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Apologetics: you’re doing it wrong


Doctrinal statements annoy me.

In focusing on beliefs, we divide the church. We make it less accessible to outsiders. We make it look like it’s impossible to be a Christian if you don’t believe in, say, the Trinity. Or, yes, I’m willing to go as far as the Resurrection.

Beliefs don’t come first. Love does.

And it’s our own focus on what we believe, the stuff we teach, that leads to that.

I’m embedding a song by Benjamin Jameson Morey which embodies all that from the atheist side:

THIS is the reason why we must spread the word. Not because we want everyone to  agree with us, not because we want to get people to say they accept those matters as true.

And while I do believe most people will agree with that, I also believe that we sometimes try to convince people more than we try to love them and share their burden.

1 Corinthians 1:25  “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Praying at all times?

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Image by davedhetre reused under CC license

The story of Jesus calming the storm can be read on many levels: at the most basic, it is a display of Jesus’s authority over the storm. On a different level, we can draw parallels with prayer. Looking closer, we notice that Jesus rebukes his disciples when they wake him.

Puzzlement follows. Why should he rebuke his disciples when all they do is give over the matters to him? When they place their trust in him?

There are two elements:

  1. They turn to Jesus when they are most afraid. Only as a last resort, almost reluctantly.
  2. They actually are afraid. This is where we must keep in mind that it is Jesus who suggested the trip.

Praying at all times is important. It is a privilege, and the way to know the peace that comes from God. This should be done in thanksgiving, and in complete confidence that God will see us through.

But in this story, the disciples had to wake up Jesus, because they feared – feared that the plan he had set would not come through. In doing so, they did not recognise that Jesus had authority over all.

When the going gets tough, we sometimes feel like we must pray – “pray until something happens”. Should we do so, or should we simply trust God has heard our prayers?

Still, there is another lesson to be drawn from this story. Jesus woke up. Even when we wake up God for no serious reason, he calms us and the storm.