4. theory vs practice
For the most part, my faith has been long on theory but short on practice. Take God’s love, for example. In theory I know that God loves me. The Bible is full of references to that effect and I believe it…in theory, in my head. But as for experiencing God’s love, feeling God’s love I come up short.
I was talking with Willie and Rocky about this last night, how on the one hand I know that God loves me but when it comes to feeling the love of God, experiencing this love in my life, it isn’t there. See here’s the thing. All through my 20’s I tried to do all the things that my pastors, my disciplers, my Bible study leaders told me were the right things to do. I lived my life as if it were an equation where right action equaled blessings and a fulfilled life. But that’s not how God works. God’s grace is without merrit. There’s nothing I can do to earn any kind of blessing or favor from God. There is no equals sign in that equation.
I wish I had learned this earlier. So I could live a more promiscuous life? No, so I wouldn’t live my life waiting for the sum of my good works to equal a charmed life, so I wouldn’t live with the thought that I wasn’t good enough, that God wanted more of me than I knew how to give.
So what now? Where do I go from here? All those years under the weight of that formula has left me spiritually dead. Maybe an example would help here. Back when I was at UH, before I declared my major, I was thinking that I was going to be an English major so I took a bunch of 200 level English classes thinking that once I declared my major that I’d be way ahead of the game. Turns out that English is one of the few majors at UH where the only classes that count are 300 and above so all thoses 200 level classes were only counted as electives. I was basically starting my English degree from scratch and all those classes were just a waste of time.
That’s how I feel about my Christianity for the past ten years – I thought I was going somewhere but it turns out that I was just spinning my wheels. Only thing is, whereas my English advisor informed me of my error, all my Christian “advisors” told me I was on the right track. And here’s the worst part – the part I really can’t figure out. How could God let this happen? How could he let those who were supposed to help me decieve me instead? How am I supposed to experience God’s love through that kind of mis-management?
I wish I could say that this new perspective was a revelation, an epiphany that launched me into a new, vibrant relationship with God but it hasn’t. I can’t reconcile the thought of a loving God with all of the bad advice that came from those entrusted with teaching me about him. How does that illustrate a good and loving God?
I’m tired of this theoretical knowledge of God’s love. I don’t need an explanation for all those wasted years, but I need to be fueled, filled with the Spirit of God. But I don’t know how to get from here to there.
Writing has always been the way that God has spoken to me. And so I write. I begin with this rant and I will continue to write and I will wait for the divine to peek through these lines.