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How God Deals with Rejection

The world of social media has been all abuzz today with Mike Huckabee’s weekend response to the “Where was God in Connecticut?” question.  Huckabee’s “answer” is as familiar as the question to which it responds, and has been somberly rehearsed by American evangelical types frequently over the past few decades when it comes to these kinds of tragedies.  You know it well, don’t you?  It goes something like this: “Well, why should we expect God to show up when we have spent the last fifty years systematically removing him from our [insert public institution—usually schools].”  Simply put: “Where was God?  Well, we kicked him out!” 

To suggest that this argument is a little theologically naïve (among other things) is an understatement to put it mildly.  Rachel Held Evans has done an excellent job of skewering the idea that we could “keep God out” of anything—as if God needs the assent of American (or any other human) culture to “show up,” as if the only thing preventing God from allowing the unleashing of murderous terror upon little children under normal conditions (i.e., conditions in which God is being correctly acknowledged in public) is the correct calibration of school prayers and Ten Commandments displays and “Merry Christmases” (not “Happy Holidays”) and whatever other practically meaningless display of faux public religiosity is currently deemed the litmus test for making America a “Christian nation.”  While it is surely folly to demand an account of God’s providence only when horrific, inexplicable things happen and not to bother to wonder if God might have any influence or interest in the rest of life, the suggestion that what happened on Friday was because Americans had “kicked God out” of their nation strikes me as a ridiculously simplistic response to an event that is surely the result of a whole host of complex, tragic, and interrelated factors.

(As an aside, one is never quite sure if the deliverers of this message are more annoyed about God’s lack of public acknowledgment/influence or their own.)

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few days about Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem because it refused to accept him as the path to peace (Luke 19:41-44).  It’s interesting to think about this scene in connection with the avalanche of predictable rhetoric that tries to pin this or that instance of evil and suffering on our failure to love/honour/obey/publicly acknowledge God correctly.  If Mike Huckabee is to be believed, human rejection of God leads to God (grudgingly?) receding from the scene and allowing atrocities that would not have occurred if his people had accepted him, as they ought to have.  But do we see this with Jesus?

Do we see Jesus abandoning Jerusalem because it had failed to accept him as its rightful (if highly unusual) king?  Do we see Jesus turning his back on the city and saying, in effect, “all right then, if you don’t want anything to do with me and my kingdom, well then you all can go to hell?”  Do we see Jesus demanding to be acknowledged correctly in the public sphere as the guarantor of civic peace?  Not really.  What we see, instead, is Jesus keeping his face turned toward those who rejected him.  We see Jesus suffering and dying for those who wanted nothing to do with him.  We see Jesus praying for those who are killing him because they don’t know what they are doing.  We see the post-resurrection Jesus reappearing to doubting disciples and those who betrayed him.  We see Jesus stubbornly persisting in his offer of new life to all.

In Jesus, we see that God doesn’t work like Mike Huckabee and others seem to think he does.  We see that God is not a vending machine where if we put the right amount of change in (public prayer, appropriate Christmas lingo, etc.) we get the right stuff back (an America free of school killings?).  In Jesus we see that God cannot be reduced to anything like a law or some kind of cosmic moral calculus that rewards and punishes human behaviour in a uniform and predictable way, much as we might genuinely wish things worked this way.  The career of Jesus does not explain what happened in Connecticut last Friday.  But Jesus’ way of being “God with us” ought at least to give us pause before making the kinds of pronouncements about how God deals with being “kicked out of America” that have overloaded the Internet over the last few days.

Where was God in Connecticut last Friday?  I have no idea.  Who can say where God is when bad things happen without descending into either trite cliché or hurtful offense?  But if nothing else, I do have a pretty good idea about what happens when people reject God.  Jesus shows us this quite clearly.  What happens when human beings reject God is that God suffers and dies and gives himself away to and for those who reject him.

58 Comments Post a comment
  1. yes!

    December 17, 2012
  2. I am sharing this.

    December 17, 2012
  3. Ryan,

    Thanks for a well thought out and clear article. It seems the great struggle of the church in America is to figure out which kingdom we will work to build and defend – God’s Kingdom or a kingdom of the American Dream mixed up with little God. The thought that we were somehow better off 50 years ago when prayer was allowed in school, can only be considered if looking to the past with blinders on. For an African American in America’s Bible Belt across the south, you might come to quite a different conclusion. Anyway, my appreciation continues to grow for your thoughtful posts.

    December 17, 2012
    • Thank you, Aaron. I appreciate the kind words.

      And I think you make a very good point re: what things were like 50 years ago. Perhaps the assumption that things were somehow more idyllic back then depends a lot on what colour your skin was (among other things). I read another comment on Facebook that makes the same point a little differently. If there were a straight line between “kicking God out of the country” and senseless gun violence, we ought to see places like Sweden and Denmark or even Canada (!) literally awash in bloodshed. These countries are far further down the path of secularism than the USA. But this is obviously not what we see. As always, simple answers turn out not to be answers at all.

      December 17, 2012
  4. And if they still reject Him, He sends them to hell. Sad but true!

    December 17, 2012
    • Interesting that you use the word “sad” to describe this…

      I wonder why Jesus’ character and behaviour at the final judgment would bear so little resemblance to his character and behaviour on earth?

      December 17, 2012
      • Sad for those who reject Him! Do you not agree that those who reject Him will ultimately be destroyed?

        December 17, 2012
      • I do not deny the existence of a final judgment, even if I think we heed Christ’s words from Matthew 25:31-46 far too infrequently and inconsistently. But I don’t conceive of this as Jesus “sending” people anywhere (much less as anything like a vindictive response) but as a final and irrevocable honouring of human freedom.

        I think that we will be surprised at how things turn out in the end. I suspect that Christ is and will be far more merciful in the final reckoning than those who follow him often are.

        December 17, 2012
    • Sean #

      @ Jody Friesen – Glad the Jesus I follow has a different perspective than you do. Every knee shall bow, and every tongue will confess that I am LORD!

      December 19, 2012
      • jody #

        It says in matt 25:41 ” depart from me you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”. Eternal fire doesn’t sound too good to me, and I think people need to be warned. There are consequences for rejecting Christ. And yes Sean, Jesus has a different perspective than I do. He is God, I am a man. Very little similarity between us. He has however, given us His word, which gives us some incite on His perspective. Matt 10:28 ” Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell”

        December 19, 2012
      • Interesting that the passage contains the element of surprise in it, don’t you think? Those who get in are surprised to do so, as are those who are left out. Apparently, the categories for judgment were not what they expected. This should make us pause in our haste to pronounce upon the fate of others (usually those who don’t agree with us or understand things the way we do).

        It’s also interesting that Matthew 25 makes no reference to “rejecting Christ” as contemporary evangelicals tend to understand this term (i.e., rejecting a body of propositions about the divinity of Jesus, the nature of salvation, etc). When was the last time you heard an evangelical preacher get up and quote this passage to support the idea that people’s eternal destiny depended upon feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the sick or those in prison? None leap to mind for me.

        However one interpretes this passage, it certainly could not be used to support anything resembling the idea that the horrors of our world are the result of God being ticked off with people for failing to grant him a largely ceremonial and practically meaningless role in the life of the empire, as some commentators south of the border seem to think was the case in Connecticut. Aside from being offensive and immoral to say such things in the context of grief, it is just plain incorrect.

        December 20, 2012
  5. Thank you, Ryan for your heartfelt response to pat evangelical answers that to me have always seemed devoid of compassion and Christ-ian love or understanding.

    December 17, 2012
    • Such answers seem the same to me :). Thanks for your comment.

      December 17, 2012
  6. Byron #

    Thanks, Ryan. Thoughtful piece. Made me think of Nickel Mines massacre—in an Amish school where the Lord’s Prayer was at the heart of the children’s upbringing. By Huckabee’s reasoning, they should have been “protected.” Or think of the Christians the world over being massacred in their own places of worship, while at prayer, by extremists.

    December 17, 2012
    • I hadn’t even thought of Nickel Mines… But you are, of course, absolutely correct. There are no straight lines between piety (public or private) and the presence or absence of tragedy. There never have been.

      December 17, 2012
      • jc #

        I don’t know where Huckabee starts his line but according to these numbers the homicide rate looks to be trending downward in schools

        http://nces.ed.gov/programs/crimeindicators/crimeindicators2011/tables/table_01_2.asp

        non fatal violence looks even more like its trending downwards.

        http://nces.ed.gov/programs/crimeindicators/crimeindicators2011/tables/table_02_1.asp

        I am not sure what his explanation for that is but it reflects the trend of crime rates nationally going down.

        December 18, 2012
      • I don’t know enough about the American situation to comment intelligently about this. I do know that statistics are very malleable entities, and that both sides of a given issue sieze upon them with equal vigour.

        Whatever story the official numbers tell, I think that it is, as so many things are in our online world, a question of optics. It seems like violence in American is uniquely prevalent and “on the rise” because these high profile, emotionally devastating events have happened a number of times over the last decade or so (not just in the USA, but mainly) and when they do, they take over our screens, social media, papers, etc.

        Leaving aside the issue of whether or not America is becoming more violent or not, these sorts of events might say almost as much about how we use media and the role media plays in shaping cultural consciousness as anything else.

        December 18, 2012
      • Doug #

        The Bible also says that Christians will be persecuted for righteousness sake or for right living.

        December 19, 2012
  7. Carl F #

    Thanks Ryan! Amen!

    December 18, 2012
  8. mike #

    ..your best work yet,Ryan ..Flawless

    December 18, 2012
  9. Maggie #

    This is the first time I’m reading anything of yours, but I like this post. I have a lot of issues with the Huckabee stance b/c I think he’s essentially putting God on our “level” when Isaiah 55:8-9 clearly states otherwise. God is not spiteful or vindictive. I wish I could explain myself more, but as I said, I like this post and absolutely plan on sharing it.

    December 18, 2012
  10. Carl, Mike, Maggie… Thank you.

    December 18, 2012
  11. KarenW #

    A friend shared this on FB and after reading it I thought “Hooray for a piece that doesn’t use cliches but still acknowledges the supremacy of Christ AND his mercy.”
    An inspired posting that articulates why many of us knew innately but could not articulate.

    December 18, 2012
    • Thank you very much, Karen.

      December 18, 2012
  12. KarenW #

    That last sentence should read ‘what’ not why. What we knew innately but could not articulate.

    December 18, 2012
  13. Julie D #

    Came across this through a friend. What a great word. I really appreciate how you lean in and look to the character of Jesus rather than the errors of people. As we approach Christmas, Jesus’ incarnation, we have such a clear picture of how Jesus responds to a nation that turns his back on him. He shows up as a vulnerable infant, right in the middle of poverty, oppression, corrupt rulers. Emmanuel.

    December 18, 2012
    • Well said, Julie. I like that expression—”leaning into the character of Jesus.” Too often we have a vague concept of a generic “God” that we try to squeeze Jesus into rather than allowing Jesus to form our image of what God is really like.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      December 18, 2012
  14. This was very well written. Thank you. While I am not a follower of Jesus, I am highly spiritual and I appreciate your words. As to the question about where God was? God was everywhere that day, holding the hands of the teachers, touching the hearts of the parents, cradling the lives of the children (the ones who died as well as the ones who lived), and perhaps weeping for the horror that a human being could do such a thing with their free will.

    Blessings to you.

    December 18, 2012
    • mike #

      … a deep and powerful meditation, Shaylamyst

      December 19, 2012
    • Thank you very much, shaylamyst. I agree, God is grieved by how we have abused our freedom. At times, moral freedom seems like a gift we humans were and are utterly unworthy to receive…

      December 19, 2012
  15. Thanks for your post – it’s a great breath of fresh air in a sea of the kind of commentaries you were speaking against.

    I find it extremely ironic how many “evangelical” Christians fail to see the difference between a world where Christianity is written, engraved and enforced everywhere and a world where Christ actually reigns in the hearts of His people. Let’s not forget how many hundreds of thousands (perhaps even millions) have been killed by men and women obeying “Christian” laws.

    If memory serves correct, Jesus had a word for people who felt the law was the way to go… I think they named a car after them…

    December 18, 2012
    • Thank you, Alex. I could not agree more. The “law” of Christ cannot be imposed externally, it must come from within.

      (Took me a while to get the car reference… :).)

      December 19, 2012
  16. shellcampagnola #

    Thank you Ryan. Your post was refreshing, inspiring and a better reflection of the heart of God than a lot of what I have read lately. I appreciated the humility of your “I have no idea”. I suspect it speaks more to the mystery of “how” he is present rather than “if” he is present; I have no doubt he was there, and in the days to come, as hearts begin to heal and voices share the story of God as it has unfolded in their lives through this particular situation, we will be given a little more on the “how”. Until then, may we grieve with those who grieve, all the while humbly walking in a compassion that drives us to action to bring about what is good, just and right.

    December 19, 2012
    • I like your shift in emphasis from “if” to “how” God was present in Connecticut. It is a mystery, as you say, but if we believe in anything like a God who is the “one in whom we live and move and have our being” (as opposed to a tribal deity who comes and goes), then we must say that there is nowhere that God is absent.

      Thank you for your good and encouraging words here.

      December 19, 2012
  17. Thanks for this insightful thought Ryan. I was troubled when I saw Huckabee’s video.

    And I actually don’t think this comment is an aside:

    “(As an aside, one is never quite sure if the deliverers of this message are more annoyed about God’s lack of public acknowledgment/influence or their own.)”

    Huckabee’s illogical view of life and faith and God is frustrating indeed. But I find his insensitivity even more so, which likely influences his illogical views. I’ve heard too many “I told you so” type responses to last week’s tragedy that trample on grief instead of offering comfort. Really people? Is that your first response when a family member makes a mistake and tragedy strikes? Self-righteous personal agendas masquerading as truth are frustrating, but when it comes to mourning, they are just plain wrong.

    December 19, 2012
    • Couldn’t agree more, Dave.

      Every time “something like this” happens (recognizing, of course, that horrors like these should not be neatly categorized into some kind of a class of events…), I find myself hoping… Maybe this will be the time that those who love to speak about why it happened or what God is trying to tell us or what sins provoked this or whatever will just keep their mouths closed. I keep thinking, maybe we’ve seen enough horrors and enough insensitive, self-righteous, arrogant, presumptuous chatter on behalf of God… Maybe we’ve learned something about how to walk with those who suffer… Maybe we’ve discovered that piling guilt upon grief is just insensitive and wrong… Maybe, from all our experiences in the past of confidently declaring what God is trying to say to us (us = Americans, usually) through [insert violent horror] we will FINALLY just shut our mouths about God’s presumed motives and weep with those who weep…

      I keep hoping… And then… Mike Huckabee… or James Dobson… Or someone else begins to confidently rehearse the same old pitiful, insensitive, self-righteous, and flat out erroneous nonsense about God and suffering.

      Sigh.

      December 19, 2012
      • That’s a lot of “maybe’s” you list – “sigh” indeed!

        December 19, 2012
  18. david #

    Though I agree with much of this article, when you read passages such as Mark 6 its hard to deny the idea that there is a direct correlation between people’s faith and acceptance of the Lord and His work among the people. Jesus never turned away saying “go to hell”; no He wept and suffered with, as well as for, the people. Yet its hard ignore the question throughout His message lovingly asking “do you believe?”

    December 20, 2012
    • I agree with what you say here, David. I am not denying anything like a “direct correlation between people’s faith and acceptance of the Lord and His work among the people.” I am denying a direct correlation between a nation’s perceived level of religiosity and specific instances of horrific evil. I am arguing that we should never presume to make these connections—especially, in the immediate context of grief.

      The book of Job seems to make this point (among others). Jesus also makes it in John 9:1-5. In both cases, rather than trying to pinpoint the origins of suffering, silence would have been a better option.

      December 20, 2012
      • Ben #

        You are explicitly denying a direct correlation between a nation’s level of religiosity and specific instances of horrific evil, yet a nation is made of individual people. If there is a “direct correlation between people’s faith and acceptance of the Lord and His work among the people” which most Christians presume, would it not stand to reason that a nation comprised of non-believers would wallow and suffer in the absence of God? Is it callous and insensitive to point this out…. or prophetic??

        December 20, 2012
      • Hmm, do we see this “wallowing and suffering” happening in places like Sweden? Denmark? Canada? Each of these countries is far further down the path of secularism than the USA. Come to think of it, why do so many African (or South/Central American) nations that are so full of Christians suffer so much?

        Prophetic? No, I don’t really think so.

        December 20, 2012
      • Ben #

        Clearly there are a multitude of factors in a country that create prosperity and whatever the inverse of ‘wallowing and suffering’ may be. However to argue that a society is better off being more secular, that it is somehow more enlightened because of secularism, strikes me as very odd in a Christian blog. What then is the exact goal of a Christian in the American context? A very small percentage of believers in a very large pool of non-believers? Is this not an excuse for a lack of evangelism, a rationalization of apathy?

        December 22, 2012
      • Yes, there are a “multitude of factors in a country that create prosperity and whatever the ‘inverse of wallowing and suffering’ may be.” Which is precisely why we should not draw straight lines between a nation’s perceived level of religiosity and specific instances of suffering.

        I am not arguing and have never argued that “a society is somehow more enlightened because of secularism” nor am I arguing against evangelism or anything like that. I am arguing for restraint and for silence when the temptation to “explain” suffering like Newtown strikes.

        December 22, 2012
  19. Kevin K #

    I echo the gratitude for your thoughts with many who have responded in kind above. I will add one of my own musings to the conversation…

    I often wonder, in the face of human suffering, if we are closer to the heart of God in asking the question “why?” then we are when we try to answer it.

    December 20, 2012
    • Thank you, Kevin.

      Re: the “why?” question, this certainly seems to be among the lessons we are to take from the book of Job, in my view. Job, not his three friends who “knew” why bad things happen to people, was alone said to have spoken truly about God.

      December 20, 2012
  20. R B #

    While the blog is good and on target, I don’t think that it correctly read Mike Huckabee’s response, at least not how I heard his message. The point for me is not superficial tokens of religiousity serving as talismans to protect a society, rather it is the cultural fabric of a society that moves away from perceptions of ‘truth’, ‘justice’, and ‘absolute right’. A ‘lowest common denominator’ society will produce more chaos, while upholding adherence to ‘goodness’ and ‘justice’ and ‘law’ will produce less chaos. This is behind Paul’s affirmations in Rom 13. In today’s US society, that means listening to Christian views on goodness, not because they are Christian, but because they are a significant voice on goodness. We can affirm each other’s identities, like when the Jewish spokesman says that they are not offended by hearing ‘Merry Christmas’es from people because they hear a wish for the well-being of a community, just as Christians can enjoy hearing ‘Happy Chanaka’ or any other expression for general well-being. Stripping such sentiment out of all public sectors has a deteriorating effect on the society.
    Last Friday I was at Disneyland when the massacre occurred. There was a Candlelight ‘First Christmas’ presentation as part of the regular December schedule that included a 500 voice choir and New Testament readings, even including a reference to Jesus’ later ministry and going to the cross, followed with a reading of Isaiah 9:5 [Heb] 9:6 [Eng] and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. I mention this because one of my first thoughts was ‘Is this legal? Can this happen in public in the USA?’ Of course, Disneyland is private, but the thought that raised in my head expresses something about where we have come as a society. Mike Huckabee was addressing that, and I’m grateful for that.

    December 20, 2012
    • Thanks for your comment, RB. I appreciate this more nuanced articulation. I did not get this sense as clearly from Huckabee as from your comment here. Perhaps those of us who watch the American scene from afar have just grown so accustomed to hearing people talk about how this or that calamity is the result of taking prayer out of schools, removing Ten Commandments displays, etc that we tend to interpret videos like Huckabee’s as just more of the same. Not an excuse for misrepresentation, of course. Again, my sense is that Huckabee did not make this nearly as clear as you have here, but I will have to revisit the video.

      I agree with virtually everything you say here. You have articulated the need for an objective moral grounding for our common life together very admirably. My sense is that many cultures in the post-Christian West are living off the “capital” of a long Christian history without acknowledging this. We are trying to move beyond the Christian narrative while hanging on to the moral ethos it delivered to us. It is highly ironic indeed.

      Having said that, I know that there are many examples throughout history of “Christian” cultures and nations around the world that have been the source of violence, oppression, racism, institutionalized greed, etc. From an Anabaptist perspective (I am a Mennonite), cultures and nations are not (and ought not to be) the carriers of the way of Christ. There is no such thing as a “Christian nation,” only disciples of Jesus and the church of Jesus Christ. Nations don’t return to Jesus, people do.

      Anyway, thanks again for your comment here. You’ve given me much to think about.

      December 20, 2012
  21. James V. Heene #

    During the Civil War , many soldiers wrote home and spoke of “Providence”.
    They spoke of the coming battle and their lives being in the hands of Providence.
    The word being capitalized in recognition of the connection of the works of God and the Being of God.Todays culture is different. The prevailing assumption is that we live in a closed , mechanistic universe, where events occur by impersonal forces or chance(just being in the wrong place at the wrong time) Religion has no relevant role . God has been shelved. The word providence was applied to understand the prescience of God. It is important to know that God not only excersizes prescience (foreknowledg) but provision in light of His foreknowledge.
    See Matt6: 25-34 Gods sustaining power is always moving toward the greater good. John Calvin said ” …..by providence, we must remember that God does not sit idly in heaven, watching but He is at the helm and over rules all events. …He not only oversees but ordains what He wills.” Contradiction or mystery ? Gods providential work and the real work of His creatures. R. C. Sproule addresses this conundrum in excelent fashion in his book “The Invisible Hand Of God” Gods “permissive” will permits to happen only that which accords with His “ultimate” will. Gods power and soveriegnty means He can sanction or stop our actions. He can only permit what accords with His ultimate Perfect will
    Thus we have at work here two forces Gods will and mans actions.The doctrine of Confluence is the understanding of the providence of God acted out in human agencies.
    God is Soveriegn and man is free but not autonomous. If God is Sovereign man cannot be free.
    This is rational. Autonomy means absolute freedom. only 1 person can be both and that 1 being is God . Every action humans perform is in accordance with Gods ultimate will
    This is mystery not contradiction. Sproule defines the difference in his book.
    The Doctrine of Concurrence tells us that the flow of mans actions and the flow of Gods will do , like two separate rivers coming together (concurrence or confluence) will move us into the desired ocean of Gods Ultimate Will.
    This has been a fact laden review but the response toward the nature of God , primarily from
    the religious, needs works such as R. C. Sproule .
    The above does not address the soul and spirit of those left as “survivors” of the horrific acts
    performed by mankind. That requires attention of the heart, the soul and will. It requires Gods love to bring awarenes of our plight , our total dependence on his grace and power.

    My God, my God
    Why have you forsaken me ?
    Why do you remain so distant?
    Why do you ignore my cries for help?
    Every day I cry out to you, my God, but you do noy answer
    Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief
    Yet You are Holy, the praises of Israel surround your throne
    Our ancestors trusted you and you rescued them
    you heard their cries for help and saved them
    they put their trust in you and were never disappointed
    Psalm 22

    December 20, 2012
    • Thanks for your comment, James.

      As a Mennonite, I am not quite so inclined to itemize and demarcate the boundaries and mechanisms of divine providence as Reformed folks are. I am content to say that God is sovereign, that human beings are free, and that somehow God moves his story forward, in part, through the choices of human agents. Anything less than this seems useless when it comes to making any sense whatsoever of human experience.

      December 20, 2012
  22. James V. Heene #

    When did Gods Word become” mechanistic”? The Word becomes mechanistic when we
    ” understand ” it with our minds only, unaware of the psycho-spiritual dimension of our being.
    I became a follower of Jesus, at 17 yrs old. The Pastor of the Baptist church pointed me toward Christ using The Word . Almost 20 years later I graduated from Bible College and
    pastored a Mennonite Brethren church . I have followed those years with attending, Seeker
    Oriented Churches, and currently enjoy sharing at a Pentecostal community. Now, before you start attaching the labels, ask if labelling is not a “mechanistic event? ” You have a choice of 3 or 4 perceptions of me from the information I submitted thus far. Does your label effect me? No. But it effects Us and Us includes God . Its the lack of “..itemization and demarcation” of the boundaries that was the catalyst for mechanization. The understanding of “boundaries” is exactly whats needed because its Truth that informs our LOVE
    All of Gods Words and Actions in HIS – tory is summed up in the Two Greatest Articles of Life . These Two New Commandments were given to the most Mechanized religious group ever, All was theirs had they only seen God as Father , had they seen the Fathers Love.
    The result of their failure to see God, beyond Judge, was that their opportunity to function as ministers of God to the nations around them about Gods Reality was lost Hence the church was given that honour but alas our outcome has proven too similar. Our attachment to tradition , comfort and discord,was a ripe environment for “mechanistic” religion . The end result of mechanistic religion is irrelavance I know because I wrestle with it every day.
    So before we offhandedly dismiss “sovereignty and freedom” as being of lesser significance it might be of help to review again the truth contained in the Word of God . Look again for the first time, as it were at who God is ? and who we are ?; with and without him. Let the truth of those questions draw , not only our minds but our soul and spirit and even our bodies for expressing , practically the response of our hearts.
    To the Fowllowers of Jesus comes the Ministry of Reconciliation 2Cor5:19 and Ministry
    of Comfort 2Cor1; 4,5 both of which involve our entire body , soul/psyche and spirit;

    December 21, 2012
    • I didn’t say God’s word was “mechanistic” nor did I “dismiss sovereignty and freedom as being of lesser significance” (I actually explicitly affirmed the importance of both). I also have no interest in “attacking labels,” whatever that might mean. To be honest, I find your comment here more than a little confusing. I’m not sure who you are arguing with or how it connects with the main post.

      I repeat: “I am content to say that God is sovereign, that human beings are free, and that somehow God moves his story forward, in part, through the choices of human agents.” I think I stand on solid biblical ground in these assertions.

      December 21, 2012
      • James V. Heene #

        Its not an argument Its a responce . The word was “attached” not attacked
        the survivors can use comforting presence but the wounds of the heart and soul require compassion and truth Jesus in John 9 : 1-5 thought He should break the silence and offer the truth. I think He thought that would help I hope you can accept the fact that everyone has a view
        Thanks
        James

        December 21, 2012
      • Re: “attacked” vs. “attached,” my apologies, James. I misread that.

        Of course, I have no problem with everyone having a view. I’m simply trying to understand what yours is.

        Thanks for your comments here.

        December 21, 2012
  23. i just saw the video to mike’s speech and i read this article…its funny cause mike was talking about how we have kicked God out, and u sayin we cant kick God out? well i agree, we cant kick him out literally, but we can sure kick out the idea of God, and that is what mike was trying to say. No God cant go anywhere, but prayers in schools can be kicked out, the word God isnt allowed in my past high school, my friend got kicked out for mentioning just one word…God. she didnt even say which God! so both of u have a point. but have u ever wondered, like mike said if we just follow Gods rule, though shall not kill, this would have never happened? well u cant deny that part. but since we kicked God out, we also kicked that rule out it seems with some of us. Ever hear this happening in christian schools much? no, y? cause the IDEA of God is there, but like mike and everyone has said before, we kicked God out of public schools a long time ago, and well…surprise surprise. O and also….. i believe that God does send people to hell that dont deserve heaven…where else would they go? i mean, God has the final word of where we go, does he not? its judgment day…so if he has the final word, and there is only two places we can go……..and only he decides where we go, and there is only one God…. but thank u for writing ur thoughts ryan, i appreciate it

    December 24, 2012
    • mike #

      Charlene,are those a couple of Lortabs in your mouth?

      December 26, 2012
  24. May I say I got moved by your words and I have to share. Thanks

    January 16, 2013

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