Monday, July 21, 2008
The God who Smokes
Sandalous Metitations on Faith
by Timothy J. Stoner
I picked up this book at Wellspring (local Christian bookstore where I worked for 3 years) today. I had asked a friend that I ran into to recommend a book. I told him I was disgruntled with church and needed something to challenge my faith but not something that was so theological that I would get bored and not read it. He handed me this book (along with a couple others). I came home. Did the mom thing for the evening (dinner, playtime, bed routine) and then filled the tub with hot water (I should have added bubble bath-what was I thinking?). I live for hot, relaxing baths with a new book. It is MY time. I cracked it open not knowing what to expect and was smacked in the face with something I have forgotten about being a Christ follower.
I grew up in a Christian home. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 5. Went to a Christian school for most of my elementary years. Became somewhat rebellious in my jr. and sr. high years but was still very involved with my church and youth group. Went on missions trips to Mexico 6 years in a row (4 times in high school, once as a chaperone, once with a young adult group). I knew all the answers to the questions. Knew how to speak "Christianese". Found my true faith again after all my friends went off to college and I stayed here. I think I have taken for granted my up bringing. My surroundings. My network of people that all believe what I do. When you take something for granted, you become complacent. You stop challenging yourself. You stop growing. Sure, I have had some pretty incredible revelations over the years. Some intense life altering interactions with the One Living God but for the most part (especially recently)my every day life has been one of a dull faith.
After reading only the first chapter of this book, I have been challenged to give everything up for Him. To any Christian that reads this you will probably think to yourself, "Well, duh, Manda, that is what Christianity is all about." And I know that in my head. Do I do it from my heart? No. Did I need to be reminded? YES! A resounding YES! Sometimes all it takes is a reminder to get out of the pit and start living the way you should be. Here is a blessing that is written at the end of the chapter that challenged me to step up and to live the life that I have been given!
"May the Lord of the outcast, the King of Fools, the great shepherd of our souls, come and place a kiss of peace on your cheek. May He say to you, 'You are mine and I am yours.' May He give you the embrace of the Father that will heal a thousand wounds and speak a thousand hopes into life. As He takes the dry ashes of misspent passion and gives you in its place a garland of praise, may you rejoice. No, may you shout with a bold, confident joy at the dizzying delight that you have been chosen, of being welcomed in by your true Father and invited to sit with Him at the banquet table reserved for His friends. But, as you celebrate your delightful privilege, may you never forget that the one who called you His own is friend but also sovereign King-that He who gave everything up for you calls you to give everything up for Him." -Timothy J. Stoner The God who Smokes