"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Fuel – My 1st Lesson

Posted in Day-To-Day, Theological by matt on Friday, August 28, 2009

Wednesday is officially the new Friday.

A group of us meet midweek to slow down together and study the Good Book. I value this time and these people; the discussion and prayer is some sweet, clean air for my groggy lungs.  The regulars include an Australian, a Chinese refugee, a couple Brits, a Swiss girl, Americans from all over, a few Thais, an Indian, a sweet-singing Singaporean, a Filipino, and a Canadian sk8r, but there are a lot of others who pop in and out.

Bangkok’s a transient place, and Fuel (what we call our midweek meeting) sometimes feels a little like an airport. Transience has it’s ups and downs, though. On the one hand we’re constantly meeting new, uniquely-gifted people, and on the other hand we’re constantly saying goodbye to them.

Anyway, I’ve been back and leading this little meeting for over two months now, and, since it’s become such an important part of my life here in Bangkok, I thought I’d write a few posts filling you in on some things I’ve been learning and thinking about. So here goes:

Lesson #1: God’s word is relevant and necessary. In fact, it’s revolutionary. Living every week for 22 years in a Bible-saturated environment has its disadvantages that I’ve only recently begun to see. I sat under excellent Bible study teachers, preachers, and mentors, but I became dependent on them for truth. It’s like knowing everything about fish except how to actually catch them. They encouraged me to go fish on my own, sure, but why should I when they’d just do it for me? So, apart from books and the internet, this is the first time I’ve ever been entirely alone in my studies. It’s forced me to mature and to take more responsibility my own faith.

There are a lot of people my age (and in my church) who consider the Scripture, at best, as being mostly obsolete. It’s a good thing to reference from time-to-time, but it’s usually going to either offend or confuse outsiders and, thus, inevitably get in the way of ministering to/loving people.

**takes a deep breath for a rant**

That’s idiotic, and the only thing it communicates is their ignorance and, possibly, their laziness. Just because people have had bad church experiences in the past doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with God’s word and they should toss it out, and just because they never learned how to read and apply it correctly doesn’t mean it can’t be read and applied correctly.

My generation (thanks mostly to globalization) is practically obsessed with all things ‘overseas’. Just go read your facebook mini-feed for a few minutes and you’ll see what I mean. People are quickly becoming more and more international and they’re more willing than ever to live in/adapt to a culture different from their own; they’ll learn other languages, customs, religions, etc. – but what about the Bible? How is that different? Multi-lingual, culturally unique with its own history (not to mention weird), it’s full of strange stuff we have to explore and adapt to in order to understand. We can’t call ourselves a flexible, 3rd culture generation (a hot ‘buzz word’ among many of the missionaries in my church) when we’re not even willing to explore the cultural challenges of our own sacred literature.

That’s it for now. If I keep going this’ll just get convoluted and onerous, so I’ll save all that for later. Much love to you all! Find new ways to enjoy the scriptures today!

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2 Responses

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  1. Mom said, on Friday, August 28, 2009 at 8:40 am

    It’s hard to believe that the God of the Universe, creator of all things would want a personal relationship with me. That He wants me to know him…. amazing. And yet, He has given us His scripture to do just that. To be a Christian and never study scripture is like being married but living in different countries. You know OF them, love them but how can you ever get to really KNOW them. Praise be to God in his infinite mercies that He has made a way to draw near to Him through the study of His Word. Thanks for the encouragement to keep on diving, delving, digging deeper to know Him better.

    • matt said, on Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 8:40 pm

      And thank you for posting such a great response! I particularly liked the analogy.


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