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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

When I Don’t “Feel” Like a Christian

Sometimes I don’t “feel” like a Christian. Does anyone know what that feels like? Having been raised in an environment where I was taught that one ought to read their Bible and one ought to pray regularly because if one does not do these things perhaps that one is not Christian. Does that mean if I do not read my Bible every day, or if I do not pray a particular day, that I should question whether I am Christian?

I do not think these things actually indicate whether one is a Christian. Does that mean that I think Christians should not read the Bible or pray? No, I do not think that. However, if a person fails to read his or her Bible or pray, say for instance in a given week, that certainly does not negate their being Christian. So why sometimes does it make me feel guilty if I do not pray or if I do not read my Bible regularly?

I find it interesting that much of my fundamentalist upbringing still lingers around in my thinking, and “feelings” for that matter. Guilt was a big part of my fundamentalist upbringing. You should feel guilty (or you are guilty) if you fail to follow the typical fundamentalist “do’s” and “do not’s” list. For example, I can recall when I was younger, if a member of our church did something wrong (i.e. a teenage girl got pregnant, or a teenage guy was arrested for whatever) it was attributed to a lack of something in their lives that they should have been doing, such as reading their Bible, or attending church more regularly, etc. And that is why they got into trouble or committed an evil act. Moreover, if these notions were not tossed about then the notion that that particular person (the one who committed the “act”) may perhaps not really be a Christian.

Interestingly, this same church taught, at least verbally, that one could not do anything to gain or merit salvation. However, if one did not do certain things then perhaps that person was not “saved.” Does anyone else see the problem in this thinking? I do think that reading the Bible and praying regularly are important. I also think that regular church attendance is important. However, if someone misses a week or more of these things does that give cause for them to question that they are Christian? By no means! So why, sometimes, do I still “feel” like a “non-Christian” if I fail to do these things? Woe is I!


Blogger Theway2k said...

I agree that Bible reading and Church attendance is not the measure of one who is a Christian.

Nonetheless, there are certain Christian actions that draw one closer to God: Worship, Praying and reading might be included in that.

If you are feeling the "Woe is I" syndrome it might merely mean the Holy Spirit is simply trying to guide you into a particular area of your life. Don't toss it, go with it.


10:41 AM, June 25, 2006  
Blogger Gage Browning said...

As one who ran out of "that type" of fundamentalism... I feel your pain.

The Law does a good enough job on my conscience... (guilt) the other "blue laws" are just a kind of "piling on" or "dogpiling" (term I used when I was a kid).

2:45 PM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Brett said...

I just posted about feelings the other day. The thing to remember is that our relationship, salvation, and security with God is not dependent on our feelings. Thank God.

4:14 PM, June 26, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Hey everyone,

Interesting feedback from each of you. I guess in this post-post (or in this comment to my own post)I should state that what I continually remind myself, when I get into this "I do not feel like a Christian mode", of the truth of the cross.

It matters not what I feel today, for tomorrow that will change. However, it never changes that Christ died and was resurrected and that is where my hope lies, and no matter how I feel right now, or later, etc., My hope is always in Christ, and His substitutionary atonement that I might I might be saved. This is true no matter how I feel from day to day.

7:55 PM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous DeeDee said...

This may be a few years late, but AMEN BROTHER!

12:35 PM, November 12, 2009  

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