As a growing Christian I held on to certain beliefs because that is what I was taught. I had no reasons to doubt. I trusted my teachers and pastors. Besides the Bible, I took their recommendations of books and resources without question. As I grew, in age and matured in the faith, whatever that means, I questioned more. Not because I was being argumentative or looking for a fight. I enquired a little more because I wanted to understand better.“How We Treat Fellow Christians Who Believe Differently”
I tried to read as widely as I can. I’m generally fascinated by biographies. Biographies of people who made a notable impact, waves, disruptions of sort. One of history’s figures I’ve had interest in was Genghis Khan. He shaped the history and direction of a people and continent. After conquering a city, he inquired about a large building. He thought it was the sultan’s but it turned out to be a place of worship. This was problematic for the Mongols.“Genghis Khan And The Mongol’s Theology; A Big God”
Let me start by thanks Eric Metaxas for doing a great job of Bonhoeffer’s biography. Through his work we have a good picture of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life. Eric’s work is a good example of what a biography should be. Without it I wouldn’t have been challenged the way I was. Let me not get ahead of myself. This is the first post, as I reflect on the Dietrich’s life. The theme of calling and conviction is one I’ll be exploring in this post.“Calling and Conviction; Reflecting On Dietrich Bonhoeffer”
One of the reasons for starting this blog was creating a space unlike my other blog. The reason: I didn’t want to create noise and fractured blog. This is because I Am Jonah is still a huge work in progress. It is still an attempt. An endeavour that is still stifled in a sense. The evolution of I Am Jonah blog is something, for many reasons, I’m still grappling with.
“The Evolution Of I Am Jonah Blog”
It is no doubt that God works in the lives of people. Myself included, I’ve seen his transformative power in the lives of countless people.
He works supernaturally. Some people confuse supernatural for spectacular. The supernatural is not always spectacular. ‘God’s work’ in people’s lives may not always be spectacular but it doesn’t mean it isn’t supernatural.
How He works transcends our complete understanding. We see the evidence of His work but we don’t fully understand how He brings it about. He is God. He would never be God if we had Him completely figured out.
“God’s Work Among People”
Christians must be involved in politics. They cannot afford stand on the sidelines and have no say in governance and morality of society. How can they be guardians of justice if they’re stand on the sidelines?
I’m convinced that Christians can’t afford to be spectators as others of diverse convictions and beliefs create laws and systems that will define the society we live in. We must pray for leaders and everyone in public office.
Prayer is important, and so is involvement. In case you were wondering where I stand, there it is.
“The Christian Leader And Politcal Opinions And Affiliations”
Silence and solitude. Uncomfortable when neglected. Much noise fills our lives already.
Silence and solitude. A friend; far from foe. The friend who makes us focus on where we’re falling short.
Silence, making us aware of thoughts we’ve had but not known we had.
Solitude reminding us there’s a friendship with our own selves we must never neglect.
Silence and solitude, causing us to reflect. On ourselves. Environment… Life…
“Silence and Solitude”
When I was little boy one of the biggest fights I had with my friends was not wanting to play outside. I hated the sandpit. I never saw the point of the sandpit. You played with sand and got dirty; why would I want that?!
I made up for it with fascination with other things. I used to steal mom’s wire coat hangers and make car wires and stuff. Other memories; the world through the eyes of a little boy…
Dad was a giant. Because he could open the ketchup bottles and jam jars mom couldn’t, I’m sure he could stop a car with his pinkie finger. There’s nothing dad couldn’t or wouldn’t buy for me when he promised. He stepped in and ’took care’ of the kids who tried to bully me. Many memories… Mom and dad were / are just the best!
Now that I’m grown up I’m more aware of their limitations. I’m aware of some of their blind spots in their perspectives and worldview. There was a time I was naïve enough to think there was nothing mom and dad couldn’t do for me. I had and still have no doubt they have the best in mind for me.
This includes the times mom and dad had to discipline or correct me. Sometimes I knowingly misbehaved. I got disciplined. There were also times I was let off the hook; mom and dad gave me a hiding by being good to me. I felt bad for being mean to them when they chose kindness.
Being a child was key to unlocking expectation to my parents. It meant that I had the expectation of protection from my parents. I never felt guilty for asking anything of them because, well who else was I going to ask? Though I didn’t appreciate the pain of the hiding I deserved, I knew it was their responsibility to discipline.
I didn’t appreciate the manners they taught me when they did, but now I’m grateful… I was ever aware of my limitations and always leaned on my parents. With time they pushed me, helped me grow… So much…
On Being “A Child Of God”
Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. — Matthew 18:3-4
Jesus taught the importance of being a child. In fact, He said that unleashing the power of His kingdom was linked to us being children. Sometimes I want to be stronger than I really am. Yet, the truth is I really am more helpless than I portray. Humility…
Sometimes I’m a brat. I resent being disciplined and taught. Being challenged to grow and take responsibility.
Yet Jesus calls me to be… a child. It is when I am a child that I allow God to truly be the Father. My responsibility is to be a child. To have innocent and expectant faith. To never stop believing in His goodwill and plans for my life. To be ’naive enough’ to take God at His Word.
For God to truly be my father, I have to be a great child.
I hate mornings. I can hardly get my body and brain to engage. I used to be a morning person. Not so much now. The challenge of falling asleep manifests itself, in an even greater way, in the morning.
As I try to wake up, the first thing I do is reach for my phone, with the hope that my wake up time is still many hours away. Squint-eyed I try to make out the time. I shower, brush my teeth, get dressed… Coffee…
I have a routine that is forced. A lot of the things, I just have to do. I have many other routines; recurring things. I have rhythms I’m forced to change sometimes because life just happens. Something unexpected, a fuller diary, crises…
“My Routines Build Me Up And Tear Me Down”
This is a guest post by Wendy van Eyck
I sometimes struggle to talk to people who believe in Jesus.
Sometimes I wish my friends didn’t sound so Christian. Sometimes I wish they’d tell me how they feel instead of telling me what they think I want to hear.
I find it hard because I don’t always feel like we can have a conversation about really matters to them.
Often it feels like we are all trying to sound “Christian” rather than “human”.
I know from experience how tempting it is to brush people off with a “Christian” sounding, “Yes, what I am going through is hard, but God sustains me.”
I learnt through holding my husband’s hand through two years of cancer treatment, that speaking words that sound “Christian” prevents people from being Jesus’ hands and feet to us.
I think when I read Matthew 5: 3-5 in the Message this really clicked for me:
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can the One dearest to you embrace you.
You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
Those don’t sound a lot like descriptions of people who have it all together. They read more like descriptions of me on my best days.
It sounds like the kind of person who would be good friends with the biblical Job, the kind of person who understands the despair David wrote of in the Psalms.
It sounds like the kind of person who would just come straight out and say, “I don’t know how I’m going to get out of the mess I’m in.”
It sounds like the kind of person who lives openly with brokenness.
It sounds like the kind of person who isn’t out to impress God, or anyone, with holiness.
It sounds like the kind of person who accepts being a Christian is more about what God does in a person than being perfect.
It sounds like the kind of person I want to be.
And I’m realizing that if I want to have the kind of conversations, with people who believe in Jesus, that go beyond “praise God” and “Amen”, I need to start giving honest answers myself. And as I live with honesty in my brokenness maybe it’ll encourage others to share what’s on their hearts.
- I wish my friends didn’t sound so Christian [Click to Tweet]
- As I live with honesty in my brokenness maybe it’ll encourage others to share what’s on their hearts [Click to Tweet]
Check out Wendy’s blog here. She writes devotionals about finding God in ordinary moments. In an inspiring way, she also writes about her and her husband, Xylon’s journey as Xylon fought cancer. Follow @wendyvaneyck
Thanks for stopping by Wendy!