My Fitness

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

details of none like him part 1

I have a feeling this is going to read like a chatty book report but I'm really excited about it anyway! If you are a bibliophile like me, you will be more likely to enjoy this post.

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin
Psalm 111:10 The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. 
Wilkin presents the purpose of this book as a means to reclaim the idea of what a God-fearing woman is away from previous eras' solemn antique frames as well as away from today's sepia toned Instagram photos.
The idea she presents reminds me of so many cultural differences that Christians claim as "THE way". One group says real Christians only dress in such a way and another says the only speak in such tones while a third says you can really only tell a real Christian on some other outward appearance. Of course none of these reveal a person's heart. Personalities and cultural influence make judging hearts based on outward appearance impossible. The Bible says repeatedly that man judges the outward appearance (still true today) while He judges the heart. You can look like an Amish farmer and be damned. You can look like a Hollywood pop star and be wholeheartedly following Christ. If bygone eras had seen you today they would think you are very poorly dressed and hopelessly without Christ. Culture affects fashion even within the Church. My opinion is that it doesn't matter what you look like if your heart is far from God. You can fool man, but God can see through your lies.
Wilkin's ideas also remind me of the current feminist trend in our society. Christians shun the idea of "feminism" because it used to mean "we hate men!" But nowadays my generation has redeemed it to mean "women are just as capable as men." But that doesn't necessarily mean we usurp authority or negate Biblical teaching on headship. I know many Christian feminists who do think that way, but I do not. I am feminist as far as society is concerned - equal pay for equal work, suffrage, independence, education, and sports are all open for moving women up the figurative ladder. But whether it makes sense to us or not, the Bible clearly says, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands." Ephesians 5:22-24 Of course this sucks if your husband does not in turn follow Ephesians 5:25-28. And this also does not negate 5:21 where we are all commanded to submit to each other. I do not believe the Patriarchal misogyny of the Pearls, Gothard, Phillips, and Wilson's cult-like teachings are Biblical. Families aren't to blindly follow the husband into sin. Families aren't to cover the sins of the husband from exposure. The husband is not the most important member of the family. The family is not to be sacrificed to save the husband...if anything, the husband is to be sacrificed to save the family which is what Christ did. Wilkin doesn't address this at all; these are only my thoughts.

I'm really having to stop myself from ranting on both of the above points. sigh. Moving on...

Chapter 1 - Infinite
Wilkin says that "any discussion of hos God s not like us must begin with an acknowledgment that we are measurable and he is not." (p16) I don't know that that is necessarily true, but it is certainly an easy place to begin. She probably means that she must begin there because that is what makes the most sense to her. I really like how she defines "infinite" as "not measurable". I know that's true but reading it makes me realize it. I immediately visualize a 3d axis from math class with the x-, y-, and z-axis extending forever. Just to illustrate to yourself think about something that can be represented in MORE than 3d. Let me know what you think in a comment. Perhaps you think of a 3d object moving through space and time; that's 5d = width, length, height, location, and time. God has even more dimensions than what you can think...and yet he doesn't change. What is C. S. Lewis who tried to describe dimensions by explaining a 2d creature would not comprehend the difference between seeing two lines that start a meter apart and come together at a point like a triangle and a road that looks like two lines starting a meter apart and converging to a single point in the distance. That third dimension holds no meaning to them. We could stand where we are and touch the tip of the triangle, but we would have to travel quite some time to reach where the road converges to a single point (which is forever because the road never actually converges on itself, it only appears to converge). Our comprehension is so much greater than the 2d creature. Similarly, His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways; and as far as the heavens are above the earth so is His thoughts above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

"How should the knowledge that God is ____ change the way I live?" (p17) This is a most excellent questions and I find it very challenging. We may be able to ask this at each chapter. How should the knowledge that God is infinite change the way I live? Assuming that I am not already, I think it would make me realize my small size. My speck of time on earth is inconsequential. And yet He still cares for me. That's amazing. A hate-filled creator would play with us like lemmings not caring if we suffer, die, or play. But our loving God instead has shown us who He is and has suffered along side us. This reminds me of a Doctor Who quote, "You know that in nine hundred years of time and space, I've never met anybody who wasn't important." (A Christmas Carol, Season 6 Christmas special)

Isn't it interesting how we think we are in control? It takes very little to unravel that illusion. You may think that since you don't text and drive you won't get in a wreck. But that doesn't keep some other selfish person from texting and hitting you, perhaps killing you and your daughter along with herself and her own daughter. You don't get to keep her from texting while driving. You aren't in control. You don't get to control whether you get cancer or not. You can be a clean eating advocate who exercises and leads a healthy lifestyle. You even floss regularly! But that won't necessarily keep you from cancer. "That-which-we-can-measure we think we can to some degree control." (p17) We try to control our texting and driving, but we can't control others and thus aren't in control of our own lives. And we can't control God.

Once in college, a classmate told me he was an atheist because once upon a time he was coming home from a stressful day at work and he just wanted his girlfriend to be home already. He said he prayed that "if there is a God out there then let her be home and I'l believe in you." First, God wouldn't interfere with the girlfriend's freewill to choose to go home or not. Second, God is not sitting in heaven whining about how no one believes in him and he'd do anything to just get some attention. And third, "The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous." (Proverbs 15:29) God is not looking to bless people supernaturally who are looking to then sin with that blessing. My classmate's heart was far from God and arrogantly thought that God needed him to believe in Him. God is not to be bargained with, controlled, or manipulated. He is beyond you.

Have you ever noticed that one person in your circle of friends or in your family who somehow always judges people to be less than him/herself? S/he constantly says condescending things about "why would that person do that if they know that the Bible says such and such?" They're not really asking but rather pointing out the moral failings of others. It doesn't nothing to encourage or uplift or even convict others. The only thing this person is trying to assert is that s/he is morally superior. It is possible that this person is not doing that but is instead just socially awkward and uncouth with no filter on their mouths or unintelligent. If the former, though, we can see looking from the outside at them that they are hypocritical despite claims to be otherwise. They judge themselves on their motives and judge others on their actions. "But unless our measure of comparison is smarter, richer, and more moral than we are, we will preserve the myth of our own ascendancy." (p19) These people choose their own strengths to compare to others' weaknesses and are strangely silent on their own weaknesses. This quote is for them. Be mindful that it isn't for you. It is for you and me too. However, those people may only be unintelligent and truly wondering how someone can say and believe that eating an entire cake is bad for you and then sit down and eat an entire cake. Or how someone can say and believe that they should love their neighbor and think of others as better than themselves and then get mad that a driver didn't completely stop at the stop sign and stole their turn. They don't see the hypocrisy. One is EATING AN ENTIRE CAKE! The other makes them.

In fact, that last point has been pressing on me for weeks now even before reading this book. Philippians 2:3 says, "in humility count others more significant than yourselves." It really hits a nerve with me. My neighbors are terrible parkers. I don't mean next-door to me. I mean my entire neighborhood is filled with people who do not park properly. It's astounding. We have an amazingly wide road with adequate driveways and everyone has a two car garage. And yet most streets are so cluttered with vehicles that there's barely space for a single car to fit down the road. And then they park in front of fire hydrants (I called the fire department and they said they'd just ram the car so don't worry about it), they park AT stop signs, they park on the curve of intersections, and they park un-parallel so they stick out begging to be hit. It could drive me nuts. I had thought about leaving notes about what terrible parkers they are. I had thought about posting to the neighborhood board that it's dangerous to do all of the above. I did call the police about the car parked at the stop sign because I had 3 near-misses with other cars because of him. But for the others, I decided that they needed this. They had a bad day. They are stuck at a job they hate. They are addicted to cigarettes and hate themselves for it. They have disrespectful kids. They don't know Jesus. This softens my heart toward them. They are more significant than me. I get to show love by deciding that these silly things don't bother me.

And then I get to practice with my kids. If anyone on this planet is more significant than I, it is my kids. I was given to them to care for them, to provide for them, to point them toward Christ. And yet I yelled at them! oh I hate myself when I do that. Kids do what they are taught. I yell like a banshee because I was taught that that is how you react to everything. By God's grace I'm learning that's not correct behavior. Remembering that my kids are more significant than I am has been very good are reeling in my reactions. Funnily, Peppa Pig has also helped show what appropriate reactions look like. Taking this a step further, if you need to throw your kid's ice cream away to show them how to be thankful, then perhaps you should take a moment for introspection and see that you're a horrible example for your kids. When my kids react poorly to a situation, I own it. We talk about it because I realize they are only doing what I taught them by example to do. As I've been changing myself, I've witnessed them changing too! It's very encouraging to see and I could not do it without the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

"He measures our sins, yet his immeasurable grace exceeds them." (p27) If we are to imitate Christ, then with our neighbors and our children and with that jerk who just cut us off we need to extend grace. We need to get so good at extending grace that we don't think of that driver as "that jerk".

The giveaway can be found HERE until Wednesday.
None Like Him: Ten Ways God is Different From Us (and why that's a good thing)
Author: Jill Wilkin
163 pages
God is self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign, infinite, and incomprehensible.We're not.And that's a good thing.Our limitations are by design. We were never meant to be God. But at the root of every sin is our rebellious desire to possess attributes that belong to God alone.Calling us to embrace our limits as a means of glorifying God's limitless power, Jen Wilkin invites us to celebrate the freedom that comes when we rest in letting God be God.#NoneLikeHim #JenWilkin  #FlyBy

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like it might be a interesting read and a timely one.