When I was younger I had a number of years of obligatory schooling. Then I was approached with a view to additional years of academic study – not obligatory but recommended. And had I taken up that offer, there would have been yet more additional years of academic endeavour available to me (so long as I met academic standards along the way). At the end of this process I would have a better life and more money. Investment and return.
Biblegateway again. Cruising around the bits below “Verse of the Day”:
“[Doing Good to All] Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
Turns out this particular Biblegateway bit is “in partnership with” Taylor University. So if I decide to accept this invitation to invest in the study of “practices of scriptural engagement” – what is in it for me? What do I get?
Apparently when I study with Taylor University, “100% of TU students, faculty and staff make a profession of faith” God-qualifications. A profession(!). And income. And faith. All in one qualification!
Because “studying the Scriptures is absolutely essential to the Christian life”. Because “Why is reflecting on the Scriptures often so difficult?” So obviously, “The prayer of those of us at Bible Gateway and the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement is that this website might be a meaningful tool to connect you with good “coaches” who train you in Scripture engagement skills, leading you into a deeper life of love and obedience to God.” Scripture Engagement Compared to Bible Study
I read a lot of “The Life Project”: Don Merritt.
It is not work. It is not discipline. It is fun. Don has “God-qualifications”. He knows all about those “practices” as well. He may even agree with some or all of them. I don’t know. But I do know that Don has taught me to look for “the premise” – the unspoken “fact” driving the “belief” resulting in the “teaching” (and my “buy-in” to the ”message”). What is called “concluding the transaction”.
Study. Scriptures. Essential. Christian life.
Study. Scriptures. Christian life.
Odd that a University of God should have the premise that “studying the Scriptures is absolutely essential” for me to be able to call myself a Christian. Which makes the unstated premise that “to not study Scriptures is to not be a Christian”. Maybe there are some who do believe that.
And maybe not.
My truth? When I land with a bunch who tell me that God is hard work, I keep moving. When I am invited to all the hard work of being a Christian, I keep moving. Because rarely have I found that “hard work” brings me closer to my God. I have found that when God is doing the inviting, it is never “hard work” – it is lots of things – but never “that” (if I allow).
What I have found is that “hard work” is almost always “of this world”. Just as I find the teachings of all the bad consequences are also “of this world”. Because the “joined at the hip” other premise has no fragrance of God either: Sin and Hell. Because inside that premise is this one: Dire Consequences! The “watch out – or hell is gonna get you” premise – which is only taught to bring me closer to God – obviously.
God does not need to entrap me with avoiding bad consequences. God has no need for entrapment of any kind. That is not love.
Premises and consequences.
Why does “being a Christian” today come with so many consequences and premises? Are we still in love with religion rather than God Soft Hands Jesus? And what was it Jesus said – “the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” – because surely that means God Jesus has no premises(!) at all …
Other than loving you and me as himself.
Now THAT is my type of consequence!