Thursday, March 13, 2008

Beginning To Live In Stark Raving Obedience

I moved to Nashville in September of 2007. Since nobody in this city is from this city, I always have to answer the question, "What brought you here?" Most people would expect an answer like "music" or "publishing". Well, I have played music for fifteen years, but that's not the reason I moved to Music City. And I did write a book with my father, but I didn't even know that Nashville was a big publishing town until after I had already decided to live in Tennessee. When people ask me why I came to town, I usually laugh before I tell them, "It's a short answer with a long explanation."

God told me to move to Nashville. By that, I mean He spoke to me and said, "Move to Nashville." Yes, God and I have conversations. If this seems like the statement of a psychotic man, I might agree with you if it weren't so Biblically sound. Below, I've included a portion of the introduction to my book, Stark Raving Obedience. Later, I will include the first chapter. Hopefully, these will sufficiently explain how a person can hear the voice of God in his head and not (necessarily) need prescription medication.

Preface to Stark Raving Obedience

People talk to God all the time. Whether it’s someone praying for friends and family, at the dinner table, or at a baseball game, talking to God is pretty ordinary. On the other hand, tell someone that God talks to you, and they might look at you like you ought to be locked up and psychoanalyzed.

It’s hard to deny that people are searching for something in their lives. Dating services try to provide people with intimacy. Some people drink to numb their pain, an attempt at healing their wounds if only temporarily. I remember a professor in college claiming that television was a way for people to have a community experience, a nation of people experiencing the same “events” while sitting alone in their homes. Something exists in every man and woman that longs for something, even if they can’t explain what they long for. I know that lots of people are just searching for answers, and many of them are seeking God for those answers, even if they don’t realize it.

But how can a person ask God a question when they don’t believe that He’ll tell them the answer? How can God give direction if He doesn’t communicate with us? A person might argue that God speaks to us in the Bible. True, but maybe I want to know if I should take a job overseas, or maybe I want to know how to reconcile a relationship with a family member. Personal stuff. Sometimes uncomfortable and complicated stuff. I believe that God wants to direct us and answer our questions personally, not just the deep questions of mankind as a whole.

How in the world can you have a personal relationship with someone who isn’t personal? We say the words “personal relationship” a lot in the church, but I don’t know if the church always does a good job of explaining (or understanding) a real personal relationship with God.
A few years ago, I joined the Rachael Leigh Cook fan club after watching the movie Josie and the Pussycats. I saw all of her movies. I read her biographical information. I read all the news updates, participated in a few of the fan club chats, and sent her a two and a half page fan letter. Even after all of that, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would say that I had a personal relationship with Rachael Leigh Cook.

At a young age, I was told that if I read my Bible, went to church or youth groups, and prayed to God (talked at Him), then I had a healthy, personal relationship with Him. Now I know better. It’s good to do all those things, but it’s not enough. It’s not personal. The only way to have a personal relationship with anybody is to talk with them, to build trust and have a history with them. Is that possible with an immaterial God? I know now that it is.

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