April 25,1998


There are actually TWO letters in here:

This was the letter I started on March 14th and didn't finish...

...........................................................................

A strange, strange night...

All rested, no rushing, no stress, quietness, no outstanding tsunami, no cataclysm into which to fall...the night in a year(?) in which the order was clearly to 'be still'...

I found myself at 7 pm with nothing scheduled to do. The massive update to the Tank was finished early this weekend, the job projects reduced to manageable size mid-week, the house and minutia in 'limited objectives' order...and no sense of 'push'...

Granted, there are 500 questions now in backlog, and 50 unfinished major pieces and projects, and 1016 emails in the INBOX, but I had no sense of hurry, nor sense of lethargy at all...just sweet rest.

The "fever" seemed to break about 8-10 days ago...nothing event-oriented, just the dawning awareness of the upcoming teaching series at my church...the privilege to proclaim the wonders of the Wondrous One!...so many issues resolved or evaporated within hours and days...the divine involvement was almost palpable...the mood so lifted, the strength of will flowed strictly from love, temptations seemed almost comical in their gossamer and grotesque parody of the beauty of reality, and their almost piteous cries for attention and marketshare...

Of course, the situation was somewhat heighted by His servant "Jack"...I was working through Perelandra this week...I don't read enough C. S. Lewis (due to the appearances of bubbles of urgency in my life), but whenever I do, I am so humbled and dwarfed by His handiwork in that man's words...I have never seen theology as good except in The Lord of the Rings and the Singer, and I have only seen words like that in a couple of friends I have known privately...(But then, I don't read much 'fun' stuff at all!)...

The physical combat between Ransom and the Unman...I realized the shallowness and colorlessness of most of my 'struggles' with sin...the constant (and gently polemical) reminder that we are not 'the measure of all things'(!)...the narrowness of our perception of what is real...

There are those who have gone before me in the Lord, before whose writings I know to 'sit down, shut up, and receive with humility'...

I had to do some research on comets for this last update to the Tank, and I became aware how so many people come into my life as 'comets' and exit after I have been dazzled or entertained or encouraged or challenged by them...I can think of a dozen people in the last 2-3 years that have popped into my life, made a trip through glenn's atmosphere for a few weeks or months, and then continued their journey on, leaving me forever changed by the experience...I stopped assuming that intense interactions with friends always continue, and that images built maintain their intensity and vividness...The constellation of my friends are different today than even two months ago, without loss of loyalty, appreciation, or fondness...the interactions have simply dropped off...

....

and today is Sunday April 26, 1998...and I start afresh:

It's been a while since I posted a letter, and things got better, then worse, then better, then worse, now better...

And of course, temptation lost its gossamer glow, grew teeth and scales, hit new heights of internal butane production, and if/when I get within arms reach...bloodstains on the carpet and charred eyebrows...well, back to it...

I carried that cold, in residual fashion, until this past week, and I thought it was gonna resurface today from the work on that last piece I did on "did the NT believers twist the OT to say what it didn't?"--but apparently not. I rested (brain-dead) yesterday, and today has been low-key so far...(although I know I will get "adrenilated" tonight, because I have to update some work-related [for my paying job] presentations on "Trends in Technology Mgt." and create some business process flow diagrams and build some slides for my boss)...

But for the next few minutes I will only muse and bubble and 'free-associate'...

I have been teaching in my local church for a while now (some of you actually told me you had listened to the series I did on apologetics--the church puts these lectures on the web, and just started putting the video of the session on), and the sessions in the current topic is on the uniqueness of Jesus: more than a prophet, more than a David, more than a Moses, more than human authority, more than a priest, more than a sage, more than man...

C.S. Lewis popularized the vivid Trilemma: If Jesus of Nazareth made the audacious claims that He did, then He was either "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic"...and "Lunatic" there has a healthy dose of "megalomaniac" in it! If we are convinced that the words of Jesus in the gospels are indeed His (and I personally am convinced that this is defensible), then we are "without an option"; to confront the teachings, the directives, and the deeds of Jesus is to confront the very character of God, with all the attendant responsibility and opportunity entailed therein. There is no other way out...

When God came to earth, He was conceived in disgrace, born in a despised town (Nazareth, Jn 1.46), grew up in the 2nd-class area called Galilee, in the internationally disparaged nation of Israel. [The main reason it was even dealt with in detail by Roman officials back then is that it was important militarily as the land-bridge connecting Egypt/Arabia and the West.] His earthly father apparently died when He was a teenager, and so He had to support His family of devoted mother, cynical little brothers (at least four in Mt 13.55, cf. John 7.1-10), and at least two sisters with the family carpentry business (Mt 13.56). As the promised Second Moses, He too was rejected and despised and resisted by His contemporaries--like the first one was. And the night before His death, He tried to show His disciples was God was really like--by washing their feet, a task reserved for the lowest of all servants. He died the most ignoble of all deaths (Hengel documents this from classical sources so well in [Crux]) as a "ransom for many", and He STILL serves us as our High Priest in heaven (Hebrews).

Is that your image of what God is like? A relentless servant? A persistent support? One not shacked by arrogance? One willing to attend to the dirty business of helping clean up our lives?

Or do you carry the old image of "God as a passive, but frowning, Judge" around in your head, like I did for twenty years? Can you see a God that "rejoices over you with singing!" (Zeph 3.17)? Can you see a God with a heart that cries "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." (Matt 23.37) as He is entering Jerusalem to die on the Cross for Her people?

Some of the Israelites slandered God by making 'graven images' of Him; do we slander Him by keeping 'grave images' of Him? Passive, dispassionate, juridical? How long will it take us to change like John did--one day a "Son of Thunder" (angry, violent, impulsive, exclusive), and later known as the "Apostle of Love" (cf. I John)--because we have finally seen the heart of God and it has 'rubbed off on us'?

It is a consistent issue for many of us, I suppose, because we are "wired" for daily existence. God seems to want us to renew our minds daily (Rom 12.1-1). He built that wonderful image of the manna: you had to go out every day and get some--it would NOT keep...

Our peak experiences with Him--in worship, in being touched by another's love for us, in quiet times, in the experience of victory in our lives--fade after only days or weeks...

The same Glenn that can soar so high and so close at times, is the same Glenn that can construct a two-hour, self-contained, cold-valued, not-as-good-as-it-looked-from-the-outside, micro-sized 'Glenn-as-God universe' three days later...and is yet the same Glenn that is gladly welcomed back into the real universe (with the hugs and smiles from a Father who never tires of returning prodigals)...
 

Amazing God! Amazing grace!

I am making some wonderful friends here locally, even though the travel and regular-life commitments reduce the contact to a tiny trickle of phone calls and emails. But I actually see these people in my Sunday School class, and get to hug them! They are so warm and accepting and interesting; it has been such a unprecedented blessing in my life...

I deeply appreciate your prayers for me, my health, and my trying to do my intense-job, my intense-Tank, and my less-intense fathering (my two at-home kids are older now, 16 and 19) while trying to stay sane and growing at the same time... 


I have a flurry of travel beginning week after next, for two months, including a trip to Holland (all business travel).

Well, I have to get to work now...I hope the recent Empty-Tomb day reminded you of your yearning for freedom...and of His painful, yet sovereign, intervention in History to allow that to become a reality in your life.

Warmly,

Glenn miller, April 26, 1998


The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christian-thinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)