Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sacred vs Secular?

I'm still reading Your God is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan. (It really has too much to say to read fast, though I desparately want to...) One of the last chapters I read really resonated with me - it had to do with invoking God's presence, the sacred vs the secular. Here are a few of the thoughts that really reaffirm how I feel:

"...Theology was once queen of the sciences. It ruled over and gathered into it all disciplines...But we live in the ruins of such a world. A wedge has been driven between the things of God and the things of man, between the sacred and the secular, church and society, faith and physics, the invisible and the visible....Nietzsche was wrong, we haven't killed God; we've just domesticated Him....Our day-to-day life is over here, and God is over there.

...When we remove the false distinction between sacred and secular, see all things existing by Him, for Him, and through Him, we are then free to redeem many so-called secular activities for the kingdom of God.

...Why shouldn't Shakespeare's plays and courses in philosophy and long midnight chats enrich rather than diminish our life before God? God owns these things, too, and can bend them to His purpose. His light shines on them too.

...Why can't we gather our whole lives into the divine embrace?

...If Sunday for one hour is the only time we worship, no wonder we do it sloppily, haltingly, hastily, and leave as hungry as we came. If we only ate one day a week, and on that day only one meal, we would die soon enough.

....rarely if ever do we ask the Spirit to reveal to us more of God when we study a leaf, rock, bird, child, painting, carving, or poem.

..."Our life," the duke says in Shakespeare's As You Like It, "finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." This in not animism, not pantheism. This, rather, is the recognition, a biblically shaped and grounded recognition, that God's ways of speaking, His methods of disclosure, are wide and varied. As such, we need to walk open eyed and with ears pricked.

Expectancy is the belief that God will do something. Expectation insists He do it in just this way. Sometimes expectation blinds us more to the God who is here right now than outright disbelief does. The Pharisees couldn't see Jesus for looking...but imagine a life buoyed by expectancy, by the conviction that the Lord will show Himself. How, where, when - we don't know that. We don't dictate the terms.

"Earth is crammed with heaven
and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit around it and
pluck blackberries."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

We are talking here about a tectonic shift in the way we see the world."


Christine said...

Thank you.

Mike Clawson said...

Amen! Great thoughts...

These things seem so obvious to me now, but it saddens me to know that such ideas are still so controversial among evangelicals. I remember that when I suggested to my former pastor that "sacred vs. secular" was a false dichtomoy he just didn't get it and rejected the idea outright. I guess it was too dangerous to him to consider that God could speak to us in ways that are outside the bounds of what we call "Christian".

gerbmom said...

You're welcome, tho I'm not sure why you're thanking me.....

gerbmom said...

Yeah, I just don't get why this has to be such a controversial thing - to me it also seems obvious - and very natural. Much more holistic. Why do we limit God?

anne said...

Karen, this sentence jumped out at me: "....rarely if ever do we ask the Spirit to reveal to us more of God when we study a leaf, rock, bird, child, painting, carving, or poem." I think being an artist was God's way of wooing me into his life. In all the years I stayed away from churches and Christ, I still saw God in such ordinary things - and seeing him there eroded the rock of my nonbelief until I had to follow the river that led me to his door. Thanks for sharing some of that book. I'll have to see if I've wishlisted it yet. :)

Christine said...

I thanked you because what you wrote helped me in too many ways for me to go into.

gerbmom said...

Wow! The way God works is so cool!