No Formula = God

Just started reading Donald Miller’s Searching for God Knows What. I’m only through two chapters so far, but it’ a really good read.Here’s a noteworthy quote that could possibly simplify so many things we make difficult:

Some would say formulas are how we interact with God, that going through motions and jumping through hoops are how a person acts out his spirituality. This method of interaction, however, seems odd to me, because if I want to hang out with my friend Tuck, I don’t stomp my foot three times, turn around, and say his name over and over like a mantra, lighting candles and getting myself in a certain mood. I just call him. In this way, formulas presuppose God is more a computer or a circus monkey than an intelligent Being. I realize that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

I want to just talk with God.


7 responses to “No Formula = God

  1. Thanks for the comment and link to your blog!

    Is it too obvious to say “Amen”? I love that passage from Searching for God Knows What, as well. I loved Blue Like Jazz for its broad scope on Christianity, but I think I love SFGKW more because it is so on point. Becoming and being a Christian is not a series of steps or formulas; it’s a real relationship.

  2. b-dunc
    i read that book while i was at l’abri. loved it. keep the commentary coming.

  3. Right. If I want to talk to my friend I just start talking. I don’t follow any rules. I don’t pick up the phone, who’s the phone company to tell me how I talk to my friend, I mean they even charge me. I don’t dial a number, what’s the deal with all these rules, I mean only ONE ten-digit number, let’s stop with all the rules already. I also don’t talk into the reciever or listen to the earpiece, and don’t even get me started about talking in English and using my vocal chords to produce sounds, what kind of Pharisee are you??? Anyone get my point? Stupid rules are bad, formulas that make God a dancing show dog are stupid, but they’ve always been stupid. However, not meeting God on his own terms, or somehow believing that God doesn’t have terms makes you worse than the Pharisees. At least they did some of what they SHOULD have been doing (Just quoting Jesus here, Look it up Matthew 23.23). Personally, I find most of the “emergent movement” to be the Outback Steakhouse of Theology “no rules, just right.” The only problem is, we’re not free to do “whatever.” We’re freed to sin, and made a SLAVE to obedience which leads to righteousness (as In Romans 6:15-23). Don’t get me wrong, white-washed tombs are a bad thing, but empty faith is just as bad, and that’s what I get from Miller. He’ll make a good point, but then miss the point of the faith. Okay, just my fun ranting… As long as it makes us think about spiritual things, and that drives us to the Bible, AMEN!

  4. Couv: I should’ve known you have read it. I definitely like it more than Blue Like Jazz. I’ll buzz you soon.

    Harris: On the other hand, we can be too free in the Spirit to the point that we think this visual freedom is necessary to get closer to God. I.e. dancing, shaking, yelling, tonguesing, clapping, stomping, etc. The thing that strikes me with this quote is that I don’t have to do those things either to get to God; they should be a result of the relationship, not a pre-cursor.

    I guess we’re left with finding the truth somewhere between the acknowledging a true fear of God and losing the vain and repetitive ceremonial nonsense that formulas would say are needed.

    By the way, I see using the phone as the same as a prayer (and hopefully based on the model prayer). I get your point, but I don’t see it as apples to apples.

    Here’s a question (not rhetorical): is it better to approach God in an incorrect manner or just not approach Him at all?

  5. Call me crazy , but I’ve heard that there are people out there that actually came to know Christ through means other than an alter call. I’ve also heard, hold on to your britches here, that you can come to know the Lord without repeating the ‘sinners prayer’ or going through the Roman Road. Do we care how one comes to know the Lord? Paul didn’t even care how it was preached, phil 1:18, as long as it was preached!

    If your spirit is broken and is tired and is thirsting for righteousness, God will meet you where you’re at. If you are sincere in your repentance, He will hold you tight.

    The problem is when people make that decision to follow Christ, we show them how to become a student instead of a disciple, john 5:39. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to know what Jesus knew, but it is God’s will that we become who Jesus is!

    Do we have a burning desire to become like Jesus? I know I don’t. At least not now.

    B-Dunc, to answer your question, I think God would like to see that you just showed up. I’m sure He is big enough to handle it from there.

  6. Couv, way to throw in the parenthetical references there.

    Especially for us raised Baptist/Methodist, and even more so for those of us who went to a Baptist University, I think it’s so easy to become a student over a disciple. Or maybe even an observer over a partaker.

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