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Can You Hear Me Now?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Standard Deviant

Standard Deviation - a statistical measure of the amount by which a set of values differs from the arithmetical mean, equal to the square root of the mean of the differences’ squares.

KPJARA Hypothesis: If this is the definition of Standard Deviation; then I am a standard deviant. I’m not sure how the ‘square root of the mean of the differences’ squares’ looks in life, but trust me, I am ‘different from the mean’.

This is not an altogether bad place to be most of the time. And think of the creative excuses I have access to on a regular basis.

I started Donald Miller’s “Searching For God Knows What” today and while reading the 15 pages of chapter one, I laughed out loud six times. I don’t mean that uncomfortable, unexplainable laugh, but a real live, out-loud ‘You are not going to believe what I just read’ laugh! It’s like when the new issue of Saturday Evening Post comes in and someone copies the ‘funny page’ to pass around the office. I can’t believe I’ve never read “Blue Like Jazz” if this is how Donald Miller writes.

Don’t tell my husband…but I think I’m in love! Okay so maybe not in love, but I do love what I’ve read so far.

Miller spends some time expounding on his beliefs of those ‘self-help’ 4-step formula books that saturate even the Christian Bookstores. I’ve read many in my time and some have been somewhat effective but like many a Bible study, once it goes back on the shelf there is no real lasting change and soon the old habits return, sometimes stronger than before. It reminds me of those roaches that will outlast Armageddon. They become more and more immune to every chemical or murderous attempt at their life.

My bad habits, similarly, realize that my brain has learned something new, so they have to find some new, un-penetrated method to trip me up…and they usually do!

Here’s what Miller has to say about God’s truth making lasting change in our lives:

“…when Jesus was walking around on earth He taught His disciples truths through experience, first telling them stories, then walking with them, then causing stuff to happen like a storm on the sea, then reiterating the idea He had taught them the day before. Even then it took years before the disciples understood, and even then the Holy Spirit had to come and wrap things up. So it made me realize that either God didn’t know about the formulas, or the formulas weren’t able to change a person’s heart.”

He then goes on to say:

“I stopped looking for the formulas and tried to understand what God was trying to say. I mean the essence of God’s message to mankind, wasn’t a bunch of hoops we needed to jump through to get saved, and it wasn’t a series of ideas we had to agree with either; rather, it was an invitation, an invitation to know God.”

This is too good to be true! What I think Miller is proposing, is that God didn’t give us an outline or ‘formula’ to follow in our lives, heck no…He laid a foundation and added some free-will so that even the foundation involves choices we must make. Miller reminds us to think about the summation of our goal is to get to know God intimately!

I guess speed-dating really wasn’t God’s idea!

Happy Tuesday!


Dawn said...

Good thoughts! I haven't heard of him, but will have to check him out. Thanks!

HeyJules said...

Kim, if you like "Searching for God Knows What" then get ready for "Blue Like Jazz" because it is far and away his best work. BLJ made me break down in tears several times because what he wrote hit me so deep I actually physically shook. And I believe I offered to marry the man before you did so back off, sister!

kpjara said...

Dawn: Truly this is some GOOD writing, both humor and depth! and

Jules: I can't wait to read BLJ and you can marry him IF I can just sit and listen to him ruminate!

Morning Glory said...

That last quote is so good! We sometimes get so lost in the details that we forget to simply look and listen to God. We don't seem to know what to do with a simple, uncomplicated invitation. Good thoughts today - thank you.

Heather Smith said...

I think too many people try to do programs to get closer to God. He doesn't want us going after one program or another. He wants to have a relationship with Him. An active relationship where we talk to Him and listen to Him daily. Great reminder!

GiBee said...

OOOOOOOHHHHHHH!! Blogger just lost my COMMENT! How annoying. It was a good one, too! Let me try to sum it up again...

I think people equate "Relationship with God" and "Jumping through Hoops" as one long run on sentence. One requires the other. When in reality, we have trained ourselves to think this way. We live a fast paced, rat-race life, jam packed with activities, and over-booked schedules which in turn cause us to NEED to know how to jump through hoops in order to survive. Therefore, placing the idea in peoples minds that "nothing comes free and easy."

I love what Morning Glory said... "We don't seem to know what to do with a simple, uncomplicated invitation" ... and do you wonder why?

kpjara said...

I have some smart...thought-filled friends here!

Thanks ladies. Good comments all of them! and more questions...

Anonymous said...

Looks like I need to get this book! Kim, thanks for sharing those excerpts. My mind is exploding trying to wrap around what Miller says about making things simple and how we tend to overthink things or what God is trying to do in our lives...or how to get where we need to go.

I'm at a place now where I'm desperately searching for the "formula" that is going to get me from here to "there". I'm definately going to take Miller's advice and, instead, try to understand what God is trying to say. Thanks for sharing my friend. :)