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Sunday, March 19, 2006
It's all about who. . . . . . ?

Today in Church we sang a series of songs that were all making the same point.  

"You're all I want.  You're all I've ever needed.  
You're all I want.  Help me know you are near."  

And then another from my friend, Chris Tomlin.  

"All of you is more than enough for all of me
for every touch and every need
you satisfy me with your love
and all i have in you is more than enough." 

As I sing songs like these my spirit increasingly rejects them.  Why?  Because I want my wife and my children and my friends in addition to God.  Why?  Because I need people in addition to needing God--- and frankly I need God in people and these songs just don't seem to make room for that reality.  The two primary realities of most of present day evangelical Christian faith are 1.  God and 2.  Me.  

After all, didn't God say, in the beginning, that one thing was "not good."  Remember?  
"It is not good that man should be alone. . . . ."  The man clearly had God, but God (it seems) was not enough.  Am I  missing something?  

Now consider this related idea.

Over and over and over again, in church gatherings, in conversations, from the lips of pastors, leaders and average Christians we hear these words:  "It's not about me.  It's all about you."  

But aren't we doing the Gospel a tremendous disservice with all this rhetoric?  Aren't we setting up a false dichotomy here?  Doesn't it feel a little Islamist?

In the beginning of Creation there was God and the people.  The fall destroyed this reality. But isn't this the big idea of the Tabernacle and then the Temple-- God dwelling with people? And isn't this the big idea of Jesus-- God being joined to humanity in perfect union--tabernacling with us? And isn't Jesus final prayer (John 17) for union between God and people?  And in the end-- doesn't the bible clearly say something like, "Now the dwelling of God is with people."  

Doesn't this bring the love of God and neighbor into proper focus instead of the ridiculous hierarchies we want to impose on these two commands. In the name of Love, are these two commands really in competition??? Please resist the temptation to get theoretical. Doesn't God dwelling with us depend precisely on our loving one another?

So why can't we break free from this thin-not about me-all about you dualism being propagated on us by so many of our leaders and say, "It's all about Us?"  Us-- as in Father, Son, Holy Spirit, you, me, . . . . " I want to boldly assert that this is the locus of all true Christian theology.
posted by John David Walt | at 3/19/2006 02:51:00 PM



Blogger Jo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:22 PM EST  
Blogger Will said...

Great questions, JD

6:22 PM EST  
Blogger mattmaher said...


7:58 PM EST  
Blogger Josh said...

JD...you have jumped down into the bowels of our individualistic society and are reporting on the mess that most of us don't see at first glance. I hear this. Makes sense from my own recent experiences...knowing God through relationship with others.

9:32 PM EST  
Anonymous JP said...

Whew! You are making up for lost time!
Tomlin's lyric, "All I have in you is more than enough..." All you have JD is your wife, your family, your work, etc, etc....ALL of it is in God...what you have is from God, and includes God and others and thus is enough--that's how I read that lyric. That old notion that God is the top of the list and everything is below that is nonsense...God IS the list. If I don't love my wife, I'm not loving God, etc. God permeates all I am and all I have, so God IS it.
As to "it's not about me, it's about You." While we may want to say we are so caring for others including our spouse, or children, etc, we still remain patently self-centered and self-absorbed, so singing and thinking and preaching about "it's all about God" may serve as a reminder to take the focus off ourselves....witness your many comments that have "I" in them as you speak of what you want and what you need.
I'm not sure there's really a dualism there, although I agree with you that it sounds like it. I also long for the uniting of Love God, love others.
All about Us? Well, I kinda get what you're saying, but as much as there is about us being with God and He being with us and never leaving us, etc...let us not forget that God is still the Divine Other...He is God, and we Are Not....isn't that the basic idea of our worship....God being something other than ourselves?
A long post....still thinking...welcome your interaction.....

12:24 PM EST  
Blogger JohnDeere said...

jp-- first-- great talking to you today. and thanks so much for engaging in these posts. for you other bloggers-- chris tomlin let me know that he did not appreciate my blog re: his lyrics. so thanks ct for reading my blog-- you're the best.

now-- for all about us. Jesus prayer-- the real Lord's prayer-- captures it for me. He prays, "I pray . . . . . that all of them would be one Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you sent me.

this is about UNION-- us. The dwelling of God is with people. It's not the divinization of people but the indwelling of the image-bearers of God.

10:04 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you got it with "the image-bearers of God." The desire for union and utter relationship with God ("us!") is inherent as we seek the perfection of the Garden. If we are not in Them and They are not in us, it's really difficult for us to bear Their image...wouldn't it?
Bearing God's image is more than just being a creation of God's, but reflecting outward what/who God is...which would seem to require a union of some type...in one another....

1:53 PM EST  
Anonymous JP said...

anonymous is JP, sorry!

1:54 PM EST  

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