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Friday, May 18, 2012

Paradoxology - "The glory of God seen in absurdity."

paradoxology - "The glory of God seen in absurdity."

Don't you see this in your life?  God showing up in the craziest of places using the craziest of things and the craziest of people to accomplish the craziest of purposes.  As Phillip Yancey said, "Sometimes what you press into by faith only make sense when experiences it in reverse."

Reverse engineering.

Retrospect.  That's another word for it.  Or "hindsight is 20/20".  Right.  We come up with these little words to try to explain paradoxology.  That things often only make sense when we look back and see "the root out of dry ground" that we didn't see in the moment.

I think the Lord has been trying to show me how to trust him in the middle of paradox.  That in the same moment I can fully trust him and be filled with fear.  That I can really love my life and be nursing a low-grade fever of frustration.  That I can really revel in my job and at the same time want to pull my hair out when I'm trying to balance a budget or work through a conflict with someone.  That I can see God moving all around me and feel an absence of his presence deep within my heart.

That is why someone came up with the phrase: "Part of me feels...while another part of me feels..."

Yeah...paradox.  We have literally broken ourselves into "little selves" inside ourselves to reconcile this concurrent reality that is none other than "paradox".  The Psalmist said, "Why so downcast, oh my soul?" recognizing that talking to yourself about yourself is sometimes the most perfectly sane thing to do to maintain sanity.  You can completely be consecrated to God and your soul can be downcast within you.  I know, that seems odd.  But Odd and God aren't mutually exclusive in case you haven't been in the redemptive rodeo for all that long.

We want to make up out of I Cor. 14 that God is not a "God of confusion, but of order", yet the context is talking about crazy people making church a ridiculous show of "spiritual gifts" and looking to innocent bystanders like they were "cookoo for cocoa puffs" or "spiritual space cadets".  God doesn't do stupid things like that, but it doesn't mean that he won't use unlikely and unorthodox methods to move us toward "Christ-likeness".

I feel like a living paradox at times.  Like Moses who wanted God to kill him in the wilderness when the pressure of leading temperamental people just got to be too much all the while glowing while coming off the mountain because he has been in God's presence.  Like Elijah who just called down fire from heaven and routed the prophets of Baal only to be on the run from Jezebel the next day hiding out in the wilderness and flirting with thoughts of suicide.  Thankfully God met these "heroes of the faith" in the middle of their emotional mess and patiently let them be themselves...to be real about their feelings.  "To bless in the mess"...this is God's tender way.

In almost every paradoxical case the pattern went something like this....

1. Ad"vent"ure leading to an emotional crash of the soul.
2. Venting out the deep and raw emotional sewage of the soul.
3. Ad"vent" where this coming of the new is surfacing in the soul.
4.  Back to Ad"vent"ure that takes you on the roller coaster once again.

and on and on and on...

Adventure....Venting...Advent....Adventure...Venting...Advent...Adventure...etc.

I'm so glad that God seems to use this process in biblical leadership patiently leading us through each stage with trust and truth.  There is no one like Him.  It isn't "Sopranos Leadership" or "Trump Leadership" or "Stephen Covey Leadership" or even "Maxwell Leadership"...but the Bible is replete with examples of this paradoxology...God's glory being seen in the middle of the absurd.

I'm quite glad about this, because I don't think I could be in ministry/leadership if it weren't for the biblical evidence to support this sort of theory.

And maybe it is less theory and more theology.  But I'll leave that ratification to some scholar smarter than myself.

Thank you for your grace, Lord.  As I am graced by you, I will, in turn, be more gracious to myself and others all around me.