36: Embrace the Grappling

In this episode John and Gregg investigate how (and how much) we see God as being involved in our lives, and how the perspectives on Christianity that we’ve been discussing / proposing differ from much of typical evangelical Christianity.

John mentions Wayne Jacobson’s The Jesus Lens, which walks through both the Old and New Testament.  John wonders what to make of the new explanations Wayne gives and the new perspectives and understandings that he and Gregg have been delving into. Gregg wonders if John is coming to an equilibrium between the Christian messages of his upbringing and this new content.

John notes that he almost feels that these new perspectives are “too good to be true,” in that this new sense of Christianity does not turn on angst, duty, and brute force.  John particularly values how these perspectives remove the excess mystery from being a Christian and relating with God, whereas his experience is that churches often use “mystery” to keep people from asking questions that they don’t want to have to try to answer.

Gregg notes that while “mystery” is necessary it has also been wrongly associated with our relationship with God. So he emphasizes the integration between life and biblical text–to live in relationship with both God and one’s world.  For Gregg this is not a mysterious relationship but an interrelation that is mutually empowering, reinforcing, and illuminating.

Gregg sees his interaction with John, during John’s spiritual journey, as a counterpart to testimony: people in relationship telling each other the things that we see in them (versus testimony, which is most accurately sharing accounts of one’s relationship / understanding about God with others).

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