Yesterday I ran into the local Christian bookstore during a horrible thunderstorm. I've been avoiding this store since I came back to Chattanooga but I had to buy a present there for a friend. The lightening outside was so bad I thought I was safer by killing time in the store instead of returning to my car. So I perused the aisles and was reminded just how much bad Christian writing is marketed to Americans.
But in the newly released section I found a book called What Was I Thinking? Things I've Learned Since I Knew It All by Steve Brown. I know that Steve Brown is pretty well respected in my circles so I picked it up. And then I couldn't put it down. Brown describes himself as the most religious person he knows. A seminary professor, Christian radio talk show host, a minister - all of his life centers on the study of God and helping others to know God. Yet in the introduction he writes, "Theology...., a belief statement....., and propositions...... Are all useless if they don't lead us to the reality which is God and to the astonishment that ought to be a regular occurrence in the believers life." Theology builds a foundation for the life of the believer but reality of God is what teaches a Christian the tune to sing. Brown says that many know the words but few know the tune. This book was written for people who have the foundation yet struggle in their faith to sing the praises that one only has after encountering the living God and finding that He truly is the source of all delight.
I am one of those people. This past year I have struggled in my spiritual life more than ever. Life was difficult and with it came difficult questions. I could give you all the acceptable Bible answers to the questions, but none of them seemed to explain anything. I was faced with my own unbelief and was overwhelmed. I felt like Jacob wrestling with God demanding for God to reveal Himself on my terms, with means that I would recognize. Eventually I released and just trusted that He would restore my soul. And He is, and He will. I love this book because it was written for people who know all the answers but struggle to believe them in their hearts. For Christians who look for the love of God because they don't understand that He is love. And for those that know you can't confine God to the theology books but don't yet know how to sing the tune.
Favorite quote of Chapter One ~
"I often say to my students when they are especially strident about a subject, 'You haven't lived long enough, sinned big enough, or failed nearly enough to even have an opinion on that.' Well, I have lived long enough, sinned big enough, and failed enough. So I want to share with you what I know about God - which, frankly, isn't as much as I once thought it was."