Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Plain Sight

I started watching In Plain Sight because in the commercials the main character reminded me of a woman in my church. At first it was just a blond version of my friend, but then the mannerisms added to the likeness. Mary, the main character is a US Marshall who looks out after people in the witness protection program for the government. In a recent episode a bridge collapsed and the designer was wrongly accused of design default when it was actually the builder who covertly changed the plans and weakened the bridge, resulting in the collapse of the bridge and loss of life. The Bridge designer obsessed over the failed bridge and studied it from every possible angel each time confirming his personal innocence. The climax of the show was the designer holding the builder at gun point insisting he admit to his modifications of the original plan. After his confession was recorded on tape the designer still wanted to blow up the bridge he was standing on. It was the first bridge he ever built and all his other 26 bridges were patterned after the original. Mary tried to convince him he need not die but he goes on to record that in his research he discovered that although the builder had cheated on some parts to make an extra million, that in itself did not cause the bridge to fail. His research revealed flaws in his original design that was carried on to all the other bridges. Had the builder not substituted inferior parts, it would have fallen in time anyway, thus the first bridge must be destroyed...along with himself. I told Mary to tell him he could not kill himself with his bridge because he was the only one who really knew what was wrong with and how to fix the other bridges. Evidently Mary did not hear me because she didn't tell him and he went down with the bridge. I was reminded of this tonight as I was studying the writings of William Law. For the past year I have been trying to figure out where Christianity and the Church has gone wrong. I say wrong, because after 40 years in ministry, I am not seeing the kind of Christian life style that the Bible predicts or expects. The deeper I get into the my study, the more I feel like that bridge designer. I find that I, and most everyone I know has some fundamentally unsound assumptions as a base. Here is one example: For years I have said the Bible is a book about forgiveness, which is true totally. It has been a foundation of my belief and preaching. Unfortunately I have used it as the Cornerstone for everything else when it is NOT the cornerstone, true as it is. The flaw for making this the cornerstone is this: Iif I see my salvation as fundamentally forgiveness by God for all my sin, it does not prevent me from sinning. I am the same person I was before, only God, for reasons of his own, let it slide. I have NO POWER to stop offending. Here is something you knew but maybe didn't know: A better corner stone is Salvation is NEW LIFE that comes complete with forgiveness and the absolute power to stop offending. We talk about being born again, but we never really think of what that means. I feel like the bridge designer right now. I am seeing after 40 years some flaws in the foundations of my thinking and understanding. I think I will take my own advice. Instead of blowing up the bridge, I am going to continue to inspect and and correct any weak points or structural flaws. I may not have gotten it all in balance but I do have 40 years of experience to help the next generation build better, stronger bridges to the kingdom. For those who may be worried, the problem is not with heresy, at least no more than I am ususally accused of, but with balance and what is the most basic to growth in our walk with God. The pieces are mostly there, we just need to restructure the foundation and in some instances truly understand what we think we know. The Shack study Guide

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