Saturday, April 14, 2012

God, Trials and Fears

Conquering Fear on Table Mountain - Capetown, SA

But Daniel appealed to a steward who had been assigned by the head of the palace staff to be in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: "Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see." 
Daniel 1:11-13 (The Message)
Certainly people have been putting God on trial for a long time and Daniel’s account is one of my favorites partially because it is also the first reported clinical trial.   What seems critical to me is that it wasn’t just a clinical trial, it was a clinical trial that pointed not just to the results but pointed to God and Daniel’s faith.
 The “us” in the Daniel story are two social economic classes.   Will the “rich” win or are there other dimensions that are more important?   In a technical and complicated world our trials point more to confusion and chaos rather than the God of life that sustains us.
A contemporary version of the Daniel story is the relevance of the church and reality of 
faith in our lives...what we believe, how we behave and where we belong?*   The problem with the question is that it is more about “we” than about God.   The better questions are “What is God calling us to do as individuals and his Church?”.  What is grieving God that needs to be healed? 
For me, it is our deep-seated “fears” that somehow have escaped the faith that we have professed.   It has been “anesthetized” by our drugs  and diverted with a futile faith in technology, but it remains!   We are healed of these “fears” when we tell our faith stories and hear/learn from the ancient stories.   The good news is the church is still the location where we hear and tell God stories.**  These are stories of God’s healing work in the world.  This is the prescription for our “fears” and manna for our lives.
Some recent references:
*Diana Butler Bass - 
Huffington Post - 4/8/12  - A Resurrected Christianity?
                     Book:  Christianity after Religion:  The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening(2012)
**See Fuller Seminary Service with Father Greg Boyle, S.J. -
See Post: February 1, 2012 - Techniques and Transformation

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