No – I didn’t misspell “clarification”. I meant “Clarafication” – and that may seem odd until I share with you that this local company is owned by – wait for it – Clara! And she is a delightful woman, with an incredible background, who assists companies by helping them communicate their human resource messaging throughout their organizations. While she does not claim to be an expert in human resources; such as compensation and benefits analysis, payroll, staffing, etc., she is an expert in communicating messages from senders to receivers – and that’s a really important role. When I had the pleasure of meeting her last week, she already knew about me – it turns out she is a reader of this blog! Go figure! Of course, I was in the staffing business for many years before I sold the company in 2002, so I am always interested in meeting people from any sector of the HR field.
Anyway, it occurs to me tonight that I do the same thing Clara does – only with the Bible. While I can hardly claim to be an expert (who can?), I have tried to hone my skills throughout the years to communicate God’s word from the sender (God, through the Bible) to receivers (an audience); ready and willing to hear what God has to say. I have been privileged to do this from the pulpit as a pastor, from the front of the classroom as a professor, from closed door sessions as a counselor, and from the corporate perspective as a consultant. And in every one of these situations, I have been blessed with an attentive audience that has helped me to validate all the years I spent in seminary to learn, and subsequently communicate, God’s word.
And herein lies the point of tonight’s post. Sometimes there are different desires from different readers; and most of us would probably not agree completely on all the fine points of salvation, baptism or communion. I originally thought that this blog would primarily serve those people and families who were in career transition. With all the job loss in the country these days, there is a huge need for inspiration, motivation and encouragement in these areas. But as this blog has evolved, I find it on my heart to encourage and motivate all Christians, across the land, throughout all the various kinds of transitions people face. I have written about death, job loss, sickness, fear, material possessions and many other categories of transition too numerous to mention. Some of these topics never even crossed my mind when I started to write – and now they seem as natural to me as the topics I have dedicated myself to for years.
And each evening, as I sit down to write, I have come to use a framework that many of you have commented on as positive for your devotional experiences. That is, a personal story, followed by a Bible passage and ending with words of encouragement and prayer. In fact, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about the order of presentation each day. And, as I explained in “Metamorphosis”, we have also altered this site to hopefully enhance the communal experience with God.
One of the issues that I always think about is the depth I should go to explore, interpret or present different theological concepts and positions. Sometimes these issues can become divisive; and it is never my intent to polarize our readers. As an ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is, however, my responsibility to share my thoughts, ever respectful of opposing views. And, hopefully, when I weigh in on one of these lofty issues, I have been successful in trying to present the other views as well. The reason that I mention this is that I want to foster a conciliatory environment, where we can all focus on what unites us; and not what divides us.
The Bible states, in 2 Tim. 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” But God inspired the Bible, written by men, through the agency of the Holy Spirit. And since we are fallible, there is no knowing, this side of heaven, God’s intent in certain areas of biblical interpretation. We all are taught differently, and sometimes we plant stakes in the ground that cause us to separate from other Christians and even start other churches. That is how we ended up with as many different denominations and churches as we have today.
But I don’t believe that this blog should be the forum for deep theological debate over the nuances of the Scripture – that would surely reduce the joy that many of our readers receive in reading a devotional message each day. In other words, I intend to teach the authentic, inerrant Bible, as I understand it to be, taking into account the Greek and Hebrew languages; but it is outside the scope of this endeavor to debate fine points of theology – and I commit to acknowledge the times when I just may not know the answer to a question that gets asked. I also pledge to present opposing views on main doctrinal areas, so each side is fairly represented.
So my encouragement tonight is to try and focus on the things that unite us as believers in Jesus Christ; and my prayer is that we will be tolerant of positions that may be contrary to our own understanding of the Holy Bible. After all, God knows all the answers, but we don’t. And while I do believe in certain specific doctrines in the fields of Theology (study of God), Christology (study of Christ), Trinitarianism, Angelology and Demonology, Soteriology (study of salvation doctrine), and a host of other “ologies”, I don’t want to get so deep in the theology that we miss the relationship with God. One of the things that I learned in seminary is that you spend so much time learning about God, that you can forget about building your relationship with God. And I don’t want that to happen here? Okay?
Hey, Clara! How did I do?
Grace and Peace. And ALL God’s people said…….Amen.