on being (un)sound

December 30, 2006

i thought i would explain why i have titled my blog “an unsound life” by looking back at the notes i had read which first inspired the said title. i am sure you notice my blog is no longer called “an unsound life” (3 points for you)… i realized that maybe i was slightly misquoting a certain theologian and changed my title to more accurately reflect what he was communicating. his thoughts really spoke to me in a time when i felt like i was starting to emerge from various theological boxes but wasn’t sure where to land.

in the past 2 years i would say i have been on a journey regarding my view of scripture. many frustrations brought me to this point; one of which was the concept of the beloved quiet time.

“The simple habit of spending time with God daily takes only minutes”

this type of saying (found when i googled the phrase) caused me to compartmentalize my journey with God into a daily meeting and if i missed it i was in trouble. on the other hand, if i completed the task i could check it off and go on with my day. i struggled to see how this was effective in creating a dynamic relationship with God. i also struggled with getting into devotional studies. i remember at my university a popular bible study called “one on one with God” was taking over the campus. everyone i knew who had done it raved about the program’s effectiveness at helping people get into habitual daily quiet times. i eventually decided to take my roommate up on her offer of leading me through it and, being the rebel i am, found a way to put a wrench in the system by disliking it and eventually chucking the thing completely. (sorry lauren, we both tried and i failed miserably!)

then there were those times when i felt like i had read something in the Bible that confirmed something in my life. one instance in particular i remember reading a passage and assuming God was telling me to proceed with a dating relationship that i wasn’t entirely crazy about, but sort of talked myself into through various circumstances. after we eventually broke up, i found another passage that caused me to think we would get back together. (sparing you the details, but just know i am entirely too analytical for my own good). soon enough we did get back together and my then boyfriend also used scripture to confirm various details of our relationship and eventually concluded we would be married. this was november ’04 and to make a long story short, he proposed 6 month later.

to someone else.

then other issues caused me to question various ideas that seemed biblical but had no concrete basis, such as the concept of men as spiritual leaders. i was still pretty conservative in my thinking on the role of men and women when a “liberal” friend asked me where the term was found in the text. i remember when i finally realized this title didn’t exist anywhere in the bible… to think of how long i had placed this unnecessary burden on guys still makes me cringe.

more recently it was the fact that so many godly men and women have opposing views on all sorts of theological issues from free will to the sacraments. it just didnt (and still doesn’t) make sense to me how people could end up with so many different interpretations of the text.

all of this said, i began my blog at a time when i was deconstructing my views on scripture in light of some of what i have just shared and nt wright helped me to realize i was not a heretic for thinking something was awry in the mentality i held. that the bondage and frustration i had experienced was not because i was failing God but more about the fact that i had put God and myself in this lifeless coffin where growth was never going to occur no matter how hard i fought to follow the 3 easy steps. i want to experience this soundness nt wright speaks of when coming to the bible. a soundness that doesn’t lead to inactivity but progression, vigor, and new direction. i still struggle with self-imposed guilt for lack of reading, with not being sure how God is using scripture to speak new life into me, and how to discern whether i am reading too much into the text… so this post serves as a reminder to me of the bondage i let go of only to somehow burden myself with yet again.

God …wants to catch human beings up in the work that he is doing. He doesn’t want to do it by-passing us; he wants us to be involved in his work. And as we are involved, so we ourselves are being remade. He doesn’t give us the Holy Spirit in order to make us infallible—blind and dumb servants who merely sit there and let the stuff flow through us. So, he doesn’t simply give us a rule book so that we could just thumb through and look it up. He doesn’t create a church where you become automatically sinless on entry. Because, as the goal and end of his work is redemption, so the means is redemptive also: judgement and mercy, nature and grace. God does not, then, want to put people into little boxes and keep them safe and sound. It is, after all, possible to be so sound that you’re sound asleep. I am not in favor of unsoundness; but soundness means health, and health means growth, and growth means life and vigor and new directions. The little boxes in which you put people and keep them under control are called coffins. We read scripture not in order to avoid life and growth. God forgive us that we have done that in some of our traditions. Nor do we read scripture in order to avoid thought and action, or to be crushed, or squeezed, or confined into a de-humanizing shape, but in order to die and rise again in our minds. Because, again and again, we find that, as we submit to scripture, as we wrestle with the bits that don’t make sense, and as we hand through to a new sense that we haven’t thought of or seen before, God breathes into our nostrils his own breath—the breath of life. And we become living beings—a church recreated in his image, more fully human, thinking, alive beings.

to be sound but not asleep- this is what i desire.


2 Responses to “on being (un)sound”

  1. Jeffrey Says:

    cool change.

  2. Victor Says:

    Good post.

    Nice quote! Is that NT Wright?

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