. I think I most certainly have a lot more won’t than will power.

But one thing that strikes home is how some Christians in my circle of friends tend to talk about how they have resolved certain issues in their lives using spiritual principles. It is great and I rejoice greatly with them at their accomplishments. But once they have won that struggle in their lives they often get spiritual amnesia and forget how hard it was to get them to the point where they are. They seem to think that if they could do it, it should be a piece of cake for any other believer. They talk about it in such a way that the person feels condemned, and ends up giving up because at that particular point in time it is not what the person needs. The Holy Spirit really does know what is best, and will move us at our pace. So what would be a failing for one person, may be something that is not the issue for another person at that particular time.

I hope you do not mind the searching that I am doing, and I thank you for your input. It helps so much to add to what I am learning.

Heather

About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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