A month with God

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Todd Seavey, a libertarian and atheist writer from New York, has mentioned in passing that February on his blog will be the "Month without God".

It got me thinking, and I think I'm going to make February here on BatesLine a Month with God.

A Month with God isn't intended as a response to Todd's idea -- anyway, I'm not really sure what he has in mind for his Month without God. It's more of a take-off or a spin-off. With Lent beginning on February 6th, it's a good fit.

The key word here is with. Christians believe that God is both transcendent and immanent, both infinitely beyond and above His creation and at the same time present with His people. One of the names given to the Messiah is Immanuel, which means "God with us." John the Evangelist wrote that God "became flesh and dwelt among us." Jesus promised His disciples that the Father would send another Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be with them forever. He told them after His resurrection that He would be with them always.

The transcendence and immanence of God are both affirmed in Scripture, but American evangelical spirituality tends to emphasize God's immanence nearly to the point of an over-familiar irreverence. Living here in Tulsa, the Word-Faith Capital of the World, God sometimes seems reduced to a being a combination of personal errand boy and Magic 8 Ball, handling all requests, no matter how trivial, and providing a constant stream of personal revelations to cover every decision, no matter how minor. I worked with a man who refused to set his alarm clock because he "had the faith" to believe that God would wake him up when He wanted him up.

When I swam the Rhine (or should that be the Forth?) and became a Calvinist, the pendulum swung the other direction, overreacting to the evangelical imbalance toward immanence with an imbalance toward transcendence. At times I feel I've become a practical Deist: God is sovereign, but it's hard to think of Him as being directly involved with or concerned with my day-to-day life.

The idea, then, behind a Month with God is to remember what God has said in His Word about His presence and His personal love and guidance in the lives of His people, and so to get that pendulum back where it ought to be in my own heart and mind. To that end, I intend to post something here in that vein each day in February -- a scripture passage, a hymn, an excerpt from devotional literature. Your suggestions are welcome, in the comments on this entry or by e-mail. We'll start on Friday.

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4 Comments

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:

I don't know why Todd Seavey, being an atheist, feels the need to nominate February as his "Month without God". I would like to ask Todd, doesn't every month qualify?

When an atheist challenges my faith, I always like to explain to my challenger, "Ironic, because my God doesn't believe in atheists either." I base my opinion on the scripture from Romans 1-19/20:

Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

And if I had to pick the modern man that best summarizes my faith, it would be this quote from C.S. Lewis...

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”


webworm Author Profile Page said:

Your timing is perfect! We shortly begin the Lenten Season, which just makes your Month With God that much more inviting. Atheists, liberals and other secular types (but not all libertarians) must continue to moan and grind their teeth....

a month without God, eh?
Such a public proclamation defaming the Creator will likely cause his server to malfunction during the month of Feb. :)

manasclerk Author Profile Page said:

"At times I feel I've become a practical Deist"

That's a great summation of the Reformed Shadow. I think that the Evangelical Presbyterians are Charismatic Reformed, which may be a solution, but I don't know how that works out.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 30, 2008 11:35 PM.

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