I believe in God, but I don’t want to talk about it and sometimes I don’t feel it – 2 short Trinity Int’l University lectures

I Believe In God… But I Don’t Want to Talk About It
Scott Samuelson

photo credit blue-ridge.org

Scott Samuelson: We’ve been part of a series this semester, on belief. And on Mondays we’re hearing how John describes belief as extravagant, as costly, as beautiful. And then, on a lot of our fridays we’re exploring the disconnect. „I believe this… but, I’m called to live this way sometimes… I’m tempted to live this way.” How do I erase the distance between what I believe and who I am? And so, today we’re gonna talk about what does it mean to say „I believe in God, but I don’t wanna talk about it?” If you’re at all like me, this will resonate with you, because I’ve been there, more recently than I’d like to admit. Maybe we should have called it: I believe in God, but please, please, please don’t make me talk about it.”

  1. Because sometimes it feels awkward and uncomfortable, and so I must not have the gift of evangelism.
  2. Sometimes, I recognize that I have a passion for justice for the poor and discipleship, but not the lost. So, I must not have the gift of evangelism.
  3. Sometimes, talking about faith seems judgmental, so I must not have the gift of evangelism.
  4. Sometimes, I’m afraid of rejection, so I must not have the gift of evangelism.
  5. I’m a private person, I’m an introvert, so I must not have the gift of evangelism.
  6. And sometimes, in our most honest moments, „I’m not sure I’ve got a lot to say,. I’m not sure I’ve seen the work of God in my life” so maybe I don’t have the gift of evangelism.

Those are great reasons. I’ve used every one of those, multiple times. But it doesn’t get us of the hook, because this is not just the work of evangelists. This is the work of Christians. Jesus says, „Go, make disciples of all people.” God calls every follower of Christ to live on display, in front of a watching world. And let me tell you, it is not a punishment. It is a grace. It is a privilege, it is awesome! It is wonderful to be part of the world’s rebirth. It is powerful to have a front row seat as the kingdom of God moves forward. It is incredible to see faith, as small as a mustard seed blossom in your life and take root in the life of someone else.

Jesus sent His disciples out two by two. He gave them nothing. He said, „Leave your money behind, leave your extra clothing behind. Just go and carry My Word.” And they came back with stories after stories of their experience of the power of God. Friends, God calls us to share the story. So, what does it look like to bear the Good News? What does God call us to do when we carry His Gospel?

VIDEOS by Trinity International University  Scott Samuelson talks to the TIU community about talking about their faith on March 28, 2014.

I Believe in God… But I Don’t Feel It  Brad Fruhauff

Brad Fruhauff: I’m gonna start with a little confession. I have mixed emotions about emotions about this topic. In Evangelical Christianity, it seems to me, we do in fact place a lot of importance on feelings. At best, I think this is actually the form of our faith, the thing that binds us in the absence of a form of liturgy. At worst, it disguises a form of real content or depth. At best, it’s justified by many biblical passages, in which God does seem to care about our emotions, like when He complains in Isaiah that „these people come near to me with their mouths, honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” At worst, it’s a superficial measure of God’s love and a tool, even, of emotional manipulation. Maybe this sounds familiar, not necessarily because it’s actually true, but because of the way we talk and think about ourselves.

So, I’ll ask myself, „How do I know if I’m right with God?” And I reflect: Well, I feel a certain elation and excitement when I sing with a bunch of people. I murmur „Yes, God” and Thank You, Lord” and things like that, with satisfaction, whenever the preacher says something I agree with. Of course, some people do the hand raising and the murmuring without feeling it, but those people don’t take their faith seriously. They’re like the Pharisees. We know all about them. It is even better to do none of these things and feel them privately, than to do them inauthentically.

And what if I don’t feel those feelings? Well, then we get this little tsk, tsk, tsk. Well, I must be doing something wrong. Here come Job’s friends to help me out: „Are you keeping up with your devotions? Do you attend church regularly? Are you spending time with God in prayer? Buck up. Kneel down. It will come to you. If it doesn’t, well…” Well, now we’ve discovered another feeling about faith. Right? It’s shame. I think we’re good at shame actually- feeling it and causing it. Although we don’t really call it feeling ashamed. We call it things like: struggling to feel God’s love for me.  Struggling to know God’s will for my life and we expect that we’ll feel better the next we get that injection of worship. Not walkways true, obviously. Hoepfully, not always true. Sometimes those are real struggles. Sometimes they’re the words we use to cover up the sense that we’re supposed to feel something, but we’re doing it wrong. And if that’s the case, I think that’s a problem.

It seems to me, despite the emphasis we place on emotion and faith, we lack a sophisticated and mature vocabulary for dealing with real emotions. It’s like we’re either shiny, happy Christians or we should feel bad that we’re doing something wrong. This is not just a contradiction; it’s something of a paradox… From the first 5 minutes, there are 26 min. remaining of this video.

Professor Brad Fruhauff talks about belief even when we don’t „feel” it on March 26, 2014 at Trinity International University Chapel.

 

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