The Eclectic

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson

Sympathy for Job’s servants

Posted by David Leslie on October 17, 2004

This week I started on a bible study with my Minster Steve called Gospel Transformations. Part of this is me trying to start healing the image that I have of God.

See, I’m a recovering fundamentalist. While I came to fundamentalism in my mid 20’s, it was more out of the double wrong reasons of
1. Wanting to avoid Hell
2. Get my Dad off my back about getting baptized.

To be honest, I was a really bad fundamentalist. I still talked with my old friends and didn’t try to get them to come to church. I not only respected other people’s faiths, sexual orientation and political views but I wasn’t interested in changing them. I still watched and read what my Dad called ‘junk’ and became even more neurotic and guilt ridden because I felt I wasn’t doing it (life, faith, love whatever) right. See there was an idea that my Dad had that one could “back side” shorthand for losing one’s faith. See Dad had a falling out with the church… Well let me back up a bit…

We as a family had gotten hooked up with the Crossroad’s movement in Gainesville Fla right when things were starting to take off in the mid 70’s. The Crossroad singers were cutting records (one was my music teacher in school) I had a prayer partner and Dad was all the time at the church. But when he got a new job with a Tower in NC, he was told to quit or risk all of our souls since there wasn’t another Church like Crossroads and without the church, we were sunk. We left. For 20 years he stayed away from the church as so did we as a family. Only his surgery for his corrodic artery the day after Christmas had him ask me if I knew of a church we could go. We went, he recommitted his life and we kept going but he also expressed guilt over both staying away and how he didn’t provide the upbringing in the church for my sister and myself. On one level he believed he was OK but I could always tell that he wondered if he was still in God’s good side.

Trying to be on God’s good side leads into the fact that I felt that I was a pretty bad Christian when I look back on it all. I hurt two people who loved me. I didn’t mean to but I still did. I hurt and disappointed people who cared about me at church. I had panic attacks and no amount of prayer or assurance that God was going to see me thru it all made me feel any better about the fact I felt like I was having a heart attack. I felt like I had no faith.

So that’s the point of this study. To look at things less with the I in them and more from God’s POV.

Yet that too bugs me for in the first lesson, I read quotes from the one book that I just don’t like in the Bible. Job. It’s a struggle for me to hold on one side that God is all knowing, loving, caring, just and good while at the same time see how he takes everything from Job, waits to see what he does then ‘restores’ him when he doesn’t curse God.

Now I get that every person place or thing in my life, good and bad God has there for a reason. What bugs me about Job is that God takes people away from him like his kids yet its all good in the end when God brings them back.. Right now when I look at John, I just don’t get that right now. While I would see John with God, I would still struggle.

Speaking of with God. I had a dream that members of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity were sitting in a circle. All wondering why the other faiths were there. God then appears in the middle and starts, “We have some explaining for you” I hope that is what Heaven will be like. Where we all come back as one after years apart.

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