After a lively discussion of The Book of Mormon and the ever-increasing crassness of American culture, Phil and the gang are joined by Christianity Today editor Mark Galli to discuss his feature story on near-death experiences and their recent popularity in publishing!
Mark Galli is the editor of Christianity Today. He is the author of Chaos and Grace and God Wins.
, last week’s episode scturk a chord with me and I feel the need to respond. I’m fairly sure that this post is really more for clarifying things in my own head, so feel free to just ignore it. First, I agree with what was said in the podcast; excellent and valid points were made. And I very much agree with the idea that we try to validate ourselves by the things that we do/accomplish for God instead of just resting in our identity in Christ and in our relationship with him.However, I still feel like there’s not a clarification of terms and it’s bothering me (not in a bad way, necessarily). I think for me, the sticking point is desire. For me, I would have defined the word dream not as an idea with an emotional attachment but as a heartfelt desire that speaks to something at the core of me, of who I was created to be. (I would never assign this definition to the word dream as presented in the Bible, but just as part of common vernacular.) I believe in God given desire that speaks to the gifts and talents that he has given us. There are two for me, personally, that have permeated my life for as long as I can remember. These are heartfelt desires that I have been given the grace and the ability to pursue. Amazingly enough, to me anyway, is that the more I have surrendered to God the more he has let me walk in those desires, even without fulfillment.My concern is that, if we say Take your dreams, put them away, and just be with God we run the risk of closing ourselves off to God by ignoring the desires that he’s placed in our hearts. Just as we can take desire and spin it out of the realm that God ever intended for it to be in, I think we can also negatively spin the absence of desire. Perhaps this is just my own experience, but when I really made the choice to surrender everything in my life to God and to learn to count him as all I really needed, I, errantly, put my desires on a shelf. I had this terrible notion that if I wanted it for myself, that if it was something that I desired, or dreamed of , that it couldn’t possibly be from God it was just a white rabbit taking me to Wonderland. Looking back, I feel I dishonored God in that. He did give me certain gifts and abilities and a desire to pursue those things, to pursue fulfillment of those things. He’s also given me the wisdom to understand that even if those desires were fulfilled that it still wouldn’t be the ultimate fulfillment that I find only in him.I will concede that I did have to come to a point where I said, God, here’s what I desire more than anything, but if I can’t have it, that’s okay. You are my shepherd; I have everything that I need. And I can honestly say that if I lost everything or never saw fulfillment of my heart’s desires that I would be okay. But I also stand firm in the belief that God affirms my desires, has purified them, and is fulfilling them (although it looks absolutely nothing like what I though it would go figure). There’s this line in the movie Chariots of Fire, I don’t think this is verbatim, but it says something like Yes, God has made me for a purpose for China, but he has also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure. Doing the things that I was made to do, whether you call is a dream or a desire or none of the above, I feel God’s pleasure. I feel his delight in me and it is the biggest blessing I could ever hope to receive.In the end I think I’ve probably landed at the same airport as you (although, maybe at a different terminal) that God is first and foremost and only. And, wow what a life come’s out of that!God’s peace be upon you and your team as we move into this new day.DeonaP.S. If you get rid of the ukelele I will cry. It will be an ugly, sobbing cry. Please don’t make me do the ugly cry.