A devout Christian was caught in a flood and had to retreat upstairs to
escape the rising water. A fire crew in an inflatable boat pulled up to
his window and told him to climb in. "No" he replied "God will keep me
safe". So the fire crew left him and concentrated on rescuing the
The water continued to rise and the man had to climb onto the roof of his house to escape the flood. An inshore lifeboat crew pulled up to the eaves of the roof and told him to climb into the boat. Once again the man replied "No, the good Lord will look after me."
The water rose further and the man had to cling to the chimney stack to avoid drowning. A coastguard helicopter appeared and hovered overhead and the crew told him they will lower a man down to lift him to safety. The man shouts back "No! The Lord God will save me".
The water continued to rise and the man was drowned. Arriving at the gates of heaven he berated St Peter, saying "I placed my trust in the Lord, but he let me down in my hour of need!". St Peter shook his head and replied, "He sent two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want!".
It's an old joke. It's kind of funny, and kind of pointed if you've been in church a long time. ESPECIALLY if, like me in times gone by, you were expecting some divine act of rescue instead of something very ordinary and human-driven.
I'm still trying to get an understanding of "what's going on" with this God/Jesus business.
A couple of random thoughts:
I understand the problem in the story. Our rejecter of rescue wanted to see bible stuff happen, but instead 'god' (yes, it's just a story) sends boats and helicopters instead of letting him walk on water.
The current equivalent that eats me is why, when there's all the stuff in the NT about miraculous healings, do Christians HAVE to be cured by the miracle of modern medicine.
Or not cured, and die regardless.
Why are churches centres of spreading coronavirus instead of the place people go to get healed from sickness.
Etc. in a similar vein.
I've mentioned before, the occasion someone I once respected told me, when I'd mentioned to him that I'd once prayed for resurrection from the dead and it didn't work "it would have done if you'd been in Africa". As I said at the time, my situation could not have been more desperate in any country. If it had been down to my level of faith, well, then it's not about God's power.
If I look at the bible and suspend the 'eyes of faith' a little, I see an enormous amount of humanity, with tiny bursts of something else just occasionally. I get that stuff is written 'that you may believe' but I want cold, hard facts, not someone else's ideas of how they thought things should have been. No, I don't do poetry either.
My friend Marc recently put this post up about being ecumenical. There was certainly a time when I was pretty sure the way I understood was The Right Way, and that approach to theology has a long and chequered past in the church (I've had some interesting talks with my mother about Bretheren and Baptish churches in the UK over the century). So when I read church history and start to compare it with the experiences I've had over the last nearly 60 years, and particularly the last 30, I start to see the hand of man very much at work in the church. Make me wonder, how much do we build out of ourselves, and how much really is God at work.
So I just don't get it. I'm not walking away, but I really can't accept the suspension of intelligence (God-given?) and integrity required to square the circle right now. For you younger than me who've already been through your crises of faith like this, I'm just a little slow, OK. ;-)