avoiding functioning deism

I ran across a fascinating post this morning (When God Shows Up: What’s A Douting Functional Deist To Do?; HT: Scot McKnight) on how we, over concern of embracing pop theologies which tend toward self-centeredness, etc., can end up embracing a “hermeneutic of doubt.” Well worth the read.

It got me to thinking about my own life. I would hope that I am more and more growing in my faith, so that I’m developing the faith of a little child. That seems to be a part of the adult maturity we’re called to as followers of Jesus, the one who while on earth implicitly trusted in his Father. But in my case, I’m a skeptic by nature, and one given to doubt and to ask more questions. So that there’s a crunch which occurs when God is “showing up to me” which for me is commonly through the narrative of scripture. I don’t look for miracles in my life, though I believe for example, that God does heal in answer to prayer. I’ve experienced that myself.

But I don’t want to see God as merely a go-to-God to fix my problems. God is about much more than that. In the end everything is taken care of, and actually throughout, though perhaps in ways we would not imagine or choose. The point here is that we can’t hold God in a box, as if God is going to do either this or that. But we can hold God to his promises in scripture in and through Jesus. God is faithful and true, and will answer. Although again, his answer at times can be “no,” or “wait,” or be more concerned about something much bigger than what we asked for. Though nothing is too small for the Father’s care.

And so I’m thinking and praying. Could it be that how I see the Father’s care for us, for my family and myself correlates to my care for others? Am I concerned about not only the big picture, but small details in it which may seem trivial at times, and yet are important in their place?

The panacea for avoiding common errors and pitfalls is to seek to follow the Lord through being in God’s written word, scripture, and in prayer. And of course remaining steadfast in the fellowship of the church, working through the highs and lows and what is in between in that. Not a bad place to start might be our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). After which we could find a one year Bible reading program as well as slowly work through at least the New Testament and Psalms and Proverbs– which is what I’m doing. Right now along with that I read two chapters a day from both the Old and New Testament along with five psalms per day lining up with the day of the month (30 days, 150 psalms). And I listen now and then to Max McLean read scripture on Bible Gateway (the app for that is nice).

A good place to start is to both pray the words (Luke 11) and learn how to pray in this way, the prayer the Lord taught us (found in the Sermon on the Mount):

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one,
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13


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