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A Question

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#1 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:11 PM

So I've been a Christian but not really practising for a few years, though we've dabbled and will find a place to go again one day. One reason I struggle to get back into a church is how naive I think some christians are.

One thing I would like to know your impression on:

At the moment we're going through some difficult issues. Everyone around me keeps saying having faith, and God will help you find a way so have faith - and the 'I believe everything happens for a reason' and so forth. But I struggle with this. Because I don't understand why the first world issues should be met when there are millions of people around the world who are eating out of garbage bins and struggling for a piece of bread to eat. Why should God provide for my needs simply 'if I have faith' when he doesn't supply their needs?

So I would love a Christian, and even non-christian perspective on this. This is why I struggle going back to church. I would have a hard time just saying 'Oh it is a part of God's will', or to 'Have Faith in that God will open a door, or provide my needs' when I am sure there are millions of people crying out to have their needs met yet God is obviously not throwing down dollars or bread in their path.

As said, I am on no sides of the fence so happy to hear both opinions. But I have a lot of difficulty praying for God to meet my needs when I feel it is a selfish prayer, when it such a lesser need than those all over the world who don't have enough food or water to survive.

Edited by Katakacpk, 08 December 2012 - 02:12 PM.

#2 Mitis angelam

Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:43 PM

I think there are a few separate issues tangled up in what you're asking.

First up, I definitely take issue with the idea that if we have enough faith when we ask God for something, we'll get what we ask for.  What does that even mean?  How do we measure "enough" of an intangible like faith except by seeing who doesn't get what they ask for and blaming them?  I think it's more the other way around; faith looks at what one has and says "It is enough."

I'm also disturbed at the way this discussion always happens on a very individualistic basis.  God calls Christians to function in unity, as one body, and the fact that some go without is I think much more of a judgement on the community of faith than it is on the individual whom the community is often all too quick to scapegoat.

I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for things for ourselves in prayer, even though others also have needs.  I'm sure Lazarus wasn't the only guy who was sick the day his sisters sent for Jesus.  But I think it's one of the constant challenges in the spiritual life, to cope with the fact that we don't get everything we ask for, and sometimes God's way of dealing with us leaves us baffled, hurt, angry, and lost.  

I feel that's a beginning but a very inadequate response; I'm also looking forward to seeing what others say.

#3 HerringToMarmalade

Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:54 PM

If you google internal or external locus of control you'll find some more information about this sort of thinking. Basically an external locus of control is what these people are referencing, that fate or God or whatever is in control of basically every part of their lives, whereas it sounds like you prefer an internal locus of control - that you control your life. It is healthier psychologically to have an internal locus and believe in your own abilities and efforts. I think in terms of religion you can still believe in a God and have an internal locus, you don't need to believe God is involved in every little aspect of everyone's lives, but it can be difficult to resolve a God who doesn't help everyone equally.

#4 whatnamenow

Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

Even with faith not every need is met...

For me that is what faith is.  Faith is that God's plans for me will sustain me through all things.  Whether i have plenty or little.  Faith is that even if i have nothing i will still survive by faith that it is his plan for me to have nothing.

I have had quite a few large trials in my life and can honestly say i am glad for it. It has taught me lessons, changed my path and most of all taught me that my worst day walking with God in my life is STILL better than my best day when i walked alone.

#5 SuboptimallyPooks

Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:49 PM


Edited by Pooks_, 08 December 2012 - 07:26 PM.

#6 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:26 PM

I think maybe that the PP who mentioned the external and internal locus, is describing my view. And it is difficult because I think in the penticostal and similar churches I have been involved in it is very much focused on external locus of control.

It always bothered me about a 'friend' from my late teens whom I still communicate with on Facebook, who always says God is in control of everything. It always annoys me because it makes my own faith look like nothing because I view things differently. For instance they got into some very big financial hardship which was the result of their doing and meant they lost everything. However what they were doing was wrong at the time and they paid for it. However her view was that God made this happen and they would learn from this, and God always has the answer and will provide and give what they need. BUT I have taken the view that we are responsible for our lives and our choices, and if we make bad choices I can't say it was God putting me through a test. It was my choice to make from the beginning. I guess that gives an example of the differences I feel. Unfortunately with a lot of penticostal churches this is the view, that you somehow give every part of your life on a platter and God provides (so long as you pay your 10% tithes) and will provide all your needs, that everything is meant to be for a reason and God will get you out of the mud. But I can't quite live with this philosophy.

I guess that is what I struggle with.

#7 Mitis angelam

Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:48 PM

I think you're right to struggle with it.  Just have a quick skim over Job to see that it's not so simple...

( ssecret.gif   And as for tithing...that's not a practice which is Biblically binding on Christians).

#8 crackles

Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:57 PM

Here's a bit of reading for 'why does God allow suffering'

#9 Mitis angelam

Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

That link suggests that genetic weaknesses are the cumulative result of sin which has "corrupted the stream of human life itself."

I think that's a theologically unsupportable and pastorally irresponsible claim.

#10 Mumma3

Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:50 PM

Hi OP,

I think your question is a good one, and I also think that God welcomes our questions and struggles, because to me, I think that that shows that we are wanting Him to be involved in our lives, but that we just can't comprehend how He could possibly be interested  in us as individuals.

I have been a Christian for many years, but my early faith journey was one of fear of a God who would condem me to hell, if I didn't follow a pious and religious looking life. Statements like the one you mention "everything happens for a reason" don't really help me, when the world is crashing down and I fell like my life is in the toilet.

This year has been a huge struggle for me - the deaths of 5 people close to me, my youngest son being diagnosed with aspergers syndrome, my mum being seriously ill in ICU and the doctors telling us they didnt know what else to do, ongoing health struggles for me. The list goes on. I didn't need or want to hear platitudes from well meaning Christians, but I didn't really know what I did need.

I'm not a person whon"hears" God audibly, though i appreciate that some do, and I can't  really explain how I became aware of the following, but it was like an inner awareness. Anyway, one night, I sat and sobbed my heart out. I cried to God that it was all too hard, that I couldn't do it anymore, that I wanted out, and that I didn't think He could understand my pain. Somehow, God reminded  me that He had lived as a man, He knew what it was to lose someone he loved, he knew what it was to have a child that others didn't understand, are knew what it was to watch someone he loved suffer. He felt pain, he worked in a real job. So many things about the incarnation made sense to me. God didn't  have to come to earth as Jesus, but the fact that he did shows me that he feels my pain, and my joy.  That night, I was reminded again that I am actually a beloved child of God. It's not whether things happen for a reason or not that is important. The world is a corrupted version of Gods plan, so corrupted things will happen. The important thing for me, is that I'm not in it alone.

I would encourage you to find a church that welcomes people without judgement or expectation. They do exist - I go to one original.gif find a faith community where it is ok to admit you have questions and where discussion about the reality of faith and life are open and often, and most importantly, a space where you don't have to agree with everything the minister says!!! Oh, and I highly recommend getting a copy of The Message translation of the Bible - it is written in a very personal style - and start reading original.gif

#11 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:18 PM

Thanks Mumma3 your post makes sense to me thank you for taking the time to write it. The part about God living through his son on earth - that does make sense to me.

I have to say we tried a church a few weeks ago - but I'm not sure if it is the 'one' for me and the kids. I was confronted at the end of the kids church with 'we have a problem with your children, they are coveting the mobiles'. I feel quite judged and threatened to be honest - I think what they meant to say was they were admiring the mobiles (there were some mobiles to sell to raise money). Yes my kids like nice things but I don't want to be told on my first trip there how sinful they were on their first trip to church, coveting things :-/ I just don't want to be a part of that judging and attitude again.

I think I'll have to try a few churches - I wasn't 100% sold. Haven't told DH that yet... I kind of kept it to myself I haven't felt certain that I want to go back there.

#12 Mitis angelam

Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:36 PM

oomg.gif  So, they put something for sale out on display, and then were offended when someone wanted them?

If it weren't so appalling it would be laughable.  If I were you I'd drop the minister a line and let him/her know about that one!

#13 KatakaGeoGirl

Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:30 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 08/12/2012, 08:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
oomg.gif  So, they put something for sale out on display, and then were offended when someone wanted them?

If it weren't so appalling it would be laughable.  If I were you I'd drop the minister a line and let him/her know about that one!

They had a beach umbrella full of mobiles hanging down from it, so they could advertise them for people to take them home to sell them (the kids) to raise money. So my kids were admiring them.

I walked in to collect them at the end and she said 'We have a problem with your children' and I'm thinking oh oh what have they done! They are usually good kids, though vocal when they want to be. And she proceeded to tell me the problem is they were coveting the mobiles. Yeah... they are kids! They love twirling pretty things!!

So yeah... great introduction... not. It was to be honest a pretty badly run Kids Church. No-one kind of knew who was doing what or what they were doing (I popped in a few times). It was a big church - the adult church great, kids church not great. Though I am used to running with a team a very full on kids program with 500 plus kids. So I have high expectations...

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