In Praise of Relevance and Resilience
Four touch-points for you today: the relevance of God, the resilience he inspires in us, God as the Lord of language, and what’s on my reading list.
The Relevance of God
Last night I spent some time with a small group that worked through The Great Lie together. It was wonderful to hear from people “on the ground” about how the book has brought certain experiences to the surface for them. One of the themes in our discussion was how great challenges and tragedies in life can often be opportunities to experience God’s presence in ways we couldn’t imagine. As the people around the table shared their stories—of grief, of transcendent beauty, of overwhelming peace—I was struck by how relevant God is to our daily lives, to the real, tangible problems and particulars we face. He’s always there, always listening, always offering us his words of truth and encouragement in Scripture. Our God is ALWAYS relevant. But sometimes we get sidetracked by staring at the things in our lives rather than through them to the God who’s always giving. We need to work in the Spirit at seeing God everywhere, since that’s where he is.
Sometimes we get sidetracked by staring at the things in our lives rather than through them to the God who’s always giving.
In the article I wrote for Westminster Magazine, “The Relevance of God,” I put it this way:
Our task, if we’re true believers, is to beg the Spirit to have the speech of God permeate our thoughts, flavor our words, and temper our actions. On the whole, that can be intimidating. But the God who speaks is also the God who persuades. He’ll work with anything. And it starts with one small decision at a time: one act of listening, one act of Christlike service, one sacrifice of the ego, one bold stand on a biblical issue. One decision can show the relevance of our faith, even amidst the thousands of decisions where we fail.
Praise God for his relevance! Let us beg earnestly that we would see his relevance in the smallest moments of the day.
Poetry in Praise of Resilience
Borrowed Images has been out for a few weeks now. One of my favorite poems is a reflection on Job, who is a portrait of God-infused resilience. But whenever I see grass, especially cut fresh in the summer time, I think of Job. That led to the poem below.
The fields have enough hair now
for the hands of the wind,
thick as feathers
on the black back of a crow,
covering the nakedness of the earth.
they cut rise.
Some secret in the dirt
begs the sun and rain for grace.
Granted. Revoked. Granted.
Job is every blade of grass.
God and Language
People who know me are well aware that I have a passion for the mysterious relationship between God and language. I wrote several academic articles for Westminster Theological Journal on this topic. They’re now collected in a volume, with a foreword by Vern S. Poythress. If you have intellectual interests here or know someone who does, this book would be a fun exploration of God as the Lord of language.
What I’m Reading
Lastly, I’ve been a bit quieter on social media these days because I’m doing so much reading! Here’s my current book stack. (It seems to grow each week.) I’m working through Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age right now, and it’s been wonderfully helpful in understanding where our Western culture is, how it got here, and how we might be able to serve as ambassadors for Christ in a strange new world. This is after pounding through Chris Watkin’s Biblical Critical Theory (brilliant!), and two books from Dan Strange: Plugged In and Making Faith Magnetic.
I’m about to start writing my next book, the first on apologetics for me. The tentative title: Outsider-Insider: How God Makes Insiders from Outsiders and Why It Matters for Apologetics. Can’t wait to start drafting it in my notebook! (I write all my books by hand now.) Prayers are greatly appreciated!