Friday, August 27, 2010

practical atheist week 1

So here's the deal. Your computer is depressed, it's slow, it;s sad, and frankly it's depressed. You've tried to install patches, a new OS, and even some new security features. But it still just won't work right. So you go to some online forums to get some advice, but nobody really gives you anything new. Finally, after coming to the conclusion that you can't fix it yourself you make a cell-phone call to service. They tell you to go to a chatroom and they walk you through a bunch of stuff that doesn't work either. Then the worst thing happens, you get a virus and it just messes with everything. You don't know what you did wrong to download the virus but nothing you try gets it out and everything is screwed up. Now there is only one thing left to do. But you don't like it. There is a service where you go on-line and let a remote host have access to your computer. It's kind of freaky because you can see the disembodied mouse moving around on your screen doing whatever it wants to. Plus it makes you feel stupid watching it, because it will write weird coded stuff on black pop-up screens and actually change the software; all that stuff us mere mortals don't know how to do. At  first it's not to bad, but then the operator asks for some passwords for some protected parts of the machine. You know; bank account stuff, internet history, and some other places that you aren't sure you want to open up. So you lie, and say you'll have to be back to them because you can't remember those pass codes right now. And then you sit there and are just stuck. Because while all this stuff sounds mechanical, intellectual, and scientific the fact remains that you will have to trust this person before anything changes. And we don't like trusting some ethereal and faceless stranger with our pass codes, secrets, bank account information, and web history. So now you will have to sit back an weigh your options. A new Mac is too expensive. Staying with the way things are is increasingly impossible. But am I willing to risk trusting this person? A person who if i let them in to total access could fix or destroy everything.

You walk away to think and feel your way through that decision.

It's so weird to let a stranger into your house. But then to let them access the fridge, and your checkbook is even weirder. What if they...?! And when it gets really weird is if they sneak into bed with you, yikes! And then...worst case scenario...they can even read your thoughts and feelings and motivations. Epic-weirdness!

my point?

These are all freakishly bizarre scenarios. So let me make it even stranger. What if this person loved you in spite of all the crazy stuff they have discovered about you. What if they had completely pure motivations and wanted into your life not for what they could get out of you but for what they could give you? Would you let them in, would you trust them, would you risk it?

This is after all, all about you and God. And God is both patient as well as intrusive in these sort of things. He wants into your hardrive. HHe wants into your checking account. And yes, he wants into your web browsing history. He wants remote access to all those password protected areas because of the virus that is infecting everything [the trojan horse we call 'sin'.] He wants full disclosure, full access, and full administrator rights and privileges. And as you sit in your seat you are gonna have to decide if you trust him or not. Not just a reaching-in-faith towards belief trust; but a rubber-hits-the-road of reality trust. In a good way, Jesus wants to go viral in you. He wants to shine his love, hope, power, peace, grace, discipline, truth, light...into every square millimeter and milibite of your life.

What's a practical atheist? A practical atheist is someone who believes in God but acts like He doesn't exist. Or to put it another way, they let God unto the computer but keep massive sections out of his reach. Places like sex, money, painful memories, etc. The sort of relationship where we say we have a relationship with God but really we are just acquaintances that chit chat from time to time.

So here is what I suggest you do when you get back to that computer that's busted up in epic-fail mode. I suggest you go all-in and trust the disembodied techie and let them have remote access and control of everything. Let God have it all. He will be patient, and we will try to keep him out. But simply choose to hand him they keys to every room of your life. And i'll promise you something. This "stranger" will become trustworthy   to you. Because trust is earned, and it can only be earned if we risk. Every great story of faith is a story of risking trusting God. 



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