Sep 1, 2006

two good questions

This week I heard two really good questions that made me go, "Hmm."

The first happened when I met with two buddies for breakfast and we decided to start reading through a book of the Bible together on a weekly basis. The issue was which book, and the conversation went like this:
"There's Galatians, Ephesians, Corinthians, Revelation..."

"Well, Galatians has to do with Gnosticism... a lot of Da Vinci code junk. Then Philippians is a book of encouragement...."

"How do you know that?"

"Um... because the little page in my Bible before the book begins tells me."

And it hit me... sure - it's good to know the context of Scripture. But what happens when we begin to put a "NAME TAG" on a book of the Bible? Do we limit it... or better understand it... or both.... or neither?

The second happened today. A co-worker at the Boys & Girl's Club was getting a drink of water and then....
"Hey Tony... (slurp) I want to ask you something."


"Why do you think you're here?"

Keep in mind, this guy knows I'm a displaced pastor (and is, in fact, planting a church of his in own in "the hood" where the Boys & Girls Club is located). We talked a bit about it, but the question was a good one. His reason for asking was because I "am making a difference here but look like [I'm] made for something bigger than this." We talked for a long while about what that meant, and I had a chance to hear his personal testimony (which made me cry, by the way).

So... perhaps maybe I can pass these two questions along to you, too. Regarding your life in whatever context you'd like to take this:
"How do you know that?"


"Why do you think you're here?"


JimmyBob said...

I know that my life's purpose is to preach the gospel. That is very clear to me. God called me to devote my vocation to it when I was almost 16 years old.

I emphasize preaching over teaching because I feel more in my skin doing it. I feel more energized and alive. I see better results and people definitely respond with more comments, like they really got something out of it. They were inspired.

Jessica said...

not on topic - but which Boys & Girls Club? I used to work at one as a Program Manager in the Quad Cities. Loved it! Loved the kids and community. Awful experience though due to other forces.

Michael said...

I only know what I dont know and I dont know that all the time but how can I know?

Does it matter what reason why Im here? Im here so I guess I better live

Anonymous said...

Difficult questions to answer without giving the typical "Christian" answer to my purpose in life. You know ... I sometimes don't know why I'm here or what God has called me to do. Is it ok to struggle with that? I am believing it is - it is part of my growth as a Christ follower. I just don't want to get stuck and "do nothing" because I'm unsure of the divine leading in my life and wondering which direction to go. Great thoughts to wrestle with. Thanks.

Madelyn said...

How do we know anything? gives me a whole new appreciation for anyone who has bothered to spend time mentoring and teaching me. Lately I've been so moved by the thought of all of the awesome people who have taught me, supported me, cried with me, laughed with me and just lived with me through the years. I owe them so much...

Why am I do the same for others. I only hope that when all is said and done that I've really been a good listener, encourager, teacher, and friend.

L.L. Barkat said...

It has always disturbed me that we "know that" about particular passages (not just books) of the bible... because of the little labels that are stuck in the text.

Example in Colossians... "Rules for Christian Households." This reductionistic title sets the reader up to expect a list of unquestioned "how-to's" for the Christian family. This completely eclipses Paul's larger message of grace in relationships.

So maybe what we really need is less little labels and more play with the texts. On this count, I've been quite inspired by Judith Kunst's discussion of the rabbinic tendency to "turn and turn again" the scriptures. (See The Burning Word.)

Tony Myles said...

Wow... amazingly deep thoughts everyone. Isn't it odd how two little questions can unearth so much existential and internal pondering?

Me? I'm still wrestling those answers down. Had a tough day yesterday about it all.

Jessica - I'm at the Boys & Girls Club of Kalamazoo, Michigan (

Crissi said...

I DON'T know. And when so many people seem TO know, it worries me. But I also feel sorry for those that DO know, for the words that come out of their mouths actually prove that they are even more clueless than I am. Or maybe I'm more clueless than I thought. All I know is I have been brutally harassed on my own blog for being honest about not knowing, or for thinking out loud about what might be, for it's not popluar with common Christian beliefs. I think they are sure I'm headed straight for hell, and mostly it's over not knowing. And sometimes I'm scared because I'm not sure they're wrong.

Tony Myles said...

I think the catch is that many people DO "know." That is, they "know" because they have a limited view of life. When the first curveball hits, it throws them way off.

And then they realize they didn't know in as much as they thought they knew.

Mrs Zeke said...

I only know that when I think I know I am wrong. Exception is I know God is God and I know that because truth has a wonderful way of never changing. It does not bend, adapt, expand, shrink etc. No matter what we try to do to that truth it just is.

I used to be here because of a bunch of narcissistic reasons now I believe I am here just to love where I can. I have no idea what my path is anymore nor do I have any self delusion I can do anything worth much. So whatever that is acting in love be it quite writing or standing in front of masses it doesn't matter that is what I think I am here for and I guess if I am wrong I will have done to the best as I could what I think God would have me do.

I am only talking about self not imposing self delusion on anybody :P

Be loved