Excerpts From a Dark Night

October 7, 2007 at 8:00 am 11 comments

trial.jpgApril 13, 2003.

Why are we born so far from home? Why is it so hard to travel on that narrow path and enter that tiny gate?… Sometimes the path is covered by so much debris that it is impossible to decipher where we are to go. I just want to see a little bit of the road. Why do my feet lead me down another path? Have I turned away the light beneath my feet? Am I looking too far ahead rather than the imminent path?… Deliver me from my own shadows… Open my eyes…

April 30, 2003.

Is it only me, God?… Why the distance? How does such a finite being come to “know” you? You know I do not like to speak in the “unreal” and the abstract… Is “knowing” you nothing but a cliche?… People say they are close to You at certain times in their lives, but do they really know what they mean by what they say? Are they not just in a heightened or, dare I say, “enlightened” state?… Are Christians just a special case in which they have certain special knowledge of what they are close to when going through a certain type of mindset? What about unbelievers? Do they not experience the same heightened emotions or times of “self-awareness”?…

June 17, 2003.

What does it mean to trust You?… Am I trusting all Three or in One that equals all Three?… Mature Christians advise me to trust. Almost blindly. Every question I bring ends with “trust Him” or “have faith.” Is this but an infinite resignation? Knowledge of lacking knowledge? Then why don’t they admit it? Just say “I don’t know.” But then what is there to believe? I want and don’t want to be brought to that point. You gave us an intellect above that of the beasts so that we may understand and acknowledge our Creator, Saviour, and Sustainer. Why then, at the same time, are we told to give up that beautiful gift that so few Christians contemplate and admire as a gift.

I found some written prayers among some of my papers a couple days ago. They come from a period at the end of my second year in Bible college. I don’t remember writing these exact prayers, but I recall writing many like this at this time. I had taken some, what I thought were important, questions to my college instructors. Not satisfied with their answers, I asked family and friends. Then some local pastors. And then some theology professors at a seminary in Vancouver. Answers ranged from somber cliches to blatant heresies to half-ass blow-offs. I had already stepped away from my strict conservative fundamentalism and was dabbling with the liberal Emergent church.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that the “Emerging church,” although psychologically healthy and socially conscientious, had very little to do with the original Christian church. I didn’t know how much that mattered. The Scripture itself made it seem like the early church was just as chaotic and screwed up as we are. The apostles were hardly to be trusted with authority, especially if read from Mark’s gospel; and Paul… and Paul… was Paul even a Christian… did Paul even know of Jesus’ teachings? So many questions needed answering – so few answers given with any sort of honesty or integrity. I didn’t chose to study a secular university because I wanted that point of view – I was driven into it. I wonder, should I thank the church for its ignorance?

-The Apostate

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The Historicity of Jesus Tink’s manifesto

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lostgirlfound  |  October 7, 2007 at 9:13 am

    T.A. … the structure (i.e. organized religion) makes it impossible to have a “thinking faith.” They deny reason, and when it comes to questions, they almost always refuse to even consider them. I got that “rude” awakening only when found myself ignorantly repeating things and a good friend (who happens to be a rampant skeptic!) said, “Listen to yourself!”

    But like you, I have to “thank” the church for helping me not want to be a mindless follower. I have faith … but what I know and what I believe comes from what I’ve learned, discovered … the questions I’ve asked. And it’s probably deeper than what I had when I simply “went to church.”

    And,I too think the church as we know it should be called “Paulineans,” not Christians, because most of what they preach/follow/believe is NOT from the gospel. But when you say things like that, they go ballistic (or shake their head sadly, knowing I’ve bought into something evil and leading to the path of destruction …).

    The longer I think about it, the crazier it gets …

  • 2. Samanthamj  |  October 7, 2007 at 10:34 am

    TA –
    Thanks for sharing some personal times you went through. I think many can relate. I hope many more who can not relate will at least realize that your lack of faith in God isn’t because you didn’t “try”. So many Christians talk to me (and others) with the assumption that if we only TRIED to believe and learn about God – prayed to him for help – than we would believe. When in fact, so many of us DID try… and simply could not…. or even felt “driven” way from God and/or religion.
    ~smj

  • 3. Natural Leap  |  October 14, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    In this marshy plane where we see everything from pain/suffering to grossly materialized society….is it any wonder why we must question? Life has a few glibs here and there that we treasure that sets us to hope and believe that maybe a higher being could be there. Interesting blog, thanks for sharing…Di

  • 4. HeIsSailing  |  October 17, 2007 at 1:32 am

    ThinkingApe:

    Eventually I came to the conclusion that the “Emerging church,” although psychologically healthy and socially conscientious, had very little to do with the original Christian church.

    I am so old, crusty, and out of touch with pop culture, that I have no idea what an ‘emerging church’ is. It sounds on the surface like American Christians under 30, who are fed up with the Religious Right. Is there anything more to it than that? Does it have anything in common with the hippie ‘Jesus Freak’ movement of the early 70’s, but more yuppie, less hippie? And what do you call the ‘Emerging Church’ after it has been around a few decades? The Emerged Church? Can somebody help me with this?

    Seminarian blog, where are you youngsters when we need you??? Help!!

  • 5. Thinking Ape  |  October 17, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    HIS, check out http://emergentvillage.com

  • 6. curtis  |  October 29, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    HIS-

    Here’s another link with some good info on the emerging church “conversation” as it’s typically called…

    http://www.opensourcetheology.net/node/229

  • 7. karen  |  October 29, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    HIS, I’m with you. I had never heard of the emergent church until a couple of years ago. They have only been around a decade or less – probably more like 5-6 years – so don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of them. The fundies hate ‘em! :-)

    Excellent article in the NY Times magazine yesterday, The Evangelical Crackup, about the faltering political influence of evangelicals in the U.S.

    Definitely worth a read:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/magazine/28Evangelicals-t.html

    It describes the emergent church as “some rebellious evangelical pastors and theologians of the new school,” and yes, they are overwhelmingly young, “postmodern” and disillusioned with evangelicals’ foray into politics and kingmaking. Their defacto leader (they’re not big on authority figures) seem to be a guy named Brian McLaren.

  • 8. Brad  |  October 29, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    Hahaha…. HIS, many apologies for not “coming to the rescue” sooner.

    Kind of like it was discussed on our blog, the “emerging church” has a couple distinctly different streams. The “liberal” stream, that is described by Karen and Curtis, is trying to “pave a new” Christian faith. You would be right in saying that it is not as much like the original church. Very true.

    The conservative stream seeks, with the likes of Mark Driscoll, Darrin Patrick, Ed Stetzer, and others, seeks to shed some fo the cultural assumptions of the American Evangelical church and RETURN to a culture-loving-yet-critical view of the faith. Most of them are also young passionate pastors, but reformed in their theology. I would count myself among them.

    The two best websites for the conservative stream would be:
    http://theresurgence.com/ – The Resurgence, and
    http://www.acts29network.org/ – The Acts 29 Network (for Church Planting)

    Also, the Gospel Coalition (http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/) includes a few of those in that camp, but are joined by reformed pastors and theologians (like Tim Keller, John Piper, and Bryan Chapell) who are not “emerging” because they are older, but they are still very affirming of culture and reformed theology.

    How is that for a start? :-)

  • 9. Brad  |  October 29, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    oh… and by “culture-loving-yet-critical view of the faith,” I mean that they view culture as neither good nor evil in and of itself. It was given by God, but we have the option to engage/create culture that glorifies Him or doesn’t (that’s the critical part). Many of these pastors have been criticized by evangelicals because they like beer (while not being drunkards) and hang out with non-Christians in bars. Go figure.

    Here’s a good example with a pastor acquaintance of mine taking some heat:

    http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=25221

    Their website with an explanation of Theology at the Bottleworks:

    http://www.journeyon.net/art–culture/midrash/

  • 10. frodo441  |  December 12, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    “because maybe you didn’t understand that “the path is wide but the gate is narrow…” to Luctra

    The beginning and the ending of the military campaign…if you find you come from a military family…what then?…is there a world that you can’t insulate yourself from? …is there a love story about another couple…in there…

    times extemporarity …and contemporary reasonings…Christians don’t believe in post-revelation’s…to do that you deny the Apocolyptic fire in a man’s life…and without the personal experience…how will you find redemption ….let alone forgiveness…do you know your father in silence…and how did you come to know…why can’t you pay for One…in the world you can’t serve God and mammon….in an economy of means you have to step down off your epistomological ladder…

  • 11. pinterest  |  October 16, 2014 at 1:09 am

    It should come as no surprise, then, that Pinterest is fast becoming a top
    social networking tool. Unfortunately, it’s also introduced a host of ways to violate intellectual property laws.
    It’s not always easy, but if the material is for something truly important, it’s the wisest step to take.

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