Friday, July 19, 2002

latest news: A) i just returned from speaking at a week of junior camp at camp caleb in flat gap, kentucky and a week of teen camp at camp echeconnee in lizella, ga and i'm ready to hibernate, B) i finally have a four-track, so i'll begin demo work on new stuff and archiving old stuff shortly, which means there will be posted versions in the somewhat near future, C) a friend, heath mcnease, just released his first studio hip-hop album under the name "verbal essence"... it's indie and very good. i'll post purchasing info as soon as i get it.

jonap once made the comment that a lot of internal dialogue rolls around in my head; he compared it to the narration on "the wonder years." my attempts to sort through current issues and thoughts and determining what God is showing me in it all constitutes most of this dialogue... this is where i am now:

what is "saved"? we usually think of a dramatic conversion experience where a person prays and is dramatically altered by a touch from God. this does happen... to a degree, it happened to me... but this understanding of salvation is so mystical and emotional that it's hard to grasp and even harder to identify in someone's life. my definition of salvation is shifting a lot right now, and i believe it's becoming much more new testament friendly. jim fountain shared a thought with me when we were in high school that really caught me off guard - there is no biblical account of Jesus ever praying the "sinner's prayer" with anybody. in fact, the formula we take people through to "get saved", though it is pieced together from things Jesus and paul said, isn't reflected in the scriptures in any resemblance of its current form.

when Jesus challenged people and led them to God, what did he do? he challenged them to believe. what did abraham do that caused God to consider him righteous? he believed what God told him. what constituted believers in the new testament? those who heard the good news and believed. that looks pretty elemental now that i've typed it out, but its significantly separated from what we call "salvation" today. biblical salvation is simply taking God at his word. it's believing that God is real. it's believing that he is who the bible reveals him to be. it's trust that he'll fulfill his promises. it's turning from a mindset that doubts God and is critical of him to a state of the heart that believes him in accordance with what he has said and what he has done through creation, history, and the cross. this view of salvation may seem very elemental, but i think it's important that we de-mystify it. salvation is simply trusting Jesus.

secondly, kyle mcnease (heath's older brother) and i had a conversation on doubting verses faith the other day that is worth thinking about again. the mindset of our society is extremely relativistic. it's natural to want to grab any thought that comes your way and examine it from every possible angle in order to determine its validity. a problem arises when someone raised in a relativistic culture goes through this examination process: we tend to be VERY hesitant to discard a philosophy because we're afraid that for some person somewhere it may be true. we are convinced that reality changes to accomodate the person experiencing it. it is true that we do experience reality through our own filters of preconcepetions and experience, but that doesn't mean that the fabric of reality shifts because i see something differently than another does. we are looking at the same reality but different aspects of it affect us differently. however, we all strive to see it more clearly, to understand it in truth. many believe there is no "true" way to see reality... but those of us who have chosen to believe Jesus and the bible have, in chosing to believe, forfeited the convenience of harboring a relativistic world view. the Holy Spirit has provided scripture to help us see the fabric of reality more clearly. Jesus came so we can experience reality in truth. in chosing to believe Jesus, we have chosen to reject all others (which reminds me of the awesome husband & wife analogy that God loves so much). faith is a choice, and we need to live in an understanding of the existence of imperical truth.