Thursday, February 02, 2006

Do you know why Shrimp blogs?

Shrimp here. Got this email this morning:

Reviewing your posts and this one jumped out at me. I guess the first time I just gave it a quick glance and moved on, but much has happened in a short time. The more I am drawn into this battle, the more I feel enclosed in a darkness that is beyond this world.

A voice keeps saying "Go Back" and I don't know if it's lack of faith or a true warning that my soul is in danger. I have no doubt that it is NOT earthly powers we are are engaging, and I wonder if it would be better to just get out while I still can.

Then I read in Pope Benedict's Lent message about the "Gaze of Christ" and how he looked on them with compassion, and I gaze each Sunday on brothers and sisters that are lifelong friends, and their children and my own children; those from my very own body and those I have invited in, thinking I was bringing them to the House of God, and my heart breaks at the thought of abandoning them to these evil powers.
Never in my life did I imagine such evil days.
Fall on my knees. Weep biter tears.
And fast from food and sleep and all the ordinary pleasure of life, and still the darkness deepens around me.
Please tell me which way to go.

Posted by Anonymous to Shellfish at 2/02/2006 05:02:29 AM

Shrimp: That came as a response to a post I wrote two weeks ago:

Shrimp here. For those of you who don't know, I was wounded in the culture war back a few years ago and my wound has not healed nicely. It is hard to engage this issue and not suffer certain side effects. We need to think of the fight in the church over the true nature of the gospel as a spiritual battle. Those that want to promote this new, inclusive gospel have a veil thrown over them. We who want to fight for traditional understanding have a zealousness that comes from the Lord, but do not think that the devil does not want to use that to his advantage. If you are entering this debate, you need to take care of yourself spiritually, abandon yourself to God, ask for more faith, more love, and to see the sin within yourself. We need to not judge individuals, rather judge the movement, and even then to see them as victims of an ideology which is either demonic in origin or being used demonically. Reading Luther the other day I ran across this:

I perceive therefore that this man is driven by a messenger of Satan [II Cor. 12:7] … I pray that Christ in his mercy may bring them back to a sound mind. If they are not worthy, I pray that they may never leave off writing such books and that the enemies of truth may never deserve to read any others. There is a true and popular saying: “This I know for certain—whenever I fight with filth, Victor or vanquished, I am sure to be defiled.” (LW 36: 17)

Sounds kind of like, "If you are going to wrestle with a pig, you are bound to get dirty." Problem is, we aren't talking about getting dirt on our body, but losing souls to the devil and we can get obsessed in the fight in a way that is otherwise unexplainable-- if we are talking about fighting the devil, watch it that you are not in need of exorcism afterwards! And watch the bile production and agita factor (better hit your knees and hit the gym).

So, why do we blog? Same reason as for intercessory prayer. We are driven to it. I want to answer this person's question. What do you do? You thank God. See, God for you is real. The feeling you have as you look out on the pews Sunday morning, that is the compassion of Christ. Now you really know what the Greek word means that they taught us a seminary which the Elizabethans translated, "bowels of compassion." Jesus looked on the crowd and had compassion.

You really know it because you know it experientially. We're Lutherans, and we should know that Luther wrestled with God and the devil and it was this wrestling that led him to a theology of the cross, and for him it was not dark and gloomy at all. He stayed with it and he knew God was real, not some idea of God or a historic faith God, but the God who wrestled with Jacob.

Be thankful your heart is broken, not becasue you were passed over for promotion, a better call, or some honor, but a heart broken for the sheep who are so very, very fragile. They trust us. They think all of the clergy somehow know God. Ha! if they only heard the Bultmoanian confusion when we get together to talk about what to preach.

Since you have God breaking your heart, ask Him for more love, more faith. Ask him to help you write sermons just from reading His Word and praying. preach from the heart and tell the people how much God loves them,yes, enough to die on the cross, but also enough to not let them do what is right in their own eyes.

You will be fine. It is the pastors who are happy right now I worry about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This was worth reading. Thanks!
Rob Buechler

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...