The past couple of weeks I have started following the work of Scott Erickson. You can follow him on Instagram @scottthepainter. I particularly like what he had to say a few days ago about assumptions. He has graciously given me permission to repost. As usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.
Assumptions – By Scott Erickson
It’s assumed that Mary rode on a donkey, but the Bible doesn’t say she did.
It’s assumed there was an innkeeper, but it doesn’t mention one anywhere.
It’s assumed there were three Magi, but it doesn’t give a number of those who showed up.
It’s assumed there was a star overhead when Jesus was born, but it doesn’t say that either.
It’s assumed that Jesus was born in a stable, but all it says is that He was laid in a manger – and that could’ve been any number of places.
Christmas comes with many assumptions—some helpful, some not so much.
Spirituality also comes with many assumptions, and the ones that fail us are the ones we make about what it’s supposed to look like, who is worthy for it to happen to, and what kind of outcome it’s supposed to have for us. Assumptions like . . .
You should be more than you are now to be pleasing to God.
Your weaknesses are in the way of God’s plan for your life.
Your lack of religious excitement disqualifies you from divine participation.
You’re probably not doing it right.
Other spiritual people have something you don’t have.
Our assumptions hinder our spiritual journey in all kinds of ways, and the antidote to assumption is surprise. The surprise of Christ’s incarnation is that it happened in Mary’s day as it is happening every day in your lack of resources, your overcrowded lodging, your unlit night sky, your humble surroundings.
It’s a surprise that life can come through barren places.
It’s a surprise that meek nobodies partake in divine plans.
It’s a surprise that messengers are sent all along the hidden journey of life to let you know you are not alone.
It’s a surprise that you will be given everything you need to accomplish what you’ve been asked to do.
It’s a surprise that nothing can separate you from the love of God.
Nothing can separate you from love.Your assumptions believe there must be something that can . . . But surprise!
May you thank God with joyful surprise at how much you have assumed incorrectly.
21 thoughts on “Assumptions”
Next time I do a house addition I’ll name it Kataluma.
This question of “doing it right” or “doing it wrong” seems to hinge on whether we lean toward Augustine or Pelagius. The vast majority of American Evangelicalism favors Augustine.
I’ve come to believe that what ever it is I’m doing at the moment I’m doing it as right–at that moment.
Yeah, life is a near-death experience.
S and G – the prophets of my youth 🙂
” . . . And I dreamed I was dying.
And far above, my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty,
Drifting away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying.
We come on a ship we call the Mayflower,
We come on a ship that sailed the moon
We come at the age’s most uncertain hour
And sing the American tune
But it’s all right, its all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s gonna be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest,
That’s all, I’m trying to get some rest.”
today was the best day in over four years – we can keep the Statue of Liberty once more and be ‘American’ again instead of DT’s version of Jonestown
in the swirling snow —
Yep, the ‘kalaluma’ (guest room, or upper room) was taken by other guests, so Joseph and Mary got the part of the house where they kept the animals. Luke’s parable of the Good Samaritan uses another word for ‘inn’ – the real word for ‘inn’. But that doesn’t look as good on Christmas cards.
Quite possible none of us are “doing it right.” But I’m not so convinced that is a problem for God.
On a side point, as I understand it, the “inn” referred to in the Bible nativity story a actually refers to the living quarters of a building, and not necessarily paid for accommodation at all. Most houses had stables attached to them for the animals – what happened to Mary and Joseph is likely the 1st Century equivalent of putting guests up in the garage.
More like burning a house down and rebuilding it while living in it.
“God only knows
God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable
To the mortal man
We work our jobs
Collect our pay
Believe we’re gliding down the highway
When in fact we’re slip slidin’ away”
— Paul Simon 1977 —
Well, and I guess the credit really goes to Scott Erickson, but thanks for the re-post, Mike!
Only I think most of us end up finding out we haven’t been building a bridge, but actually painting ourselves into a corner. The trick is self-examination and looking in mirror now and then.
Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful, Mike Bell.
What is often lost in the story of the incarnation is that God can work through whoever he wants whenever he wants. “Doing it right” is not a prerequisite.
Yeah, life is like building a bridge while crossing it.
You are assuming there is a way of “doing it right” though.
“You’re probably not doing it right.”
Assumption? No… I’m pretty sure I’m *not* doing it right.
It’s a surprise that the concept of a “God’s plan for your life” is rooted in modernism.
Nicely done and well said.