The whole of last week was terrible for me. To relate, you'll have to imagine being shouldering the burdens which are no less than Atlas'. I couldn't read nor write. Just feel very bad, especially in the weekend.
As Christians, in bad times, we usually turn to God for help or to lament or to throw it out on Him. I tried doing that too but the things that i read numbed my reflexes and i found myself scathing in turning to God. The refusal is not due to my arrogance of not wanting to make my plea as a child to his parent, but doubt to have a parent there at all.
Why didn't i look for help? I did, not from people, but the 'spirit of truth'. I dont mean the Holy Spirit. It's the 'inclination or tendency for truth'.
It's clear that this matter is about the truth. Thus there's no point looking else where for help. Besides, part of the reluctant was due to my assumption that the responds from fellow Christians will be something like "You need to have a leap of faith... can't be a modernist with solid foundation to knowing God... must have faith... read the famous 'faith' passage in the epistle to the Hebrews.."
This i knoW! Hey, I tell people these!
The 'faith' passage in Hebrews? Ahh.... you mean the letter which was written by some obscure nameless stranger addressing some group of hard-living folks more than 1900 years ago! And by the way, the 'faith' statement in that epistle is meant only to the ancient (specific time) Hebrew (specific ethnic) people! Means those people who already assumed that God exists. The passage wouldn't have any relevance to me. Nope, i dont think it does. And by the way, i dont remember what was the exact phrase and the verse number, except that the passage is on the need to have faith.... Neither could i care less to turn the concordance.
And so I go on living as if there is still some sort of ultimate meaning in life. The mind kept thinking about Nietzsche. Not that i read any of his substantial work before, but his famous phrase was hovering over my head: 'God is dead... And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?'
I was struggling. And i know very very clearly that this is my own struggle. My private war. No one can help, no one can give a hand, no one can show a passage. I was alone with Nietzsche.
The moment I explored on the possibility that the Bible could be true, that there is God, words like 'editors', 'diachronic', 'synchronic', 'historical-critical constraint', 'pseudo-theology', 'form', ‘Matthew 27’, 'Bultmann', 'Bultmann', 'Bultmann' ceaselessly came to mind. I knew that if i dont get out, i'll die. No one that i want turn to. I was left alone with Nietzsche.
Nevertheless, in the midst of all that, there was a small spark seemingly anchoring my theism. As dim as this spark was, it managed to retain some sort of theistic belief in me. This spark was one that enlightened me 3 years ago. It made a come back. But this time it did not clear the cloud and shine forth the elegance of Christianity as it once did. All it can do now is to put me back into my theistic shoes but not Christianity. I'm talking about C.S Lewis' morality argument for the existence of God in Mere Christianity. During that whole time, that 'faith' passage in the epistle to the Hebrews came up. I didn't really care. After some time, when the passage didn't go away, I started to feel annoyed! With a sigh, i thought of checking out the verse. To read it again to see what is it really about. Two concordances, one NIV, one ESV, one NRSV, and one NKJV were just within grasp. But then, it seems to me, being oblivious is the more reasonable option. Dont waste my time, so i thought.
And the weekend passed, then came Sunday. Guess what, I was supposed to lead a Bible study group that morning! I didn't know why was i dragging myself to church. In such conviction, there is no reason left for such discipline. I dont know. Perhaps, I still harbour the hope that i will find an asnwer. But i didn't care anymore. Perhaps, i've a sense of responsibility for the group. I shouldnt abandon the group just like that because of my sudden conversion. And thus, i've joined the liberal camp that morning. That's the best i could be in order to fulfill my duty, to lead Bible Study. As a liberal, i can talk with much knowledge of the Bible and yet without having to acknowledge the veracity of it. At that time, that vague and irritating 'faith' passage came again. My guess was that there are still some parts in me rejecting my new stance and appealling for a reconsideration. But i need nothing less than a miracle for reconsideration.
On my way to the service, I thought of reading the Hebrews passage to clear the vagueness of the verse and to set the record straight once and for all. If i wanted, i could just flip through the ESV which was in my sling bag. But i didn't. Because even though i read and understand it rightly, it wouldnt change the fact that this passage has no relevance to me. And so, i thought. And so, i went to church.
While waiting for the service to start, i didn't pray. Didn't care to. Laura Or was the worship leader that day. She walked up to the pulpit to start her duty. I was sitting down there, on the second row from the pulpit, alone with Nietzsche. I look around the chapel to see the faces of believers. I had no sympathy nor any feelings. I observed myself.
The service starts. Laura made her welcoming speech, as usual. That's the liturgy of the youth service. The worship leader will welcome the congregation. Then there will be a short prayer and worship-songs singing before proceeding to annoucement and, after that, Bible study. During the worship, unfailingly, the worship leader will lead the congregation with any one passage or passages from the Bible, to meditation, to prayer, or just as an encouragement-as though the Bible is an all-in-all inspirational manual.
As that time came, Laura read:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him
And I stunned.
Theological debate on God ceased speaking to His people, what is this?
That morning, I ended up leading the group to see Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.