15 June, 2008

Flipping Life

In my previous post, I shared how I learned that one should not take ridiculous risks on a tennis court, if one hopes to win from time to time. Of course, if your hopes are more modest, then anything goes. :-)

It's not a brain-surgery-level leap to apply that to any number of areas of life. If one is not seeing eye-to-eye with a girlfriend, one could try to reverse the whole situation by marrying her. To a person who "flips" many life decisions that might even make sense. Such a man will experience some astounding successes, but "flipping" usually results in yet another defeat. Some of us have been there, or somewhere like it.

I lived the first 40+ years of my life flipping decisions most people could never make at all. Consequently, my life looks a lot like my tennis. People sitting in the grandstands are impressed at how well I'm playing tennis or living day-to-day, then are shocked to find out I lost 0-6, 0-6.

My life is very much like my tennis. I lose way too often to ascribe it all to luck.

The whole idea of playing the percentages, building a tennis point, or building a life one little part on top of another is refreshing and new to me. In a very real way it seems like a defeat to restrain myself from targeting an outright winner, but maybe I've suffered enough at my own hands to begin to do so. I'm afraid I'll end up accomplishing nothing if I don't take scary risks, but I've made a shambles so far by doing things the way that seemed right to me. I always want to be building something, but thus far I fail by building haphazardly, too quickly and with bad materials.

I won't belabor this point, because it's pretty obvious.

Instead, I'd like to ask a really tough question.

In church today, someone was talking about answers for life and said, "They're all in here," while pointing to his bible.

Are they?

Could I look in the bible and know that I should not marry after 10 days of courtship? Could I look at the bible and know that I should not follow a man who comes bringing a message of Christ more excellent than anything I'd ever heard before? Could I look at the bible and know whether I should spend 8 hours a week building the church and 4 hours a week building my children, or the other way around?

I think the answer is, "No." And I think the answer is "no" by the direct intent of God. He simply did not want us to be able to find those answers out of a book. I think He gave us judges and judgement and wise old men and women, and that we are to be very nearly as much to each other as the scripture is to us.

The bible will tell me that I must not start a family without marriage, that I should not follow a man away from God, and that I must work to build church and home, but it doesn't tell me how. I have been told for decades now that the bible tells me how to do each of these things, and I think that lie encouraged me to be more confident in my foolishness. I think that lie is an expensive generalization.

What do you think?


karen said...

I think you're right. Putting our entire lives on the Book is a bit like idolatry.
It's our user's manual, but there is a reason for the Holy Spirit who works in us and through us with and without the Book.

Missy said...

CP, the "HOW" for each "WHAT" is so different for each of us - one book could never encapsulate it. At least not in the number of pages we could ever read.

I think this is the reason for the church and the Spirit - a little trinity of our own. :)

I think we get into the same problem over and over, "Just tell me what to do; I can do it." It's just not that simple to get that individual in the Book. But the Book points us in the right direction, tests the Spirit and the spirit of those we're hearing.

And the Book encourages and gives hope. I think that is most important.

I hope your tennis game is benefiting from this. :)

Kansas Bob said...

KB chimes in talking about answers for life and says, "They're all in here," while pointing to his heart.

Anonymous said...

Tow things came to mind when I rad this.

1 - Maybe I should have read that really long tennis post after all. :-P

2 - You're absolutely right. These kind of platitudes are troubling to me because they simply fly in the face of reality. I mean, there are so many things that scripture cannot tell us. It can, and should, inform & educate us on making our decisions, but the exact answers themselves aren't in there.

It sounds nice, but it's at best hollow comfort, at worst they lead to misdirection, assuming blindly some phrase in scripture applies to the current situation without thinking. It takes our brains, given by God, and the Spirit, sent by God, out of the equation. If God didn't intend us to use them, why did he give them to us?

Anonymous said...

No, the Bible won't tell us exactly which woman to marry. It won't tell us whether to buy foreign or domestic or even explain algebra. It provides for us a plan for life.

If every answer could be in the Bible, there would be little room for faith and no reason to learn. And while we would be dependent on God, free will would become more of a theory than a reality.


Milly said...

As you know I’m up to my eyes in deep so I have very little positive about life being spelled out in the Bible. Tomorrow the judge tells us to play nice then we are 90 days away, I think.

No God didn’t tell us how to respond to what I was told by a friend tonight. It was heart breaking and yet not a huge surprise. Nowhere does it say "Hey stupid that’s the wrong man." I dated him for almost 6 months before he asked me to marry him. We were engaged for over a year, time makes no difference. No I read nothing nor can I find a perfect formula for who to marry. I saw one for who not to marry. I didn’t know when we wed that his lies were just that. I thought when he said that he wanted to work with other couples who were from mixed religions that he actually did. I was wrong. I thought when he made a commitment to God that he really wanted to be fed, I was wrong. I thought he really loved me. No it gave me no indication of how to see through a deceiver.

I still put my trust and faith in God and His word but I agree with you it is and expensive lie and not told by God

mywoodstock69 said...

No, the Bible doesn't give us exact answers to our exact problems or situations. I wish that it did. But God, I don't think, intended for it to be that way. We are human and do have free will and as such, we do make mistakes. However, I think God intended the Bible to be a guide for us and for us to use it along with praying and listening to Him for answers about whatever is going on in our lives.

We are also to use the Bible to learn from and to us to draw us closer to God. I think when people say all the answers are in the Bible, that they mean by learning from it, listening to God through it and through our prayers. I don't think they mean it literally, it's the principles in the Bible that are the key.

Christo Swanepoel said...

My life is very much like my tennis. I lose way too often to ascribe it all to luck.

Did I write this?