Yawning Angels – what a title. Puts pictures in my head just reading it. Also thought provoking … do angels yawn?
Mark Batterson is the author of this book (also of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day). He nailed something right on the head when he wrote,
“We try to make God fit within the confines of our cerebral cortex. We try to reduce the will of God to the logical limits of our left brain. But the will of God is neither logical nor linear. It is downright confusing and complicated.”
This is so true. We could never grasp what God’s will is based on our knowledge or our logic. We know nothing in comparison to what God knows. It would be like expecting a new born to understand the things that a 90 year old does.
Mr. Batterson gives a warning:
“I think it is only fair that I give a Wild Goose warning at the outset of this book: nothing is more unnerving or disorienting than passionately pursuing God. And the sooner we come to terms with that spiritual reality, the more we will enjoy the journey. I cannot, in good conscience, promise safety or certainty. But i can promise that chasing the Wild Goose will be anything but boring!”
The Wild Goose is the Holy Spirit – it comes from the Celtic Christians name for the Holy Spirit – Geadh-Glas.
Wow! I can see this book is going to be one that speaks the truth and is in your face. Making me look at some of the dark areas that I may have. Mr. Batterson writes,
“If you would describe your relationship with God as anything less than adventurous, then maybe you think you’re following the Spirit but have actually settled for something less – something I call inverted Christianity. Instead of following the Spirit, we invite the Spirit to follow us. Instead of serving God’s purposes, we want Him to serve our purposes. And while this may seem like a subtle distinction, it makes an ocean of difference. The result of this inverted relationship with God is not just a self-absorbed spirituality that leaves us feeling empty, it’s also the difference between spiritual boredom and spiritual adventure.”
Well said. It made me think of prayers. As I think about it, I hear more prayers that fit into the “we want Him to serve our purposes” category than into the “serving God’s purposes” category. Not just prayers I hear others pray, but I think I pray more prayers in the serve me category than the serve God category. Leading to the question of what would a serving God prayer sound like. Hmmm. There’s something there, in that dark corner that I might need to clean out. Which leads to his other point of letting the Spirit lead instead of letting Him follow me. I have to say that more times than not I feel pressured by others (more in my head than actual pressure) to pray in a certain way. For example, people tend to want prayers for healing instead of a prayer for God’s will to be done. Who really wants to be sick or hurting, or going through a life threatening illness? Quite honestly, I don’t – I want healing. I would imagine instead of a prayer that just asks for healing, a prayer like the one prayed by Jesus in the garden is more a serving God following the Spirit prayer.
41He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:42-44 (NIV)
Mr. Batterson writes, “I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do to animals.” He goes on to say that he loves the church and that it isn’t intentional. He says, “We have a primal longing to be uncaged. And the cage opens when we recognize that Jesus didn’t die on the cross to keep us safe. Jesus died to make us dangerous.”
Imagine that … A dangerous Christian. Funny how it does not even seem to fit together. But in the Bible times there were plenty of dangerous Christians. Throughout history there have been dangerous Christians. Maybe not dangerous in what we would tend to view dangerous but more in line with the real definition: involving or causing danger or risk. Some that pop right into my head are Peter, Paul/Saul, Martin Luther, and Martin Luther King. Hmmmm This lead me to another thought, about integrity and tolerance. All these mean had great integrity and very little tolerance. It seems that the dangerous Christian has been slain by tolerance. Pondering that one ….
Funny that I mentioned prayer above. For a minute I thought I had gotten side track and off topic. But now I know I did not. Mr. Batterson writes,
“Praying for protection is fine. I prayer for a hedge of protection around my three children all the time. You probably pray that kind of prayer too. But when was the last time you asked god to make you dangerous? I would like to think that when I pronounce the benediction at the end of our church services, I am sending dangerous people out into their natural habitat to wreak havoc on the enemy.”
Now that’s a picture! I’ll think of that this coming Sunday when we all heard out the doors. lol
So here is the title coming into play. Mr. Batterson wonders if the angels get bored because we are living boring lives instead of living dangerously. He wonders if angels yawn.
Here is another hard hitter. Mr. Batterson writes,
“The Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard believed that boredom is the root of all evil. I second that notion. Boredom isn’t just boring; boredom is wrong. You cannot simultaneously live by faith and be bored. Faith and boredom are antithetical.”
I have to agree very much with that. He also writes,
“But too many among us end up settling for spiritual mediocrity instead of striving for spiritual maturity.” “In the pages that follow I will identify six cages that keep us from roaming free with the Wild Goose and living the spiritual adventure God destined us to …”
The chapter ends with some questions:
- What’s your reaction to the ancient Celtic description of God as the “Wild Goose” – untamed, unpredictable, flying free?
- Perfect! It’s a perfect description.
- How have you been living “inverted Christianity,” trying to get God to serve your purposes instead of you serving His purposes?”
- I listed one way above. I also think that I prefer comfort and security over what a Wild Goose would want. So I tend to fight anything that goes against those preferences.
- Right now, where are you on the spectrum? Between Playing it Safe and Living Dangerously for God?
- Somewhere closer to the middle but on the side of Playing it Safe.
- How does the call to spiritual adventure strike you? What is it inside you that resonates with that call?
- I would love to jump right up and do it … but (there in lies the dark area that needs cleared out). There is something inside me that does feel caged and I want to be free, the only thing that stops me, is … me.
- Of the six cages described at the end of the chapter, which do you think might apply to you the most and why?
- The cage of responsibility. A little bit of the cage of assumption and the cage of fear. All of those cages are there because of the ‘they’ peer pressure I place upon myself. If I don’t do this, they will be upset … If I say it this way, they will be upset … They won’t think I’m qualified …. They are counting on me … If I don’t do it, they won’t either and it won’t get done … They need me …. They want this … They expect this … They … Hmmmm ….
You can read the first chapter at Mark Batterson’s website http://chasethegoose.com/
Feel free to post comments, especially answering some of the questions that he asks.