I don’t read a lot of fiction, but I read The Shack a couple weeks ago, and a review on Relevant Magazine’s site caught my eye. (If you haven’t read the book, the review gives a good synopsis – without playing the spoiler role.) I enjoyed the book and the way it made me think about how I relate and pray and converse and commune with God. The last line of the review really stood out to me: “Before Scripture, God was felt, talked about and experienced by people.“
Shouldn’t the same be true to a people who have Scripture? Even more so, given our written advantage? But too often Scripture has been made into some kind of quasi-idol. We’re taught to read our Bibles and pray, but do we learn to really talk with God and talk about God? Do we really experience His presence? Do we teach our kids how to “feel” God?
It seems simpler to memorize verses and recite 4 points from a tract. I learned very early in my church upbringing how to spit out the right answers. Many kids do. But in conversations with friends and co-workers, I wasn’t being asked the same questions! Outside the walls of church, my list of answers was insufficient – maybe even insignificant.
It’s risky to start talking about the feeling and experiencing of God outside the black and white and red-lettered bounds our rational minds have become so accustomed to. People may fear that we’ve opened doors to the spiritual world that are better left closed… Feelings may trick us. A touchy-feely gospel may leave too much wiggle room for sin. But as I see Jesus (in Scripture, mind you) I see someone willing to risk. He had a message of His Father’s grace to share with humanity and risked everything to bring it. As His Ambassadors now, do we have that same will to risk and bias to act? I believe that if we do, the richness of relationship with our Creator awaits.
My prayer is that today, as in the past, “God is felt, talked about and experienced by people”.