I Am But A Pile Or Garbage Rotting In The Desert Sun, Or The Dichotomy Of Moving Mountains

This post I suppose is the 2nd in a series about paradoxes and balances. One of the most annoying buzzphrases to be adopted by Chrisitians lately is “live in the tension.” Though this phrase arose out of necessity, as our world has become less and less black and white, for some reason it irks me. However, this accidental series sees us living in the tension.

As I wrote about last week, lately I’ve been fascinated by the myriad of paradoxes and delicate balances I find in Christianity. The apologetics movement that hit my church youth group tried to make simple that which is naturally nuanced.

One thing that is very present in Christianity is the idea of total depravity, that we are all inherently wretched and that our works are about as worthwhile as the pies that cows create (except those are actually useful for the soil, so we’re worse than even that). And so we should not put too much emphasis on what we do, for it is worthless rags.

Yet, Jesus was quite adamant that we can move mountains. And he famously said that we’d do even more than he did himself – which is to say a lot. So – are we worthless or are we practically on par with Jesus?

Jesus didn't say we couldn't use a little good ole fashioned horsepower!

Inherent in Christianity is this dichotomy of being humble yet carrying a capacity to raise the dead. We must keep both around, for if we do great things and lose our humility we are likely to become blown up & arrogant, exploiting what power we have (oh whoops, we may have already ventured there). Or, we may keep our humility and find ourselves impotent, as we don’t see our very own supernatural potential.

Do you tend to emphasize one side or the other? How does a Christian go about living out two seemingly conflicting ideas that are both somehow true? 

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8 Responses to I Am But A Pile Or Garbage Rotting In The Desert Sun, Or The Dichotomy Of Moving Mountains

  1. you raise a very good issue/question here Charlie. I have often wondered about the humility/power thing. I am supposed to be humble but at the same time have the power to move mountains. “just say the word.” I am to be humble and meek and yet, I can say, “Move” to that mountain and it is supposed to move. Yeah, a conundrum for sure. Ask and don’t doubt. You are supposed to answer your questions Charlie not ask or create more. LOL Well done!

    • sorry Bill. You’ve come to the wrong place if you want answers. I ask them so I can hear from other’s wisdom, because I surely ain’t got it. I do think that by acknowledging both sides we are more able to reconcile the two and live simultaneously in both realms.

  2. David says:

    Humility is a falsity in the church. No one ins completely humble. The same is true of power – what sort of power do we have? More often it is the education and talent to produce some thought provoking sermon – maybe some seemingly selfless ministry to the less fortunate – I don’t know.

    “Inherent in Christianity is this dichotomy of being humble yet carrying a capacity to raise the dead.”

    This isn’t a paradox for me. Look, I can’t raise the dead, Jesus can. In the exact same way I cannot be humble, Jesus can. We some how have the idea some thing we can do on our own, and on occasion God will show up and do something crazy like heal a sick person. The is the epitome of religion.

    Paul said there is a new man, yet we spend all this time trying to patch him up, trying to be humble, more like a servant or whatever our Christian cultural mask is. Jesus said the old man must die, yet many of our sermons are about “getting saved” or fixing the old man” or how to “survive a crappy week.” It is not wonder we are not humble, nor raise the dead for the most part.

    The Pharisees had loads of false humility, and Jesus tore them up. They “acted” the part, yet their heart was in the wrong place. Jesus just went about healing, and doing what the Father was doing. Only the new man knows what the Father is doing. It is spiritually discerned.

    We get all fixated on fruit and character – God used Moses, David, Gideon, Rehab and Lazarus, and Lazarus was DEAD! True humility is only from God – same with love, and power.

    We need to learn how to hear God. Then when a mountain actually needs to moved, it’s a piece of cake.

    • you definitely raise a great point – we are told we need to die yet we try to patch that person up and train them into a better person. I was actually thinking just yesterday how absolutely essential humility is, especially when it comes to religious leaders. Without you you just get demanding, bossing “holy” men power tripping.

  3. thoughttub says:

    First of all that’s not horse power, it looks more like Optimus Prime.
    I think that we all arive at this question eventually, but I don’t think that it is something to worry about. I think (just my opinion) that we tend to get caught up in many of the end results and products of our lives with God (our society is probably to blame for that), when what is really important is your relationship with God. If you are with Him and He is with you, there is no need to worry about mountains, raising the dead, or Optimus.
    I do think that we too often are unsure of our relationship with God, and we are consequently unsure of His voice when we hear it. It seems like moving a mountain would be more of a natural response to serving God, rather than a goal acheived in your spiritual journey.
    If you’re saying to yourself, “I want to move mountains.” you should stick with the truck. If you are thinking, “I got a fever, and the only perscription is more Jesus.” then you might be amazed at the mountains you move along the way.

  4. Larry Hughes says:

    As a figure of speech, We can move mountains, or heal, or raise the dead. I think that is exactly what it is > (a figure of speech). With out Gods grace or in Jesus’ name we couldn’t even move a grain of sand. It is not all about us, it is about edifying God that these occurences can happen through His grace. It is about God’s supernatural powers that these miracles can happen.
    However the ” us” factor comes into play if only we have the faith in God that He can do these miracles. Here in I think lies the quagmire. How strong is our faith?

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