CIT 2018 – Register Now !
This is a series based off of things we teach Compassion Corp Intensive Training (CIT) students. We think this is good enough for anyone to learn, so thought the blog would be a great resource to share! If anyone is interested in diving deeper than a week or knows a student that would thrive learning material like this; CIT 2018 applications are being accepted NOW and can be found at breathepartners.com/compassioncorp. CIT 2018 is in Bercy, Haiti and is June 7, 2018 – July 15, 2018. CIT 2018 is launching Philadelphia, Pennsylvania June-July 2018.
There is not necessarily a round of cheers and applause at the news of diving into the Old Testament, or what some might call “the necessary burden of being on mission”. Isaiah in particular is a book that we talked about with CITs this past summer in Haiti.
There are willing smiles from students but I am aware of some invisible internal sighs at an expected boredom in this activity. Now, how do we reconcile this with the difference of reaction from Barry Webb? In his book The Message of Isaiah, Webb wrote “In studying Isaiah I have soared into the heavens and seen the glory of God, and with new eyes I have seen this world and my own place in it. The view has been breathtaking”.
Perception of Old
When I was young, I think I believed there was an internal timer for reading the Old Testament. Once I was in big people church, working in a full time job, and needing better eyewear for my fading vision – the Old Testament would be perfect for an old person like me!
When I was younger in faith, I think I believed there was an internal “level up” for reading the Old Testament. Outside of Adam and Eve, there was a level of intelligence and education that was needed for understanding the significance of Abraham. There was a definitely a degree required for the minor prophets – at least the ones with names like Nahum and Habakkuk. And I felt a step behind anyway, especially when I went to a private Christian college for some of my university experience – it seemed as if everyone had been to a Bible 101 that I missed even though I grew up in the church!
And for a long time when I started engaging in my faith, I think I was wearing a pair of lenses I would struggle to ever succeed with when engaging with Scripture. Praise the Holy Spirit for lovingly teaching me! This lens is multi-faceted, but there is a key we must plug into, that is important to me, as I lead Compassion Corp; the majority of young leaders are living in the reality of fatherlessness or broken pictures of fatherhood.
If we are going to get anyone in our generation examining the Old Testament, we have got to examine views of fatherhood.
While all aspects of this world are skewed as He works on making them new and bringing heaven down to earth, not addressing the impact of negative pictures of fatherhood on our view of the Father will keep Old Testaments closed and hold back the Holy Spirit from using the resource God planted lovingly in our hands as a free, literate country.
How many people have a “fun, inspiring, applicable” side of the Bible and then a side for “rules, names, and things that can’t be pronounced”? I’m out here with y’all and all my hand-raised emojis.
You have to recognize that you have a view of Fatherhood that distances you from the Old Testament.
Part of this division comes in seeing Jesus – precious, beautiful Jesus with his balance of gentleness and strength – with a passionate love that led to sacrifice. And then we turn to see the Father. And we associate it quickly with, you know….”father”. Cause it’s the same name.
While there are amazing Dads out there with a heavy responsibility that they are trusting God to help them carry, there are also absent ones. There are angry dads. There are selfish dads. There are misogynistic dads. There are dads preoccupied with achievements and there are dads with a worldly view of value. There are dads that are not known at all.
So the Old Testament, before the manger scene (even though it is still totally relevant to Jesus and not separate from Him), is separated from that gentle, walk alongside feel. The Jesus that calls kids to Him is not seen as present – instead it is Dad, yelling at the Israelites who just cannot seem to listen. This God is great – He DID make sure Jesus came, after all – but he also is the one enforcing that we need to take out the trash. We are not enough for Him, and his voice raises higher than we like at times. If he is angry, we are keeping our distance…and from what we imagine – He is definitely angry. Good thing Jesus is not.
Speaking of distance – if Jesus got so personal to “put on skin” and live for us, and die for us….I mean, we will stick to that half of the story. This deity made us – great, thank you, we appreciate the bones and breath and all – and then kept moving, because that is a Dad move to us. So an old book, with some high up being – when we have an up close and personal Jesus? Where is the competition here?
Besides the mass amount of misunderstanding on the Trilogy and the intertwined nature of God that is in these thoughts (the ones that I write because I have felt them) – our broken world has offered us a broken view of our intimately involved Father, the one who said, “This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased” – before any chores were done. We must, must, must study His character. Beginning to understand His character may get us running to the Old Testament eventually as we want to learn more of this Father.
This Is The Father
What kind of Father is this? He is kind, slow to anger. He helps us, holds us close like a shepherd carrying a lamb. While He made us with eternity in mind and a beautiful plan, there is patience all over – to the point where we wonder how on earth He is able to balance this patience with an intolerance and quick destruction of anything that would come against us. He is the protector that allows our walls to break down – the ones we built as no earthly being stood between us and the world.
This Father is intimately involved – no matter the distance we have chosen. This Father is relentless. This Father values women – not only respecting them but seeing them. He gives them second chances, He includes them in stories that the world would exclude them from. He speaks in the quiet, choosing it over earthquakes and loud winds to talk when Old Testament prophets were weary. To those same weary prophets, he does not yell to do more. He brings them in to rest. He claims His own. He loves His own. He calls His own His sons and daughters. He says He is pleased with His children before they have done anything (this is what He did for Christ when He was baptized).
This is the Father we uncover in the Old Testament. This is the Father behind Isaiah – and any other picture will probably not sustain us through the rise and fall of empires paired with genealogies and descriptions of which ruler was an idol worshipper. This is the Father we must begin to explore and teach to the next generation.