Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, sinners and sinners, this is our 200th published blog post! Yeah, the clever title ‘200’ was my idea.
I haven’t actually counted them, the blogging software does that for me, but I trust it is accurate. I’m sure the software also tells me what my total word count is but that sounds too technical so I’m going to guesstimate. Wait, let me find a calculator because this involves multiplying zeroes and they usually ruin my math . . . A quick calculation indicates I have written the equivalent of at least 4 or 5 full-length novels here. Even I am surprised by that.
Cheryl and I appreciate your interest in the blog more than you can know. She created and supports the web site, which is a surprising amount of work, and my job is simply to do the writing. We are grateful for those who have shared or recommended the blog – please continue to do that.
We are especially thankful for your encouragement and grace and we hope that will continue as the future unfolds. I have lots more ideas to share, more questions to engage, more idols to tip. Of course if there are topics you have particular interest in please let me know – I would be happy to write about subjects that are puzzling our brains or twisting our hearts.
Which brings me to the well worn story from Genesis 22 where Jacob wrestles through the night with a mysterious man (angel? Jesus?) who eventually disables Jacob long enough for them to talk. The man gives Jacob the new name Israel which means ‘to struggle with God’.
That idea of struggle is one of the themes of the Bible, tracking with individuals as well as with an entire nation who fulfill their name as strugglers. This story suggests that God is okay with, even encourages, wrestling with him. Our struggles mean that God matters deeply to us and they are invaluable for developing a rational faith.
It’s like building muscle (did I really say that?). When we exercise a muscle we actually break down the cells – traumatize them, causing associated, satellite cells to come running to join them, resulting in a larger area of strength. All emotional and spiritual growth in my life has resulted from some form of ‘breaking down’ and newness rushing in to add to my strength.
Some Christians don’t wrestle. Some have been taught that is a good thing to know what you believe and stand there. (That’s a form of control, by the way – just stay where you are and be be satisfied and good.) To live for years saying and doing and believing the same things is actually death by ignorance and stasis. Worse, it is a practice that pushes inquisitive, genuine seekers away from our poorly thought out beliefs.
One of my most hated phrases in evangelicalism is the well-intentioned but simple-minded, ‘God said it, I believe it, that settles it’ which is another way of saying ‘I’ve decided, I’m right, no more thinking’. This attitude assumes God is shallow, we are all-wise, and ignores a tree full of high-hanging fruit.
God isn’t as small as your current interpretation of him. Ever. That’s an idol. It’s probably why we have all kinds of craziness done in the name of God.
The Christian world is one of everlasting life: exploration and adventure, not arrival or closure. It wasn’t until I trusted God enough to question (and change) that I discovered God is an ocean – always deeper; always wider. That’s right, I had to believe that God was safe and that he engaged with my wrestling mind and exploring heart.
This blog is intended to give you space to wrestle and re-consider God stuff. Sometimes I’m accusatory, sometimes I have fun, sometimes I’m amazed, sometimes curious, sometimes pastoral, but always I want to open new windows for you to experience the God who is awesome.
My writing isn’t for everybody, I understand that. I don’t write for people whose faith stands still. I wish I could but it’s impossible.
I do write for me because I enjoy it, but mostly I write for you if you are interested. By interested I mean if you are open, curious, dissatisfied, disillusioned, wandering. I write for anyone who needs to wrestle or step outside the usual. Please pray for us to have wisdom and direction so that more strugglers would come into healthy contact with our site.
Anyway … if you’re reading this it means you didn’t get an invitation to the party. Oops, my fault. Sorry you can’t be here but we’re going to have quite an amazing time without you. We’ve rented a huge ballroom and the balloons and streamers are hung, extra chairs set out, lasers are ready and the band is warming up.
Oh, excuse me for a moment, the crowd is getting restless … I should grab the microphone and get the party started…
Is my microphone on? Tessting. Tessting. One, two, three. Hello?
COULD I PLEASE HAVE EVERYONE’S ATTENTION? Over here. Up here on the stage….
I want to thank each of you for being here today for this momentous occasion. Cheryl and I hope you have a good time with us celebrating our two hundredth blog post!
You can go ahead and applaud now …
Maybe a bit more applause than that …
Okay, thank you both of you for those claps. First some housekeeping:
The washrooms are outside the main door and down the hall on the left. They are unisex washrooms so some of you may be uncomfortable but remember sharing is a christian principle.
On the bright side, my mechanic ‘Wide Load Vern’ has promised not to eat the smoked eel and cabbage this time around so the washrooms should be more accessible. Also, Airblade hand dryers, so what’s not to like about that?
We ask you to approach the food table from the left near the suckling pig and move clockwise toward the bacon tree. Please take advantage of the various candy and all-day-breakfast stations around the room. And no you’re not dreaming, the assorted egg salad sandwiches have their own table!
If you want fresh air the patio doors lead to the main garden but please do not take any china or crystal outside because we don’t trust you that much.
Many of you have been asking where the gift table is – you will see it over my right shoulder beside the t-shirt cannon. There is a backup table for any overflow gifts, just in case you’re more generous than we think you are. Yes, gift cards are fine as long as they are from really cool stores and gifts of cash are encouraged. The security guard will approve and hold any of these type gifts.
Are there any questions before the party begins?
Pardon? Could you repeat that again, ma’am? No, the rest of us don’t want to sing grace…
Anyone else? You’re welcome and I love you too! …
What’s that? Oh come on now, you’re embarrassing me. I put my pants on one leg at a time just like you do – I just have to lean against the wall to do it.
Yes, I’m as surprised as you are to see Benny Hinn here.
No ma’am we’re not having a formal dance but feel free to express your joy in any way you . . . Wait, I didn’t mean like that . .
Yes sir, thank you for your advice, I’ll certainly consider using a pencil to help me write better…
Yes ma’am, I agree that it would take more than a pencil to help me write better. Thank you for noticing…
Okay, it’s time for karaoke. To all you people in the front, I will ask Cheryl to share the microphone a bit more.
General announcement: you can stay as late as you like but we’re going to bed at 9:30.
Now, where were we? Oh yes, I thought I would share some pictures of Tipping Idols Headquarters. Prepare to be impressed!
First, Cheryl’s desk is pictured below. It is located in the main office and is the nerve centre of the Tipping Idols empire. It is also the place where she pays our bills so we can continue to stay in our home.
Next is the chair where I think, write,
nap and create exceptional web content. Sometimes I just write without thinking at all. Occasionally I do those things from my desk but my chair is considerably more comfortable for napping creating.
Finally, I’m unveiling my recently completed recording studio where I am able to produce poor to better-than-poor quality audio content for the website as well as claustrophobia for myself.
Once again, Cheryl and I are grateful for your interest and support; please pass us on to anyone who might enjoy the site. We hope you will come back soon so we can get started on the next two hundred.
Oh man, I’ll be forever getting this confetti out of my hair…