[The email below is from a conversation between me and my friend Jenny. If you’re just joining in, it might make more sense if you go back to the beginning and read them in order (they are all linked together). Click HERE to read Jenny’s first email.]
Subject: Re: I have a few questions
Date: Fri, Mar 7, 2008 at 10:13 PM
I printed off your responses (not answers) and have been reading them over and writing all over the edges. Not sure that my email will very easy to understand–bits and pieces here and there and a lot more questions. I will do my best to make sense. You wrote at a level I could understand and gave me some great things to think about. I don’t know that I am able to summarize yet, but maybe in some parts. I will try and tell you what I think at this point and maybe you could point out other things I need to consider or where I might be just plain wrong. It was comforting to hear that my questions are ones that many faithful people struggle with. Although I know it is good to question, sometimes it makes me wonder how strong my faith is when I seem to know so little!
You said —God’s kingdom is already here.
As in he is with us, engaged in our lives, but we are blind to some of the ways he is touching our lives? And when you say God is active in this world right now, does that mean he doesn’t just sit back and watch–he is stepping in.
I have heard before that the Word is Jesus. How did people come to that conclusion?
Was that saying that the first people God invited–Noah’s time–didn’t deserve to come and so he flooded the earth. Then he invited all people, good and bad, but the man not wearing wedding clothes–was he not believing that Jesus is the son of God, or repentant for his sinful ways?
All are invited but few are chosen—does that mean God choose us or is it that we need to choose him?
I did look in the back of my bible and saw that hell was mentioned several times. Does it say that if we do not choose to believe we will go to hell? What you wrote seems to make sense to me or does not really raise many more question. I like your metaphor at the end likening God’s desire to return home to our parents’. I feel like when trying to understand God’s position, I often try to look at it from a parent/child point of view.
However, the only question I have from this part is what about those wonderful people who were raised in a Jewish (or any other) home. It is much less difficult for me to accept Jesus as our savior.
Why was I so lucky to be born into a Christian home? A place where I am not at risk of being killed for my beliefs? Chance and luck? Will God go easy on those who did not have an easy of a decision as I did/do?
Okay, the prayer and how I view God.
When I read The Purpose Driven Life it seemed to be saying that God planned out every detail of my life, he knew I would be emailing you right now. That is a little tough for me to swallow. I believe in free will and it does make sense that free will and God having a firm plan does not jive. I think that God made us, and has the intent for us to have a good life and maybe even a rough outline-or what he thinks is unique about us that will guide our path a little differently than our neighbors’. However, as you said, we live in a fallen world, bad things happen. I do not (or do not want to) believe that God plans bad things. I don’t want to believe that God makes children sick or has a father die to test someone. I like to think that our fallen world is responsible for the tragedy and that although God will not reach down and stop it from happening it to us, he will help us cope and maybe even find something good that comes from it (although it may be small in comparison to what we have lost). What about Job? I have not read the book, but isn’t it supposed to be about God testing him? Or is that taken the wrong way-was the fallen world throwing all that his way and his faith got him through it all?
A side thought to God does not reach in and stop bad things from happening–why should I not be fearful when I am flying? That whole thing about–it is not your time to die–does he sometimes take us when our purpose is fulfilled if our fallen world has not brought us to our death? I guess really it seems to me that he does not take us back to him–it just happens–our bodies fail, and accident, violence. I am not making sense any more. I will stop here.
I copied Sarah on this email. I talked to her while I was typing and I had come to her with my questions first and she encouraged me to ask you about them. I am assuming that you wouldn’t mind my looping her in!
Thanks again for taking the time to read and respond! I feel like a kid in a candy store being able to tap into all your knowledge!
ps-did you actually talk to any of those girls at Panera?
[Click HERE to read my response to this email.]