The Invitation to Pass On These Chapters? {Book Club}

I have put off writing about the two chapters we will discuss today from Invitations From God by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun.

The Invitation to Admit I might be wrong

and

The Invitation to Forgive.

So, let’s start with one of the quotations from the beginning of chapter six:

My own experience is that for human beings certainty does not exist, has never existed, will not—in our finite states—ever exist and moreover should not. It is not a gift God has chosen to give His creatures, doubtlessly wisely. —Daniel Taylor

Doubtlessly wisely. I agree, but that doesn’t mean “doubtlessly without mess or a bit of confusion or awkward dancing.”

So, this is why I have not really wanted to discuss these chapters: they are too real to me now. You know when you are in the midst of something that matters to you, that you know is going to form you, that you know matters . . . but. But you are in the midst of it, so maybe your perspective is still too close to see accurately?

Such is the case for me.

Several days ago an older friend from church called me after having read the introduction to Invitations From God“Amy, this book, wow. I’ve only read the introduction. Thank you for recommending it. I can see why it would be a good one for a Sunday School class to go through.”

I mentioned how Invitations is this spring’s book club pick and the rich discussion my Connection Group had around the theme of “Admit” last week. She said, “Yes, I saw the invitation to admit we might be wrong” and for a moment the air hung between us.

What I have been circling around after reading this chapter—and the above quote on the lack of certainty helps—is how to maintain relationships when you don’t earnestly believe you are wrong, but others do.

When you have taken a stand that can be misunderstood or interpreted differently. When you have not done so lightly or without counsel and prayer. When you don’t believe you are wrong . . . but in those moments when the air hangs or the eyes are averted or communication wanes, others hold their beliefs equally earnestly.

We are not talking about a bunch of adolescent hotheads. We are talking about mature, sincere Christ followers.

And then I have to write about this chapter and the chapter on forgiveness and I want to say, “Jesus, why do you love me enough to stalk me? Why don’t you just let me have a pass on something :).” And he smiles and says, “Because like all of my children, I am especially fond of you.” Oh right, there is that.

I absolutely loved the list of invitations Jesus extended to others about what they thought they knew. Jesus was so good at asking questions and extending invitations. As his follower, I want to grow in those disciplines and skills.

This quote is a keeper for me:

“Certainty can blind people. It can limit what one sees. Certainty is God’s purview. Faith is ours. Faith doesn’t depend on certainty. Faith is needed when our doubts exist and knowledge is partial. God wants faith. And on the last day it is faith that God commends, not certainty.”

And the bit about the different types of blood cells and how the body of Christ needs both. So helpful. Right now are you more like a white cell or a red cell? How is God using you for His body?

The Lenten devotional I’m using this year is by Amy Boucher Pye and focuses on forgiveness (The Living Cross: Exploring God’s gift of forgiveness and new life). I recommend it because each week has been devoted to a group, such as the prophets, or the fallen kings, or the early church. Giving enough time to reflect on a group and the subject of forgiveness, but also enough moving along to stay engaged with the subject. God’s pathway to relationship through forgiveness (be it relationship with Him, ourselves, or others) shows his very heart. How much he is for us and our good.

So, that’s a bit about how these chapters have intersected with my life and informed me these last two weeks. How have they intersected and informed you? What stood out, encouraged, or challenged you?

See you in the comments :),

Amy

PS: The Reading Plan

  • March 12th: Intro and Chapter 1
  • March 21st: Chapters 2 and 3
  • March 28th: Chapters 4 and 5
  • April 4th: Kimberlee Conway Ireton
  • April 11th Chapters 6 and 7
  • April 18th Chapters 8 and 9
  • April 25th Chapters 10 and 11

5 Comments

  1. Elizabeth April 10, 2017

    Oh man — admit I’m wrong? That has been the chief struggle of my existence, for as long as I can remember. And it’s not as if I haven’t had ample opportunity to practice. I have. I’ve just failed to take it much of the time. Am beginning to respond better, but still slow on this one.

    And that verse in Ephesians 4? It jumped out at me a couple months ago as something very valuable, so I paid attention when I saw it again.

    1. Amy Young April 11, 2017

      Ephesians 4 has been a key passage for about 10 years.

      What I’m processing through in this season with it is the distinction between unity (which God is clearly desiring for us and it is tied to spiritual maturity) and conformity. Conformity seems to focus more on the outward appearance — does it “look good”. How can we strive for unity without it tipping into conformity? Such are the thoughts I’ve been pondering 🙂

  2. Raven April 11, 2017

    “Certainty can blind people. It can limit what one sees. Certainty is God’s purview. Faith is ours. Faith doesn’t depend on certainty. Faith is needed when our doubts exist and knowledge is partial. God wants faith. And on the last day it is faith that God commends, not certainty.”

    I highlighted the same quote. Definitely a keeper. God loves us just the same as when we are right and when we are wrong. He requires faith not certainty.

    I also liked this: “The type of humility that admits you are wrong when you know you are wrong is confession. The humility that admits you might be wrong when you’re pretty sure you’re right is maturity. Without both types of humility, we become rigid and unteachable.”

    1. Amy Young April 11, 2017

      Oh I liked that one too! Thanks for typing it out. I wonder how this chapter relates to the classes you’re taking and the papers you need to write this week (maybe not at all :)) . . . just thinking out loud!

  3. Kathy Vaughan February 23, 2018

    I didn’t read the book (although after reading this I really want to now), and I don’t even know how I ended up on this page, a year later, but my favorite quote is from Amy: “Jesus, why do you love me enough to stalk me? Why don’t you just let me have a pass on something :).” And he smiles and says, “Because like all of my children, I am especially fond of you.” Sometimes I feel He is stalking me, won’t let me have a pass, is bound and determined that He won’t give up on me till I deal with whatever it is I need to deal with – and I know it is because He loves me. Seems like that’s what it takes for me sometimes. I don’t let go easily. Thanks, Amy!

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