Friday, December 16, 2005

One of my students, A. J., wrote a research paper about Julian of Norwich, a medieval anchoress. She said an anchoress was a person who lived in a little room in the church--a room with a view of the sanctuary. She spent her time in prayer and reflection; I suppose, then, her purpose was to keep the church "anchored" to God's Spirit in prayer. I believe prayer is one of the keys--perhaps THE key?--to the lack of true spiritual commitment in today's church.

A majority of people in America say they are Christians. And yet we see little real evidence of God's love in many people's lives. I think one reason is a vast lack of understanding. Even though the Bible continues to be the number one bestselling book, I don't think many people read it.

It was hard for me to figure out the documentation in parts of A. J.'s paper, so I don't know whether she copied this from a published source or wrote it as her own thoughts:

"When I was younger I will admit to not knowing or even caring to understand anything about church. All I knew was I had to go every Sunday with my family, then after church we never discussed church until the next Sunday. I believe if we could take every opportunity we had with our families or even close friends to discuss maybe the last church service we would learn that God is an awesome man and he means well. By taking God in and understanding the meanings behind the Bible, us as a society might really learn to appreciate God and the Bible for what it's worth.”

Oh, dear. I am alarmed about this view of God. He is "an awesome man" who "means well"?

In a public educational institution, I'm not supposed to talk much about God. I wanted to write in the margin of A. J.'s paper: God is no man. He is the supreme, holy God, creator of the universe; he does "mean well" but that's an understatement. His plans, which are higher than anything we could ever imagine, are far greater than anything we could possibly imagine, and they will succeed.

Later in her paper, she wrote that we can take what Julian of Norwich says "and really understand that Julian truly went through the experience of a religious life in order to tell us what we can do in the future to keep God alive."

I couldn't help myself. I took my purple pen in hand and wrote, "Man has actually nothing to do with keeping God alive--he is forever." We have fallen down on the job of teaching the young about God.

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