A few of my weblog-writing friends have told me of stat trackers and counters and other ways to know people actually read their writing. I don't have any of those features. Every time I write a post, I assume that only ten or so friends and family will take the time to read all of those words. I think I want to continue feeling surprise when anyone else writes a comment or email regarding my essays. All that to say, I have no idea how many people might be upset with what I say next.
For the first time in the not-quite-year-long history of 'Am-ha'aretz Press, I'm only going to have posted one essay in a month. I don't count this extended disclaimer as a post. It's more of an explanation for what's to come. Maybe it's an apology, but I don't feel sorry. Here's what's going on, Press readers...
I base most of my posts on what I've recently studied or what God has taught me during times of prayer. About five weeks ago, I began to approach some big questions about God's soveriegnty, the nature of my relationship with Him, and how these things affected my work in His kingdom. In my arrogance (there you go, I admitted it), I didn't think this new study would be too much trouble. Instead, it shook out all of my brain's drawers and ripped everything out of my soul's closet then demanded I put it back in order. What I mean to say is, I've had to rethink just about everything in the past five weeks.
Here's a taste of what I've had to endure: Faith is both believing and living according to God's word and it's impossible to please God outside of faith. Sin, as far as I know, is living according to anything apart from God's word. Nothing in my life can be autonomous because that would mean I've tried to take control of something from God or that God had given away control. Autonomy and faith are absolutely exclusive. If this is true, then is it right to believe or operate as if I have autonomous control over my decisions?
Exactly. That's the kind of thing I've had to deal with.
In a tone some people reserve for breaking bad news to loved ones, I told my mom last week, "I think I'm a five-point Calvinist." I felt like I was telling her that I had a heroin addiction or that I'd simultaneously impregnated a hooker while catching a viscous VD. For a guy that both attended and disliked Calvin College, this was a hard admission. Maybe that's not as bad as the hooker/VD thing. I guess it's more like realizing that I actually enjoy Ryan Adams and Wilco. Which I don't. But saying that aloud in Nashville would make me a marked man. I'm just trying to express the severity of what I've had to admit. Ugh.
Until I put those drawers back in the dresser and rearrange my closet, I might not be able to put any of my essays up here. I'll keep writing them. That's for sure. And when I can explain why I think these things are true, I'll let all of you read them.
The other reason I don't want to post these essays yet has to do with the sensitivity of any readers who haven't considered the questions I've wrestled with. I told one of my close friends about this over a pint one night. He and I discussed the heart of God and His perfect mercy in relation to His perfect justice. That's the kind of thing I prefer to discuss while imbibing. At the end of our conversation, I told him, "If God leads me to understand this is true, then I'm sure I'll have to write both about God's sovereignty and His heartbreak." In The God Who Is There, Francis Schaeffer spoke of "tearing the roof off" of a person's system of belief. One can't destroy this without offering the person some help to rebuild.
So I'll keep putting my room back together, so to speak, and nailing new shingles on my own roof. I hope to talk to you all about it next month.