measuring...


I can still hear the voice ringing in my ears...
Do you still read your Bible? How much do you read your Bible? How often? Do you have many memory verses committed to memory? Which ones? Will you recite them for me now? Do you think you'll have more memorized next week? Are you consistent with your devotions? What time of the day/afternoon/night do you do your devotions? When you do your devotions, how long do you spend on them? Do you pray? What do you pray about? When do you pray? How much do you pray? Aarrrgggghhhh!

What do these questions have to do with faith in Christ? Are they meant to evaluate the depth & breadth of belief? Can my answers to these questions (& myriad others like them) be plugged into a formula somewhere to determine whether or not my faith is valid? How does this help to uncover a life dedicated to loving God & loving people?

What it did to me - made me believe that God's love for me was based on the amount of time I spent in these activities... rather than on the reason I was doing them in the first place - love for God. Made me wonder if I'd done enough. And then if I'd done it right. Made me measure myself against others - & their faith (based upon their own measurements...) As though. As if. When I had difficulties, I read more. Prayed more. Devoted more. All in the hope that it would make God happy enough to answer my prayer & deliver me from... what turned out to be me. A religious person. A self-righteous person. I knew the words, & often exactly the address where they were located in the book.. but I was miserable, & there was little to no evidence of a "life in its fullness..."

Sigh.

17 launchings into the blogosphere....:

Erin S. said...

I kind of know how you feel, though probably to a much lesser degree. I was raised Catholic and was guilted into going to church (which I got nothing out of because all it was was a bunch of monotonous verses that were supposed to be prayers. It seemed more concerned with traditions and rituals). Like one time in Jr High I said I didn't want to go and was told in a very sarcastic voice "Oh, that's nice. God is sure happy with you." Needless to say I lost a lot of years seeing God's love because I wasn't really aware it existed. That's why you and your church are such a blessing to me. Finally someone guiding people towards a relationship with God using love, not emotional beatings or (like in my case) mindless chantings.

laura said...

Sometimes I wonder if we were separated at birth or something... but then I realize that you are way too old for that to have happened. (I must state here that I am joking because I have been told that people cannot tell when I am joking).
In all seriousness, I have been struggling with this myself recently, a lot. My problem is that I function so easily within the confines of rules and guidelines... If I deviate from this it starts to become very uncomfortable. So I am practicing pushing my comfortable limits, and it isn't easy. Also, I suffer from the problem of pleasing people by following the "rules" more than pleasing God... which is probably worse.

TPluckyT said...

Hey I like your new play list. I'm tickled how music around blogville is improving! All part of the "blog revival" (thanks Jeni).

I'm with you on this post from the same experiences. When I was young I was forced to read the bible when I misbehaved (punishment, re-earning God's approval), I read the bible to earn merit badges in Royal Rangers (read enough and you will be rewarded),and I was taught reading the bible could cure all ills . . . Are you still in pain? Read 5 chapters and call me in the morning . . .

noel said...

i was here.

digapigmy said...

it's all 80's all the time on lou's playlist. the music thing is cool. too many tricks going on make it hard to imagine starting up another blog. i'm not interested in the learning curve.

as for the post - my struggle is finding the balance. i've been overly religious and doing things just to do them, i've also been in serious funks where God plays no significant role in my life other than a quick shout-out prayer when i'm trying to drive up the hill past red rock after a blizzard in my pick up or singing worship songs that are so familiar i don't even think about what i'm saying.

scoey-d said...

Erin-guilt as motivation for relationship with God is a common practice in every corner of the religious world I've looked in... while God's love for us seems to be the primary motivator for God initiating relationship with us...

Laura- I'M A MAN. I'M (almost) 40! (see Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State football coach on YouTube for appropriate reference.) the link: http://youtube.com/watch?v=aoMmbUmKN0E

Watch it to the end - you won't be disappointed.

TPT- new music that is so simple a smoking monkey could put it on their blog. And I'm reading my Bible while I'm typing this, so don't think that my sarcasm isn't well received by the blokey blokes.

No..el - your mom. Thanks for stopping by.

Brintus - it. is. sooooo. easy. to do these seemingly technologically challenging blog adds. Once I show you how to do it, you'll say, "Hooray for RedStripe!" You too can blog - & I am holding my proverbial breath awaiting your re-entry. Bring it.

As far as balance - I like the word equilibrium better - & motives. And think that God is much more involved in our lives than just when we are consciously, intentionally doing something to get His attention - & I'm thankful that He loves me in spite of the religiousness, the rituals, the selfishness, the needy-ness & all the other 'nesses that I have.

scoey-d said...

BTW: I did choose an all 80s list, though a couple of the songs came out in the early 90s, (like 2 Steps Behind.)

Erin S. said...

This is off topic, but I thought you might be interested in this:
http://www.startrek.com/custom/include/community/tour/news/article/2.html


It's supposed to come to Sacramento at some point, but they haven't released the dates yet.

digapigmy said...

I recently had this discussion with some friends of mine regarding 80's vs. 90's music. I propose that a song is an 80's song if it is recorded by an "80's band" and came out early in the 90's. For instance: Anything released by Guns N' Roses should be filed under 80's even if it came off Use Your Illusion (circa 1991). The song that brought this up was "Been Caught Stealing" by Jane's Addiction. It's an 80's song, baby, no matter what the copyright date says.

Murdoc said...

That was pretty gay Brint.

laura said...

just an fyi. I mute all of your fancy music players. I can't read and listen to music (of which I know the words) at the same time. It gives me a brain cramp. But thanks for the effort!

laura said...

p.s. I was thoroughly amused by your clip. Thank you.

scoey-d said...

Erin- checked out the link - seems like a road trip will be in order, esp. if it comes as close as Sac.

Brint- I completely understand that 80s band rule - & concur.

Bin - y'all gots to stop with the hating - esp. when the trivial bits of info being offered up validate my opinion.

laura- I can live with the muting of the audio player. I'm a MAN. I'm 40! (Almost.)

David said...

"This is the Big 12, it's not intramurals!"

Jeni said...

I spent the first three years of my relationship with Jesus trying to do "enough" because of the group I was involved in at the time. Intentional or not, they made me feel quite inadequate within the group at times because I couldn't give as much time as the other college students who weren't working full time jobs. As much as I miss certain aspects of the college Christian fellowship, like the constant stream of readily available friends, this is one thing I don't miss.

Thanks for never making me feel that way.

Erica said...

your blog, Louie, brought to my recollection a time period growing up when I was awakened by marching music to start daily devotions and memorizing the Bible and it was non-optional. It's seems like a common thread in each of our lives. What a web of lies that can be spun. Grateful for the truth

shontell said...

This is my mark. I do feel your pain in this blog. I feel I have always been good at taking the good and ignoring the bad. Not because I have the gift of discernment as much as I think other people are wrong if they don't agree with what I say. GOT IT!?
I also am happy to hear your music.I tried to go retro 70s with my music, but I was in the mood to hear some others; so, they too crept in.