Monday, March 12, 2012

'Footprints' Is Not in the Bible

Just a thought, based on a comment from a chapel presentation last week by Nathan Daily.

Too often contemporary Christian spirituality relies on extra-biblical writings such as devotional books or 'poems' (is it a poem?) like 'Footprints'. One of the major problems with this is that Footprints is so theologically bland. Certainly it is comforting to think that God carries you through the hard times of your life. But is it even correct to say this? Does scripture support such an assertion. I think, rather, that the Psalms might accuse God of exactly the opposite (cf. Psa. 44; 88; etc.).

The attraction to something like 'Footprints' is that it is easy to understand and offers no challenge whatsoever. But it should give us pause when we consider that this description cannot in any way apply to the Bible. God has given us scripture which is profoundly difficult, both to understand and in the challenge that it presents. It does not seem that God is interested in giving us easy, bland theology. He is not interested in representing his relationship with us simply as one of his carrying us through the hard times. What would Job have made of such a theology?

So, once again, we must challenge the church actually to read scripture. If we want to understand God, and ourselves, 'Footprints' is not going to get it done. Rather, Ezekiel, or Isaiah, or the Chronicler, or Paul, all of these theologians have something to say about God, but one can benefit from them only through struggle. But, really, precisely for that reason they are of exceedingly great value.

No comments: