Eating the most expensive scrambled eggs while pondering cheap grace.

I often have debates with other Christians. The subject? What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?

We each have our own point of view. We each see God from our own vantage point. What is our culture? What did our parents teach us? What did we learn in school? In church? From our friends? What do we want to believe? How important to us are our sins? Are we willing to give up our sins?

Julie’s post does not address all those issues, but it does address an essential question. What is the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Chris?

cookiecrumbstoliveby

This is NOT the picture of scrambled eggs that sat in a styrofoam bowl along with
a plastic fork and napkin that awaited me in the nuclear medicine lab this morning…
complete with a dixie cup of water–
but I just wasn’t thinking fast enough to snap a picture before downing
my radioactive breakfast.

I had gotten up with the chickens this morning in order to arrive at the hospital
bright and early for a gastric swallowing test.

It was to be a 90-minute procedure that I really felt was not at the heart of my
issues and not what I really needed but I am currently playing human guinea pig.

I was supposed to have an MRI Monday of my liver, with and without contrast…
of which would also take a look-see at my gallbladder and pancreas.
The scan had been scheduled for two months…but last week the gal…

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3 thoughts on “Eating the most expensive scrambled eggs while pondering cheap grace.

  1. Very interesting critique. It left me wanting to read more from this theologian who revered the hard work of salvation. I’m more curious, however, to know how Julie’s health concerns turned out.

    Some medical issues in my own family have lately also afforded me some small epiphanies about the grace that can come from suffering. Without getting into too many personal details, my small experiences of grace was not afforded by the personal suffering caused by the denial of pleasure and the acceptance of pain that naturally follows from the meticulous obedience to strict doctrinal rules. I’m not saying that the suffering that flows from such strict obeisance doesn’t provide a path to God’s grace – I’m just explaining my humble experience of grace through suffering.

    Let me first explain that the voluntary form of suffering that I am describing does not come as naturally to me as it does for other people that I have known. I always believed in personal responsibility, in doing one’s duty for people who also do their duty. I have always cherished and guarded my own personal honor and integrity in this way to the point of righteous indignation at those who challenged my integrity and displayed a lack of honor on their own part. I like to be affronted by unfairness. It surprised me therefore to find out that part of the suffering that engendered my small experiences of grace required that I completely subordinate my righteous pride of integrity in proper rule following beneath the needs of the person that I love.

    Again, at the risk of getting too personal, let me provide an illustration. With Amnesic Mild Cognitive Impairment (aMCI) a person’s memory is declining at a rate that is greater than the average for a person of that age. With such memory loss, as a once highly confident person increasingly loses assurance of their grasp of reality, that person’s anxiety and distress naturally increases, and the increase in anxiety can actually exacerbate the memory loss. That person therefore, without even initially understanding why, can lash out and cry irrationally in their fear and distress. The family member recipients’ first reaction to this erratic behavior can be pretty dismissive and self protective, or even long sufferingly resentful. At least that was my first pride protecting reaction: “This is totally unfair”.

    As this has progressed, I finally recognized that more was wrong here than that my family member had become increasingly embittered and self concerned with age. After more difficultly than one might imagine, we finally got a diagnosis and some treatment. Knowing that, if our situations were reversed, this person would have turned over Heaven and Hell to try to figure out the cause of my distress, I can’t tell you how guilty I feel about the time this took me to figure out.

    As doctors continue to formulate a prognosis, we have also been provided with some appreciable improvements in treating the symptoms. I can tell you that just knowing what is going on has been, literally, a Godsend. Once we knew what was happening, we have joined together as a family like never before. Friends and caregivers have been amazing.

    I relate all of this, not to glean sympathy for me or my family. Most of us go through suffering of some sort, especially if we live long enough, and many have it far worse. We are all going to die of something some day. So please spare your pity for those worse off. Really.

    My point in confessing this experience of suffering isn’t to model for readers here my latest in horse hair shirts. Instead, what I am relating comes from a place of bountiful love, gratitude and joy.

    If it is grace that my family is experiencing, and I think it is, I don’t suppose it’s “cheap” if one sees it as a price in some sales transaction. For me at least, however, I don’t really see such grace through suffering as a transaction between me and God. It’s a joyful gift that we receive the more give ourselves away for free. My bargain basement price for grace is to give to someone in my family that I love more than my life. Imagine what it takes to give your suffering away to strangers and even enemies? In my selfish sinners protective shell, can’t imagine that generosity of self, or the joy, but I’m trying, I’m still trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @tsalmon

      Without getting into too many personal details, my small experiences of grace was not afforded by the personal suffering caused by the denial of pleasure and the acceptance of pain that naturally follows from the meticulous obedience to strict doctrinal rules. I’m not saying that the suffering that flows from such strict obeisance doesn’t provide a path to God’s grace – I’m just explaining my humble experience of grace through suffering.

      We are supposed to obey God, but I don’t think that involves self-inflicted suffering just for the sake of suffering. Hopefully, that is not what you are talking about.

      Do Christians suffer? Yes, but that suffering involves the sacrifices we make for the sake of those we love, caring for others with the same fervency that we care for our self

      At various times people have inflicted unnecessary torment upon themselves in the name of Christian mortification (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10578b.htm). Self flagellation is stupid, but people have done it and still do it.

      Like

    2. @tsalmon

      I suppose I should also mention another aspect of suffering. God uses the pain we receive without seeking it for the good of those who love Him. That I think is what you are describing.

      Like

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