Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Dinner Conversation

Let’s have a good dinner conversation 21st Century-style, via the internet. We might call it an e-dinner (which we will hopefully find to be very rich, yet very low in fat and calories). Allow me to start with a little story and then the question for the evening:

It was more than ten years ago,… but it was one of those rare conversations that will vividly remain with me for life. It was a special treat to be out in the Desert, sitting in a Jacuzzi with Bill MacPhee and other great friends. I did not want to squander the privilege by talking about the water temperature or even the bright moon that filled the night sky. So I asked Bill [and now I shall ask you] a question that I had been pondering:

“Do you find that the Christian life is basically quite simple or profoundly complicated?”

More than 10 years has since passed, so I dare not attempt to quote Bill. But my heart can still “hear” the inimitable Bill MacPhee response: Calm, tender, measured, profound, humble, and gracious to he who would ask such a question. That is just Bill’s way. But I hesitate to quote Bill, not only because of my fast advancing dotage, but also because, in fairness, his thoughts may have vacillated or morphed over the subsequent years, just as have mine.

To reduce (but not eliminate) ambiguity, let us all acknowledge that “simple” is very different than “easy”. I have not yet met a believer who does not struggle. Life is not “easy” for the believer or the unbeliever. So the question goes more to how might Christian life, our relationship and walk with God, be best summarized and most fully comprehended.

So “What sayeth you?” You might answer the pending question by your own narrative. That would be great. OR,… I also urge us to use the “brainstorming technique” taught by Bill and Anita Sayers in “Engaged Couples Class” more than 10 years ago, and each post a passage of Scripture that might seem to aid in the discussion. We need not stick too strictly to the question, above. Let us, by committee, endeavor to collect all the verses that might arguably sum it up, or conclude the matter, or say what is actually required us,… all the passages that we mustn’t neglect if we are to remain close to the heart of God. (O.K., let me “bust” myself before any of you do: Of course, we mustn’t neglect ANY Scripture, for “ALL Scripture is…”.)

So,… please click on the “Comments” button below, and join the dinner dialogue. If you offer a verse (or two or three), please type it out, with reference. If your passage is much longer, perhaps you may prefer to simply provide the reference and a summary comment. Please do not feel restrained from offering anything other than “the one and only right answer" (that will surely impress all readers). I cannot imagine that any one passage really "says it all", but let's cover the table with passages that seem to sum it up, and then when we think we have exhausted the subject, we shall sort through and see what we have collectively discovered.

I am done. Now who shall begin?