“Why blame the dark for being dark? It is far more helpful to ask why the light isn’t as bright as it should be.”
— Rob Bell
I have been thinking about this for quite some time; this idea that God meets us all where we are. If I remember right, it was Andy Stanley who used the alphabet as an example. To paraphrase, if a person is on the letter “H”, God cannot meet them at “A”. If that person goes looking for God at “A”, this person will be disappointed, because God is waiting for them back at “H”. I love this idea very much, mainly because I began searching so late in my life. Some folks would say 46 is just the beginning, but there are many nights my back, knees, and ankles would loudly disagree with them. Also, though, because I’ve been coming at my search for God with a somewhat unconventional attitude. In order for me to find MY place in all of this — God’s “plan”, such as it is — I’ve got to be comfortable with everyone else’s place as well. This approach allows me to have open conversations about God with anyone who’d like talk about God, even if “God” isn’t the word they use to describe the subject of the conversation. Generally speaking, I have found that most people employ this manner of discourse. And I believe that is because we all want someone to listen, even if we are met with relatable opposition.
At this point, I’m not sure if I’ve quite caught up to God. I am confident, however, that God has been involved in the path I’m on for quite some time. Little moments prove this to me. Little moments that add up to one undeniable truth: None of this is an accident.
I was having a great conversation the other night with my friend Kristie. I met Kristie in a church group she was co-leading, and we had awesome talks from the get-go. This night we were catching up the way friends catch up, having not seen each other for several months. Inevitably, our discussion put the Bible on the table. Kristie and I do not always share the same points of view, but we respect each other’s parallel path. More often than not we’re left with a lot to chew on, which is — after all — the entire point of humans having mouths able to form words! This night Kristie laid a grenade in my lap.
During this exchange of thought, I had been referencing all sorts of things I had read on all sorts of different Bible related things. I thought I was killing it! Then Kristie said, “Have you read it? Beginning to end… have YOU read it?” The answer, not surprisingly perhaps, was “Not exactly. I…” — interruptions are sometimes necessary — “Joel, you can read all you want about the Bible, and you can learn all sorts of wonderful things from other peoples perspective, but if you do that before you actually read the Bible, you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to experience your own perspective.” I did not say a word, but inside my braid I heard “Holy Shit!” followed closely by a quite possibly audible KABOOM!
She was absolutely spot on about that, and in all of the searching I’d done up to that point it never once occurred to me that my OWN perspective might just be the only one God wanted me to investigate. Or at the very least the only one that could actually speak out with any sort of authority. So yeah… Kristie exploded my brain! But because of that, I’m a little less lost than I was before the explosion. And I would encourage all of you to consider what I am now committed to doing: READ the Bible.
I do not expect to find all of the answers. In fact, I will most likely have thousands more questions, but with them will come many more conversations, revelations, laughs, and explosions of awesome. This is where God is meeting me, and I’m okay with that. Now, what I end up discovering while reading the Bible may not always be jolly, but I’m okay with that too. At the end of the day, it isn’t going to do anything but help me be a better person. My wife and kids will certainly appreciate that.
I have also asked Kristie to write about some of her perspectives here at The Turning Gem. She’s got some wonderful stories to tell, although I’m sure some of them will be difficult for her to share. But here’s the thing… she trusts the path she’s on. She has deep deep faith in the road God has her on, and I truly believe she will be able to meet and help a lot of people along the way. She’ll be effective in a way I could never be, and I’m fairly certain she’d say the same about me. The reason for that is we both understand our paths lead to the same place… wherever that is, and whatever you want to call it, we’re both going to be there throwing grenades in each other’s laps.
This is how God works, I believe: By putting different viewpoints on the same horizon. THIS is how we as humans turn the gem! ANGELS IN THE ANGLES, folks! Can I get an AMEN?
**for those of you who prefer not to say “amen”, screaming “Freedom!” is also acceptable.