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Charles Blondin was a world-renowned tightrope artist and acrobat. On June 30, 1859, before a stunned crowd of 100,000 excited onlookers, Blondin was the first person to cross Niagara Falls by tightrope. He crossed 1,100 feet on a single three-inch hemp cord, strung from 160 feet above the falls on one side to a spot 270 feet above the falls on the other. The breathless assembly watched him accomplish, step by slow step, a feat most believed impossible.

But Blondin was just getting started. In the years to come, the daring entertainer crossed again and again: on stilts, in a sack, even pushing a wheelbarrow! The story goes that an exuberant onlooker called out, "You could cross with a man in that wheelbarrow!" Blondin agreed and invited the man to climb in. The spectator nervously declined.

My dysfunctional relationship with God was often like that. I've always believed in God, just not enough to trust him with my whole life in his wheelbarrow. I knew God could fulfill his promises, but I was never sure he'd do it for me. My selfish Christian Atheist view was that God existed for me, rather than I for him. If he'd do what I thought he should, I'd trust him more. If he'd come through for me, I'd give him more of my life. If he made my life better and pain-free, I'd believe him more passionately. But anytime God didn't meet my expectations, we had a problem. God created me in his image. I returned the favor and created him in mine. The kind of God I wanted to believe in was this: if he's not what I want, then he can't have my whole life….

Every day, we'll choose to live out our belief in God instead of believing in the world or ourselves. When we truly know God, rather than living ashamed of our past of doubting God's ...

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The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living As If He Doesn't Exist
Zondervan
2010-03-20
256 pp., $13.59
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July 2010

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