This opening picture -”Watching the sun rise from Mt. Sinai” – supports the story I’m telling in today’s “Wednesday video-blog.” I’ll cover some of the same ground in the written version; but this photograph – taken on Mount Sinai in early 2012 – ties in specifically with the short video.Click here to view.
Yesterday I launched an on-line discussion in response to a promotional post that landed on my facebook news feed. The item in question was – in my opinion – deceptive, because it used the title “The Emerging Church” to present ideas that reject foundational Christian beliefs (such as the existence of God, the deity of Jesus, and atonement via Christ’s death on the cross).
My comment/question was immediately removed and my right to comment revoked. “So much for intelligent dialogue and conversation about faith,” I posted on my own status. In consequence, and on my facebook page, an encouraging amount of intelligent conversation ensued.
CONSERVATIVE or LIBERAL? One response caught my attention, and will eventually become the tie-in with the Mount Sinai photograph above. “Sounds to me like you’re getting a little conservative in your old age, Derek.”
I’m not picking on this comment – in fact it was helpful – I’m simply using it as a departure point for discussion.
Here’s how I responded: “Not conservative so much as clear regarding the Gospel. That’s a whole other ball game than ‘conservative-liberal.’”
You see there’s this whole layer of misunderstanding circulating that confuses being clear about the Gospel with conservatism. A Jesus-loving liberal can be just as clear regarding the Good News as a Jesus-loving conservative. The Gospel is an invitation to be reconciled to God through Jesus, and that new relationship can be expressed in a variety of ways. But the bottom line is always Jesus.
MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE MOUNTAIN: The whole point of faith is our relationship with God. And I believe it’s critically important that we take the opportunity seriously enough to actually do something about it. Listen to this story from Exodus 34.
The Lord said to Moses: “Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain… So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him.
The important lesson I have learned from this is the intentionality, the value of being deliberate. God told Moses to get up early and to climb a mountain in order for them to have their conversation.
Mt. Sinai, Egypt, Just a few minutes after the breaking of dawn
The amazing, transformational, spiritual experience I had on top of Mt. Sinai last year had a lot to do with getting up at 1:00, hooking up with the Bedouin guide, riding a camel along precipitous paths in the dark and the freezing cold, climbing at least another hour after the camel stopped, and waiting for the dawn.
Jesus is neither conservative nor liberal… and he’s certainly not moderate! Jesus is the answer to our most essential questions; Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.
At this, many of his disciples turned away and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered, “Lord, where would we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:66-69)