Recently I have become very much disenfranchised by what is commonly classified as evangelicalism; I more or less mean pop-culture Christianity than actual evangelicalism, but the blur between the two often makes it hard to see. A lot of my negative feelings have a lot to do with me feeling like I have been lied to about a number of things, although I have no doubt that the intentions of the people who told me these things were good.
A VERY large part of the Protestant Reformation was the idea of Scripture alone being our sole source of doctrine and practice; that is, the only way we can have ANY true knowledge of what we know about God or how we are to function as His creatures has to be validated by Scripture and by nothing else. There have been, and still are, many debates about what is and is not reading too much into Scripture itself (The Bible wasn't written in a bubble). Even taking this into consideration, nearly all of the teachings taught by people who have strongly believed in Sola Scriptura have been identical. The Bible inteprets the Bible, making it very understandable when the whole of Scripture is taken into consideration.
I fear that the idea of Scripture alone being our only source of how we can know about God is largely being left behind by many who profess the Bible to be God's Word. I point the finger outward towards others AND I point the finger at myself for not taking God's Word seriously enough. I do not mean that people have to be dogmatic about minor points, but I do mean that it is not wise for us to assume that something is true simply because it sounds good or right. We must go to Scripture, all of Scripture to look to see what it says.There is no area of life that God has not spoken over in some way for us to know what He has said about any given topic. It is sometimes hard to put this knowledge together in our minds so that we can apply it to complex life situations, but He has spoken to us. We are not in the dark. Of that I am certain.
"We affirm together with the Scripture, that we are redeemed by the life, death and resurrection of Christ alone. That all blessings (including faith, love and strength to persevere) find their source in the grace of God in Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3). And that the natural man (a person without the Holy Spirit) is wholly helpless in his sin, but God, by His great love and mercy, saves His people by a free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying us in Christ when we come to faith, but also raising us from the death and bondage of sin by His life-giving Spirit in order to bring us to faith. Knowing that we come empty handed and spiritually bankrupt, we repent of both our good and bad works so as to trust in Christ alone for our salvation. For the Scripture says, "no one can say 'Jesus is Lord' apart from the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3). Indeed, it is only because the Spirit first unites us to Christ that we can cry out "Abba, Father"(Rom. 8:15; Gal 4:6). For Jesus said, "no one can come to Me unless God grants it"(John 6:65). Scripture is our only authority for all our affirmations or denials and presuppositions related to the truth of the gospel, which is our only hope. May the Lord richly bless His word as we cast the seed of the gospel to those God has placed in the paths of each of our various callings."
I have healed a lot from getting my heart broken in the situation with a girl I used to date. I am still somewhat skeptical of things surrounding dating and girl/guy relationships, but my pessimism has very slowly been lifted (and still is being lifted) into a more realistic view of myself and the limitations of other people. I can say these things quite easily now, I just hope that when I do get involved with someone that my brain doesn't get so flooded with dopamine that I forget all of this and be as stupid as I have been known to be in the past. I doubt this will be the case, but it would not surprise me if it did happen.
I am really glad that I'm not getting married anytime soon and that I don't have to rush into anything. To be sure, "it is better to marry than to burn", but marriage and sex aren't the same thing and getting married in an attempt to avoid dealing with the difficluties of being sexual creatures in a fallen world may create more problems than it will actually solve.
Living as humans packed with all sorts of types of energys is an issue all people struggle with, whether the need be sexual, emotional or any other kind of need we may have.
But getting back to females...
I spent a large part of my teenage years dealing with thyroid problems, depression, and sleep apnea. This pretty much meant I did not take too much notice in girls, as my libido was very low. Flash forward to today with all of my health issues dealt with, and I have woken up to what it is like to be a 20-something year old guy.
I have begun to wonder if God packed guys with such strong testosterone to drive us outwards.
It's kind of like we are driven outwards to go and do, to mark our spot in the world, so to speak. For ancient people it may have been that they were driven outwards to go hunt to provide food for other people and earn the respect of the other men. It is still the same way today, although the ways in which we do the same behaviors has changed.
I think the whole God driving us outwards is how guys get together with girls too. It is not necessarily anything perverted that drives us out of ourselves but it is that something attracts us to go talk to certain girls. I don't know that if guys didn't have such strong drives outwards that we would ever stay interested in girls.
I say this not because girls are boring, but primarily because I think that if guys didn't feel drawn outwards towards girls we would not talk as often because we couldn't deal with the confusion. Given, not all girls are confusing. But generally speaking, men and women communicate and see the world very differently.
I often wonder what aspects of God or ourselves God has put into the dimensions of being male and female created equally in His image.
I don't know how it is for girls to understand guys, but I definitely believe that no matter how much time guys are around girls there will always be this mysterious, confusing, and wonderful aspect of girls simply being girls that guys will never understand.
I think God knew how different girls and guys are and made us so that we would only have to get to know one other person intimately through marriage. Having to figure out every girl or guy would probably be too much for us. lol.
I have been increasingly blessed by the River Church over these past several months. There is actually a real sense of community. It's messy, but it's good. I don't, in any sense, feel as though I need to be any certain way around the people there other than how I am in any other situation. That may seem like an odd statement, but I definitely think that people put up more defenses when they are at Church or any other large group or organization; I don't think it's a conscious thing most of the time when people do it, but we still do it.
Being able to have a lot of frank discussions with people about life, the Bible, and other things has been a real relief for me. Sometimes these conversations happen at something church related but often times I find them happening more and more out in the community. I talked with some friends from church at Sheetz gas station for a long time in the parking lot last night. We ran into each other randomly and just hung out for a bit. A few days before that I saw another friend from church with their two kids at my work. They stopped by to pick up some food and we got to talk for a little bit.
It is really cool to see how the way Joey is preaching is changing the church too. A lot of people make comments that they are finally "getting it" and are now able to see how the text applies to their life. I have overheard a lot of comments and questions from people drawing out some of the implications from the text and sermon, which means that people are probably thinking about the Gospel in ways they may not have thought about before.
There is much more to say but for now my ranting is done.