I stepped outside for a moment tonight. The light from the living room streamed through the window so that the backyard was dimly lit. As I sat there, however, all I could think about was how cold it was outside. I felt a shiver up and down my bones. As you can read below, I have been really struggling with the debates between the emergent church and other Christians who feel the need to fight over the nature of the gospel. But as I stood outside, I was drawn to the light of the moon right away, and then across in my peripheral vision to the cross at St. Andrew’s Church just over the fence of my own yard. Two great lights in the darkness. One made with human hands, the other made by the finger of God himself.
I find solace in scholars like N.T. Wright who have been rejected by the liberals as too liberal and by the conservatives as not conservative enough–a kind of spiritual Ron Paul. I had gone outside to consider some options, and to consider how I would respond on my blog to all these critics of the emergent church. As I have said before, I do not consider myself a part of this emergent movement, but I do generally sympathize with many of the things they have to say.
But I felt a strange answer from God as I stood out there in the rain. He pointed me back to the moon asking, similar to Job, “Can you make something this beautiful? If you can I will worship you. If you cannot, you must worship me. You must bow your head now standing in awe of all I created.”
“Okay, God,” I said in my spirit. “If you insist.”
And in that moment, like Annie Dillard once said, I could feel the arc of the world beneath my feet. It all seemed so big, and all I could do was see my breath in the air and the goosebumps forming on a cold night on the central coast of California. All I can do is breathe in the Spirit of God that is all around me, and the breathe it back out on the people all around me. This is worship–awestruck, dumbfounded, breathless yet full of breath.