2. When you were reading about the nature of the God we worship, which aspect of his character most draws you to worship? Which aspect of God’s character have you always found the most fascinating? Which aspect of God’s character do you believe their needs to be a fresh “retelling” of in our generation?
The aspect of God’s character that most draws me to worship is God as King. I have been captured by the concept & real-life implications of “the Kingdom of God” for some years now & it hasn’t gotten old. I think I feel this way for a couple reasons.
It makes sense of my world. I was having a conversation with my dad, who is not a Christian, 2 months ago about God. He always says that “God must have a sick sense of humor, because of how f*cked the world is”. After years of hearing this & quietly thinking “you don’t know the God that I know”, I said to him 2 months ago “Dad, you’re hearing a funny version of The Story… what if God isn’t in control of the world we live in.. what if it’s infected by a cancer that infects all aspects (think physical cancer to addiction to corporate greed to the fire in the belly of a young man that might lead him down a broken path, etc).. that the world is inherently good, but it’s f*cked up?” “& what if God himself has let this occur because it’s the unfortunate, yet obvious, result of giving your kids free will”.. “& what if God is in the business now of restoring all of humanity back to the way things were meant to be, where there is no pain, addiction, cancer, greed.. and if we let Him, he’s using you & I to do this bit by bit”.
Now my dad is someone who I constantly see ‘do the right thing’ these days (this wasn’t always the case.. he admittedly was pretty self-absorbed through his 20s & 30s). I think he was able to see a glimpse of a more Biblical story that day.. that Christians don’t mindlessly believe in some story that doesn’t make sense. I bring this up, because this story I told him is the story of the Kingdom of God. It’s actually the “gospel”, at least according to John the Baptist & Jesus.
The other big piece of why this draws me to worship is because it’s more than a concept to me. The whole idea of God putting things to rights, including reconciliation between two people or two races, physical healing, slowly changing a person’s life all comes from God being the King. That where He reigns, life blooms. I see it happening all around me and even in me (even though it sometimes takes looking at spans of years to see it clearly). There’s hope to me in that. And worship, to me, is my expression of surrender to the King and the call of His Kingdom.
In terms of character aspects of God that I’ve always found interesting… definitely the Trinity. I find the theology of the Trinity to make so much sense of human relationships & community, yet the theological concepts are so dissident that it almost feels made up. I really appreciated Dan quoting some early theologians & leaders on how we got to the theology of the Trinity. It truly is an analog, dissident concept of 3-in-1, yet I think every human being knows it’s true in their bones.
In terms of which aspect I think needs to be retold in our time & culture, I’d say all of them.. equally. They each challenge cultural stereotypes of who God is and as a whole present a full, complex (in a deep way) person.
3. The suffering and resurrection of Jesus are the most powerful hinge points for worship we have in the Scriptures. How does what you read make you think differently about why Christ came, what his resurrection is all about, or what our eternal destiny is? These big theological ideas, the cross, resurrection, heaven, earth, the Kingdom and the New Creation have been important themes for Christians related to worship for millennia. What areas “caught you by surprise” as you read? Was there anything you found yourself joyfully agreeing with, or strongly disagreeing with? Why?
I love how Dan talked about the cross being a ‘vicarious act’. For whatever reason, it bugs me when I hear people talk the drama of the cross framing it as Jesus really did something great for you (in terms of physical pain), so that’s why we should be grateful to him. Don’t hear me wrong… I get that Jesus suffered physically.. but I think the real significance of the cross is deeper than all that. The idea that Jesus as the ‘New Adam’ demonstrates the better way of life (suffering for his enemies) by dying a horrible death by the hands of the very creations that he created is so much more true to the point of the cross (at least in my mind).
I find the concept of ‘New Creation’ challenging the popular views of heaven & the afterlife to be incredibly fascinating and life giving. When I first started reading about that years ago it just felt revolutionary and so different from what the popular Christian culture (heck, even the popular non-Christian culture) believes. But, it makes sense of the story of God and it makes sense of the personal story I’m living. It means that everything I do here on earth in the mundane has significant value because life goes on in the future, with actual time and relationships and work. So what we do now really does matter.
Over & out.