My Sorta But Not Really Christmasy Post, Or God’s Not In the Library

Thanks for the grace while I was sick. Unfortunately my wife has just now come down with it too – so I’m squeezing this out while she and my daughter nap.

(I’m confident you can find holes in this, as with a lot of my posts, though I hope you’ll see past them and see the larger thing I’m pointing to).

With our (Christian) culture’s obsession with the End Times, its always fun to speculate what the second coming will be like. Using his first come-around as a model, which we’re celebrating this week, my advice is “expect the unexpected,” – as in he probably won’t go church to church shaking hands and kissing babies. Whatever ideas we may have, well they’re probably way off and there’s little use in speculating.

These days the “what would you ask God if he were here” question get answers like “I’d ask him to explain predestination/TULIP” or “unravel the mystery of the Trinity for me” rather than “is little Timmy with you?” I know I’m being corny, but what I’m trying to say is we, generally, take it a little too intellectual these days.

Similarly, we imagine that if Jesus had come today rather than a few millennium ago, that he’d be found in our libraries – tucked away reading the great theologians and thinkers. (And you could maybe even find truth in that, as some speculate Jesus’ wasn’t public before 30 precisely because he was studying).

I think a lot of us go through a phase where we try to find God in our libraries, searching for answers to life’s questions in dusty pages. But I really think we’ll only find, at best, a sliver of him. It’d be tempting to spend all of my days reading books and trying to figure God out, but never really experience him.

But we must remember that this is a humble God who moves in the most counter-intuitive ways. And he came for all people, not simply the brilliant and the gifted and the smartest. The Christmas story is indeed God getting down, low, and dirty. We think of God as high and lofty and pure, yet somehow he thought it right to be born in a barn out of wedlock to a poor family. If that would be semi-scandalous now, imagine it 2000 years ago in a thoroughly religious culture.

If he thought that right, then everything we know is wrong.

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6 Responses to My Sorta But Not Really Christmasy Post, Or God’s Not In the Library

  1. Su says:

    Very insightful post! I hope your home is illness-free soon.

    And I do find God in the library… but that’s probably because I’m a reader. 🙂

    Happy Christmas!

  2. JamesBrett says:

    in the beginning there was adam and eve. they were given only a couple of rules to obey. this was their system: to enjoy God and life, while being obedient to the God that created them.

    then satan came along. he was selling another system: knowledge. he told them that they could know all the things God knows if they’d only eat this fruit.

    adam and eve traded their obedience away for knowledge — and we’ve been doing it ever since.

    • Good connection – this isn’t a new trend AT ALL.
      it is a tough one though – because there are a lot of brilliant people out there in Christendom (N.T. Wright immediately comes to mind) – so its difficult to write them off because they’re so into knowledge. I suppose knowledge is fine as long as it doesn’t get in the way of obedience. Blah blah blah balance blah blah.

  3. David says:

    Interesting post, Charlie.

    There is only one kind of knowledge, and that is the knowledge of God. If we don’t know Him, we don’t have a chance at interpreting the Scriptures. Jesus studied the Scriptures. I am not thinking that he was all that impressed with Rabi So-And-So. I assume that he learned about religion, so that when his time came, he had credibility as one who was brought up in the religious system. But that too, is too human.

    We can only know God by the Spirit. I am thinking that he was chuckling to himself read books by the Bible Answer Man, and still does.

    I am with James, what good is knowing stuff, when the knowledge of God is all that matters.

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