The Problem of Dullness

Is it me or do you find many Christians spiritually dull these days? Again and again, I leave churches of all kinds and wonder to myself, "How can so many people listen to the mystery of the gospel preached with no seeming interest, or at least very little interest?" It is not that I look for tears, or warm facial response, but at least someone should appear moved in some way. The singing is often listless, the listening seems ho-hum, and the evidence of real spiritual hunger expressed in words following the service seem so rare. I often leave saying to myself, "What can change this dull response?" The answer lies in God’s Spirit alone. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit."

Francois Fenelon said it well: "It is easy to mistake intellectual curiosity for spiritual hunger." The late A. W. Tozer once said, "We are as filled as we want to be." I beleive that is true. And the fact is few of us truly long to be filled. Tozer also said, "If there is anything in your life more demanding than your longing after God, then you will never be a Spirit-filled Christian."

Show Me Your Glory

I have resisted composing blogs for almost a year. While many friends continued to tell me that I must enter the "brave new world," I declined their suggestions regularly. Friends not only urged me, they bugged me frankly, to begin. Journaling seems so private, so simple, so intensely useful, if done well. My friends kept saying, "Write your journal thoughts." I can’t I argued. Blogging is just too public for such writing, even potentially manipulative I feared.

But the medium is not the message, at least in this case. The message is what really matters to Christians I believe. I have prayed and labored for an outpouring of God’s glory, almost daily, since 1970. This is my passion. My message reflects that passion. Put very simply, I write and pray to see the goodness of God exalted in the church.

Like Moses, I have seen something of the Lord’s presence go with me, in my case for more than five decades. But like Moses I too pray, "Show me your glory." I saw something of it in the Jesus Movement in 1969-70. I have seen glimpses and powerful displays of it in south India and Latin America. I long to see it spread in North America. I fear for us, as churches and believers, if it does not.

What is this glory? God said to Moses, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion" (Exodus 33:19). There it is, God’s glory–goodness, mercy and compassion all reveal it.  God, who is eternally and only love, shows us his glory when he acts to spread this infinite goodness, in both mercy and compassion. When he relents from sending well-deserved judgment, when he gives the underserving another opportunity because of his grace, when he acts toward us in pure and sovereign love, all because God’s nature is love (1 John 4:8).

I have listened to lots of Christians talk about this glory. I have read lots of quotes about it too. It comes down to this: God’s glory is his goodness in action for "God is love."

I resolve to write (indeed to blog) for that glory, whether the subject is art, music, politics, culture, philosophy or theology. I resolve, this night of April 9, 2005, to make this my goal.

Soli Deo Gloria!