Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wayne's World

So meeting one of my new favorite authors was quite a surprise. Wayne Jabobsen, of The God Journey was in town and stayed with friends last night so we could have dinner, hang out and talk about our journeys.
I have read one of his books co-authored and written under a pseudonym, and have read, and am currently digesting, The Shack, which he helped write, edit, and has published.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I thought I knew God, and understood the trinity, and was on close terms with Jesus. Then I saw Him through new eyes in the pages of this book's story and my preconceptions have been rearranged. I recognize the truth in what I am beginning to see. I am having a hard time realizing how much more He is. I am also having a hard time admitting that most of what I have been taught is through the lenses of an Old Testament understanding. I am also discovering how religious practice has dictated my response to Him. And all I can say is "I did not know".

For instance, chew on we were talking about the cross last night, Wayne asked, "If you did something to some guy, and really hurt him, and he said that the only way he could ever accept you as a friend was if someone paid...and then he went home and beat the tar out of his son with a baseball bat, then came and said that it was OK now, and you could be friends, would you ever WANT to be friends with someone like that?"
NO! Yet that is basically my understanding of the cross...someone innocent had to pay for my shortcomings. But as we talked, Wayne presented another analogy about the cross, which was never for God; it was all for ME.

His analogy is this; We have a terminal blood disease (sin), and the only cure is chemo, which will also absolutely kill us (the law). So Jesus, being God, and being Love, takes our diseased blood into His healthy body and transfuses His healthy blood to us. The disease kills Him, but when He has died, we are left with the antibodies for all time, for everyone who suffers from this disease. He provides both a cure for the disease, (sin) and relief from the deadly "cure", (the law). That is love, that is His sacrifice.

Our God is not one who ever needed us to sacrifice for Him, unlike every other god and religion. He desired to sacrifice for us. Our sacrifice is worthless to Him. His message to us in the Old Testament is this: Sin kills, and the law will cover it up but will never cure us, and will never make us feel remotely clean. The law is as deadly as the disease of sin.

But surely we have to qualify, by our righteous acts, for this gift of relief from sin, and for it's cure?

We qualify when we give ourselves to Him, in Love and of our free will.

This immediately makes perfect sense to me. It is the Gospels.

There was a lot more, all of which I will be attempting to assimilate over the next few months... and years. Meanwhile, check out his blog, linked above and in the Lifestream link on the right hand side of the blog.


Anonymous said...

I am having a hard time with what the cross REALLY meant, too, and have been for quite a while. It's at the point where I was beginnning to think I wasn't a "real" Christian, but a Deist. It makes sense, given Man's nature, that we would perceive the Sacrifice the way we do. We are doing something wrong, so we must be punished. But the analogy of the blood transfusion-Jesus GIVING LIFE rather than TAKING PUNISHMENT-how beautiful is that? How loving...

Karyn/Mom said...

you sure got a better understanding of what he said than I did...I just knew that this new perspective was right and answered all my secret questions about the cross, but I couldn't quite get it into words...yet. Thanks for getting it down right away.
You've already read the Jake story? I listened to it Thursday and Friday. It is amazing. I need the hardcopy and I need to be able to give it a few people!
It is amazing to me how all these "new" perspectives on accepted ways of thinking are achieved by moving a couple steps over and looking at the same God, the same scriptures from a "small" shift as to our starting point....God's unchanging love for us being the motivation for all He does.... I was going to say "and requires" but that is wrong thinking, too, isn't it? The only thing He wants from us is our love and our friendship. Amazing. So easy to miss. So much thinking to change.....

arlene said...

I have had an "anti-establishement" mind set...but I so don't want to think that way. Love...freedom...freedom...Love. Wow. I want "anti" this or that.

Diane said...

Hi gals,
you three were the very ones I intitially wanted to come into contact with this analogy of the cross through Wayne!! I am so glad y'all are processing all of this too. Someone else who is nuts enough to discuss this with!!
I think at some point either in He Loves Me or else somewhere in the Transitions series Jesus' death on the cross is seen as the cure for our sin disease so we can come into intimacy with Him. His death on the cross was not to appease His anger (Jesus' death for HIS sake) but to take away the sin shame so we can come into intimacy of relationship with Him (Jesus' death for OUR sake).
As Karyn stated this is a paradigm shift isn't it?

arlene said...

Yes, a tiny, but HUGE paradigm shift, as Karyn says. It is going to take a lot of thought and reading to put it together. I'm burning up the pages in my New Testament!!

uh...just to clarify...I mean that figuratively...I'm not burning my Bible!

Diane said...

Arlene, you said,
"But surely we have to qualify, by our righteous acts, for this gift of relief from sin, and for it's cure?

We qualify when we give ourselves to Him, in Love and of our free will."

It seems as though, and I might be wrong here, that what you are saying means that there is still a missing piece to the gospel, ie, our giving of ourselves to Him in Love and of our free will to qualify. I'm wondering if our "qualification" is because of His Love for us and now we get to live loved, live free, and live full as the Holy Spirit continues to reveal this truth to us!

arlene said...

aaaaahhh. I see what you are saying. This is such a shift in thinking. Living loved. His love qualifies us. Yes.

Diane said...

I know, there is always a part of us that thinks we have to DO something to get this. I think what I have appreciated so much of my former 'reformed' upbringing was the teaching that this gift of salvation from my sins is just that-a gift. Nothing I can do to warrant it. ALL GOD.
Loved processing this with you guys.

arlene said...

Hey I know exactly what you mean Diane. It's a "real reformed" way of thinking, isn't it? A God of love, mercy, peace... Who "no longer calls us slaves, but calls us FRIENDS"!
We sing Jesus friend of sinners, but what friend makes you live up to his expectations before he accepts you?

Karyn/Mom said...

I have not yet processed the whole cross thing - I think it will take awhile, but the idea that God LOVES me, while not a new idea, of course, has turned on a few lights.
When everything is viewed through this filter, it all changes. Need faith? No problem...God loves me - whatever happens will be worked for my good. Going through a tough time? He is walking with me.
Most of this is not new...we can probably all think of a time that we were very aware of God's presence during a particularly difficult time.
But somehow, I had never REALLY considered how His love covers everything. I think the most amazing thing to me is something Wayne said the other night.."When you are at your most broken, His hands are the safest place to be".. I related this to "when I have most failed Him" because that is when I run from Him...I feel that I cannot come to Him, that He is angry/disappointed/frustrated with me. The concept that His love does not change no matter what I've done...that I am safe with Him at my worst momements - that thought has set my heart dancing. I guess the proof will be in the pudding - next time I blow it real good, will I run TO Him or FROM Him?
Something else I've noticed - the more aware I am of His love for me, the easier it is to have patience with those around me and accept where they are at, trusting Father to draw them in as well.

arlene said...

Karyn, you said: "the more aware I am of His love for me, the easier it is to have patience with those around me and accept where they are at, trusting Father to draw them in as well."

Exactly true that! Why would I be offended by someone's "failure" if I trust this God of love to be walking and working with them, just like He is with me?

If I live loved, I will live love.
That is His will for my life.

As the "atheist" told Wayne...

"Jesus' message is that we have a Father who loves us more than anything, and if we can get that right we'll know how to treat one another, and I'm an atheist because I've never seen it done."