When You Need to Renovate
Who we think Jesus is, is not necessarily who he really is.
Our thoughts of Jesus need not grow stagnant. We need to move forward, to update our beliefs when Jesus reveals more of himself to us.
“Your doubt doesn’t have to disqualify your faith. Sometimes doubt is a doorway to better faith.”
– Brian Zahnd
In When Everything’s on Fire, Brian Zahnd frames this as building our theological house. Our theological house is the space in our minds where Jesus inhabits our thoughts and speech.
Zahnd suggests we sometimes have to tear down part of our theological house to rebuild it properly. Don’t be satisfied that you’ve already built it perfectly; none of us have it exactly correct. Trust the Holy Spirit to be the contractor for a beautiful renovation.
In this reconstruction process, even when the world feels topsy-turvy, we don’t have to be topsy-turvy too:
“My constant was my faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. That faith did not have to be tied to any particular eschatology, atonement theory, or speculations about the afterlife.”
By putting our faith in Jesus—not our church or our “religion” or our theology—we are free to reassess as needed.
This May Take Awhile
The rebuilding often requires us to be patient.
If you’ve ever done a major remodeling project, you know that it takes longer than estimated.
Our spiritual remodeling takes a lifetime.
“Christianity is an ongoing project to understand God as revealed in Jesus Christ.”
As an example, Zahnd reminds us of when Jesus was 12 years old and Mary lost track of him while in Jerusalem.
“Mary had conceived and given birth to Jesus, she had nursed him and raised him, and she knew him better than anyone. Then she lost Jesus. After a three day agonizing search, she found him again. . . . And Mary was forced to reevaluate what she thought she knew about Jesus.“
We, too, sometimes need to rethink who Jesus is. So we can find the real Jesus again and make spiritual progress.
It requires us to update our minds.
“In the rediscovery we will be required to rethink some things. And that’s what repentance means—to rethink things in the light of Christ.”
As we rediscover and rethink and repent, we rebuild our theological house. Again and again.
And that’s a good thing, a healthy thing.
When we feel that everything is on fire, Zahnd writes:
“We may ask, where is God? but [may] very well answer, where isn’t God?”
When the world’s on fire, may we “find our way to holy ground.”
“A park, a library, a quiet room, an empty cathedral, a walk in the woods will do. Learn to sit in some kind of wilderness until something catches fire. Take off your shoes and begin to talk to God as if God is there, as if God is near, as if God hears, as if God cares—because it’s all true.”
Find your holy ground today.
If this busy Christmas season stresses you out too, you might relate to Jeanne’s post that she linked here last week.
“Peace doesn’t come in doing all the things. It comes through being in His presence.”
Read all of Jeanne’s post here at her blog, then link up your own blog posts below.
Do you sometimes feel the world is on fire? How do you ground yourself? Where is your holy ground?
My thanks to NetGalley + InterVarsity Press
for the review copy of this book
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- On the Blog—November 2021
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