I’m no good at small talk. Never have been. Which means sometimes I have big thoughts that aren’t quite ready to be born yet, and then I don’t know what to say while I wait for their birth. Writing is funny like that. Ideas don’t necessarily come on-demand. They simmer and swell, and I labor for awhile. But they won’t be born before they are ready.
So here we are.
Lately, I feel like I’m expanding. Not in the way that generally causes me to lament. My mind, my heart, my soul all are expanding. It’s a bit exciting, a bit unsettling…definitely disconcerting. Even though it’s a good thing, it’s not always easy to step away from truths which were more idol than Truth, you know?
Also, there’s some fear involved. Whenever we step outside of group standards, we’re sure to meet some push back. Generally for me push back feels like PUSH BACK in life-altering ways. So I take deep breaths and try to be open anyway.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about scripture lately. You know we’ve sort of been on the outs for awhile now. Even though I’m not ready to wrestle with it again just yet, it still has a hold on me. I suppose that is natural and normal. At least, I’m not fighting it. But lately, when I think about, I feel like I’m examining it from high above, like a map seen from the third-floor landing. When I look at the contours from a distance, I see that the story of God is also constantly expanding.
First a man in the desert.
Then a tribe of twelve sons…
a nomadic group of former slaves (and their Egyptian tagalongs)
who became a nation…
Then to all the nations, and all the people in the nations everywhere.
And the thing is, I don’t think God kept saying, Well, I guess it’s time to let those people in now. I kind of forgot about them.
No, that’s not the God of Love at all. But it is how humanity tends to look at itself. Inclusive. Superior. Us vs. Them. We’re the ones who want to be the most right, the most righteous.
But God is…scandalous. I think from His perspective everyone was always in. He favors orthopraxy and isn’t as strict with the orthodoxy, not like we are. It just took and is still taking, all the thousands of years of trying to understand God and be like him for us to expand our borders even just the tiniest bit. God keeps pushing out and we keep trying to reign Him back in. As though He can be thwarted.
He’s an expansive God, and when we lean in, really lean in, He’s going to stretch us far beyond anythings we ever imagined.
It will be wild and exciting and frightening and it may even hurt a little bit.
But He says, Do not be afraid.
I will try.