While the liberal drift over at Red Letter Christians turned me off long ago, someone pointed me back there today, noting 14 New Year’s hopes for 2014 as posted by Shane Claiborne. The concluding hope garnered a huge head nod from me:
14) BELIEVE IN MIRACLES… and live in a way that might necessitate one. Oldie but a goodie – friends living in pretty extreme poverty have taught me that part of the reason that those of us in industrialized countries don’t see many miracles is that we don’t “need” them. When we get sick we go to the doctor, when we get hungry we go to the store… but when we live like the lilies and the sparrows in utter dependence on God we see God provide in miraculous ways. I want more of that… not more poverty, but more of that kind of faith.
I believe one of the great troubles with modern Christianity is that it lives in most people’s heads alone. Our discourse has been driven by thinky Christians rather than the kind that occasionally throws thinky to the wind. Sometimes, that toss is what we have to do with thinkiness.
Why are Western Christians so fascinated by the miraculous? Because the Bible is filled to the brim with miracles and yet we experience so few genuine ones today in the West. I keep seeing that the most neglected aspect of our church life is the freedom to stand up before the congregation on Sunday and say, “This is how God made a miracle happen in answer to my prayers and yours.” (And conversely, “This is how I asked for a miracle and have not yet seen it come to pass,” a bold confession that scares the living daylights out of a lot of Christians—oddly enough, mostly church leaders—who find a lack of miracles disturbing to their faith.)
But really, God help us if living in hope for the miraculous is not a daily part of our faith walk! Claiborne is right here: We don’t live in expectation of miracles. Worse, we don’t subsequently have faith for the miraculous because we don’t live with an expectation for it.
All the apologists are talked out, when you get right down to it. Today, bold atheism seems to scare Christians. But you know what scares the hell out of atheists? Miracles. Because miracles are hard to explain away, and when someone tries to explain them away, that person just seems sad and pathetic. And let’s be honest here: Atheism IS sad and pathetic
So in 2014, say yes to believing for—and living for—more miracles. God wants you to.
2 thoughts on “Make Miracles Happen in 2014”
I fully concur with the essence of your post, Dan. However, I also see an opposite problem in the particular segment of the church to which I belong (Pentecostal). The reaction against a faith that has sometimes been historically too intellectual and not practical enough has often resulted in a generalised dumbing-down and a wholesale rejection of any kind of intellectual exploration. People believe what they are told to believe and are often highly suspicious of anyone who dares to think for themselves and ask questions.
We don’t need a Christianity that is all head and not heart – I absolutely agree with you about that. Bit neither do we need a Christianity that’s all heart and no head. There’s room for those in the church (and I recognise this isn’t everyone’s strength or gift) who are more geared towards a thought-through approach, just as there’s room for those who are more into the real, practical, supernatural reality of faith in God. These should really complement one another.