Imago Dei (2)

Writing, writing, writing…  I am writing left and right it seems these days. And I love it! I am amazed to see myself where I am… Thank you for reading and sharing and encouraging! I am blessed and thankful!

The following is the second in a series of old bulletin articles…

Mad face.

Grumpy face.

Happy face.

I must be a horrible father because I cannot remember which boy. One of them, either Conner or Casey, was good at making faces on demand. They were quite funny. The happy face was sweet. But the grumpy and mad faces were hysterical because they served as miniature caricatures of how many adults look and act.

Honestly, I don’t know many people—adults especially—who haven’t perfected wearing the grumpy woe-is-me-the-world-is-ending kind of face.

Likewise, I have seen enough mad faces to know it doesn’t take any special skill to scare the socks off folks with a practiced, well-aimed glare.

And if I can be a bit meddlesome, some of us deserve an Academy Award except for one thing; we aren’t acting!

I teased Mickey in my article last week. I am not going to tease him this time. I have never seen his grumpy or mad face. I suspect he has one of each, but if you want to know more, you’ll have to check with Kay.

In the meantime, the Latin phrase Imago Dei means the image of God. When those words are used, it is meant to convey the same thing you read about last week.

Genesis 1: 26a, Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness….

We bear the image of God.

Now some question what that means. There are those who think its about knowledge and wisdom from God. Others see this as something we lost with the Fall of Man. Still more understand we were each created with a bit of the divine and therefore have inherent value, worth, and identity.

Imago Dei. Image bearer. It’s that last concept that really rings true for me. I have value. You have worth. A part of God is in each of us. We were made in His image. That ought to give rise to a happy face.

It ought to also make us pause when we treat badly someone whom God has made and infused with the precious gift of life.

What did Jesus say?

You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Whoever insults his brother or sister, will be subject to the court. Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hellfire. (Matthew 5:21–22 CSB17)

Whose image does your face, words, and action resemble?

It’s worth considering again what it means to bear the image of God!

Les, Jr.

PS. Try to make a happy face right now. Try to keep it all day long. I triple dog dare you…

The Weakness of God!

Yesterday I finished writing the epilogue. I cried like a baby. It was an emotional moment–from the sake of memories as well as the thought of all the work/ writing that had taken place.

178 pages.
61,173 words
26 chapters with a conclusion and epilogue to boot.

After all that, where am I?

I don’t really know.

The first draft/ first self-edit has been completed. A couple or three folks have copies and they will be using red pens to mark it up, I am sure.

There is something crazy difficult about submitting a manuscript and/or letting others have a first look. I am terrified of rejection (although to this date, it should be old hat). I am afraid people are going to look at what amounts to an awfully large investment of time, energy, and emotion and find little value.

Having someone say this stinks is quite painful.

At any rate, I am committed to seeing where this takes me. And being a glutton for punishment, I have already started writing another.

Hey, if you are famous and wouldn’t mind writing an endorsement, sing out!

Sometime this month I hope to share with you a really neat opportunity that has been placed in front of me. But that will need to wait just a little while.

In the meantime, some of you have been following my efforts here and in other places–speaking, preaching, Wineskins–for a long time. I am thankful for your encouragement and support.

I have to also mention my wife, Becki, my big extended family, and the Lake Harbour Drive Church of Christ–I am where I am because of you and God.

You are the very best.

Thank you,

Les Ferguson, Jr.
Madison/ Ridgeland, MS

When God Isn’t

God.

How do you cope, what do you say when God isn’t?

Isn’t what?
Yes, that’s the question, what then when God isn’t God?

I am getting ready to celebrate the two year anniversary of my 49th birthday.
If you can’t figure that out, it means I’m almost 51.

I don’t feel old, act old, or look old. In fact, I am one good looking man. Right Becki? Becki?

Smiling with you before we go a bit deeper.

The point isn’t my age or what I look like…
The point is the culture in which I live.

I am a Burger King guy in a Burger King world. Not so much the actual burgers themselves, but I have grown up and matured in a culture that has told me I could have it my own way. Every time. All the time.

Like most people in the American context, we want what we want and we demand it our way… or else.

And in our thinking, that’s the way it works in a God context as well. Man is made in the image of God–and we turn around and make God in ours.

In my mind, God is like my Father. He is my protector, fixer, helper, and validater (ok, validater is not a word, but I needed the tense and couldn’t say validates). I have meaning because God says it and proves it doing the things a father does.

Until He doesn’t.
What then?

My expectations of God are not that difficult. Not for an all powerful, ever present God. Especially considering we had a deal.

I serve Him. He protects me and mine.

Until He didn’t.
What now?

I never knew until I did how many other people have such questions. Such pain. Such anger. Such doubt about how He choses to work or not in our lives.

Since I started writing Desperately Wanting To Believe Again, my email is dinged daily from people who struggle just like I do.

People who are bitterly disappointed in God. People who cannot understand how a loving Father God sits idly by and does nothing. People who are on the ragged edge of ever believing and trusting in Him again.

If it were you, could you really blame us? If you had to walk in our shoes, would your faith take a hit?

Please, please quit telling us how God has a plan. Really? God’s plan was a brutal double homicide? Or cancer? Or suicide?

This isn’t really about how disappointed we are in God. I am. We are. And He knows it.
He would have to be deaf and blind or zoned out to not know.

But that’s not the only way we have made God in our image. We have this expectation of answers here. Answers now. Answers that make sense and give us hope.

Sadly, those answers are not always forthcoming–and we are not completely capable of understanding.

It is hard when God isn’t God. At least the God we have come to demand and expect.

So what then when God isn’t?

That’s the conundrum of faith.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1Corinthians 13:12, NIV)

Faith is a journey some of us limp on…

Where are your faith struggles?

Les, Jr.