Tolstoy and Todd Agnew on a Friday Afternoon

Ok, so it's late on a Friday afternoon, and I am taking the opportunity to hang out in a coffee shop and read. Well, not anymore - I'm writing and up to this point, I have not discovered how to do those things simultaneously. Pray that I never do...I have trouble managing the hyenas of busyness as it is.

I stumbled across this quote from Tolstoy, and have not been able to get it out of my mind. Let's see if it has the same impact on you. Tolstoy wrote, "There are two Gods. There is the God that people generally believe in - A God who has to serve them (sometimes in very refined ways, say by merely giving them peace of mind). This God does not exist. But the God whom people forget - the God whom we all have to serve - exists, and is the prime cause of our existence and of all that we perceive."

What is your reaction to that? That one will kick you right square in the butt, won't it? It does remind me so much of where our current culture of Churchianity sits. God is our big 'ol buddy in the sky just waiting for us to place our order. Then we stiff Him out of the 10% tip each month, and scream bloody murder if our orders are not fulfilled in a timely manner, and exactly they way we want them.

In too much of our current culture, God exists to serve us. It is really not much different than "The Secret" is it? Purveyors of "The Secret" state that the universe is obligated to respond to our energy. That it has a virtual conveyor belt of presents it wants to give us if we will only put out "positive vibes." Our station in life is determined by our own thoughts. Again, culture has emasculated the Sovereign God and creator of the very universe they believe to be in control of the conveyor belt o' gifts.

This is nothing new - it's in Genesis 3, isn't it? The serpent tempts Adam and Eve by telling them that if they eat the fruit they would be like God. We still like to think that we are on at least the same level as God. We can make Him serve us - we don't have to bend our knees to His will at all.

It's very seductive isn't it? It seems like such a great idea that we could somehow control God, and make Him bend to our wills. The thought can be intoxicating at times, but we snap out of it when we think about it. My will has gotten me into much more trouble than God's has. The trouble my will has produced brought only pain to myself and to others. God's will has often produced pain, but only to make me more like Christ.

I know that to be the case, and so do many of you. So why do we still buck? Why do we still fight and try to bend Him to our finite will? Here's a quick test - If you got everything you prayed for this morning, how would the world be changed? Would it, or would you just have less inconvenience and more comfort and stuff?

If you have not listened to it yet, I highly recommend Todd Agnew's latest CD, "Better Questions." It is not for the faint of heart, but if you're reading this blog you are more than ready for it.

As a recovering addict, I can tell you these lyrics are like a soothing balm on open sores. It may sting a bit at first, but it brings comfort. It's gut honest which is something those of us in recovery appreciate.

In "If You Wanted Me," Todd writes these questions, "If you wanted me to walk on water, why did you make the solid ground seem so right?" "Your creation is a temptation for me. If you wanted me to love you only, why did you make the moonlight sparkle in her eyes?" "It's hard to trust that your dreams are so much better than mine. If you wanted me to die to myself, why did you make me fall so deeply in love with Life? If you wanted me to surrender, why did you make these hands able to hold on so tight? If you wanted me to be like you, why did you make me like me?"

Incredible. Two artists wrestling with the same concept. Art is a wonderful gift isn't it? It did not come from a mystical conveyor belt controlled by an inanimate, ambiguous "universe." Art comes from the ultimate creator - the Great I Am.

It never ceases to amaze me that He gives us free will - the one thing he does not control is our hearts. If we loved him out of duty, it would not be love. It is why our greatest gift to Him is our love and devotion. It is through them that we serve Him.

Are you serving, or demanding service?

Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...Forgive us for our past prayers and actions that are more about our kingdom and our wills. Cause us to be more like your son, and break our hearts for our communities. Use us any way you wish - you are our King.

2 Response to "Tolstoy and Todd Agnew on a Friday Afternoon"

  • St. Clinton Says:

    God has used Todd Agnew's music many times to restore my sanity.

  • Tal Prince Says:

    He's a very transparent songwriter, and I love that. I'll listen to bad singer sing transparent songs. I happen to love Agnew's voice and his writing just seals the deal for me.

    He does help restore sanity, and other than Christ, I find it takes someone who has experienced similar insanity to help restore mine. ;)