re: re: God's Will

"The safest place to be is the center of God's will..." brad, i like those questions. i think that seems to cut to some of the core issues with any "Christianese" phrase. personally, i've always been suspicious of that phrase. it seems like more of a sociological construct than a biblical precept. meaning that--when it is used this way--it designates certain activities (usually related to the college party-life) as near the fringe of God's will (i.e., you can do them and still be a Christian, but it probably isn't what God wants for you) and others as more central. I find it tough to know the difference between the general "for all Christians" Will of God. It seems even more difficult to parse the difference between that general Will and the specific direction that God is leading me in (I think brad would designate this your "call"). Add in the (subtle?) difference between the degrees of centrality, and you have a concept that seems more human-mediated than theologically, or Biblically, derived. Like in Dante, there may be degrees of closeness with God, but can humans really know that? We judge outwardly but He looks at our innermost self. The other thing that makes me cringe about a phrase like that hinges around "safest." Not to be too Kierkegaardian, but we are already too "safe" as a church. Granted that safety looks and means sometimes contradictory things depending on the context, but that concept of wanting to be removed from the evils of the world (i.e., safe) has made whole denominations dangerously close to irrelevant. I think especially of Garrison Keelor's experience with the "dark" Lutherans in Minnesota--always condemning anything "fun", having three hour long prayer meetings, wearing itchy clothes--as a really negative version of having to be "safe" to maintain a closeness with God. Perhaps the first century Pharisees would be a good example of religiously "safe" people. But these are just the things that pop into my head not really knowing the context of that comment. If the discussion was about how to be "in but not of" the world, then there might be some good room for discussion around that comment. Taken out of context, I'm not sure if it helps an over-analytical worrier like me grow in my relationship with God.


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