Eating the most expensive scrambled eggs while pondering cheap grace.

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 in scheduling called
to tell me that the insurance company had told the hospital that I had just had a CT scan
so why would they now need an MRI?!

Don’t you just love insurance companies and hospitals!?

“Well yes,” I explained to the gal at scheduling “I did just have a CT scan 4 weeks ago.”
“But that was a CT scan in the office of a Urologist that was to check my kidneys and bladder
for any abnormalities or kidney stones since there has been blood in my urine and lower
abdominal pain along with bloodwork that was all over the place indicating
low kidney functions.”

“The MRI is for the gastroenterologist and was to be performed at the hospital as he wants
an image of the liver before he does a biopsy…
The same blood work that showed poor kidney function also showed high liver levels with even
the fatty liver enzymes increasing…along with the recurrent bouts of either
gallstones or pancreatitis.”

She told me I could go ahead with the test on Monday but that I would have to sign a
waiver stating that I would be responsible for the full amount until the insurance company
decided to approve it…or not. Something like $6000 bucks…
I politely declined and so we rescheduled for the beginning of February as by then I
trust the insurance company will have things sorted out in the understanding department.

So as I sat down in the lab full of whizzing machines and fans,
I raised a fork full of eggs to my mouth and I asked the nuclear med tech if he was going to
poke an IV in my arm for the nuclear meds.
He replied nonchalantly, “nope, it’s all in the eggs.”
“In fact, he quipped, “that’s probably the most expensive little serving of eggs you’ll ever eat.”

Suddenly I felt like some former 007 MI6 / Russian spy who had been discovered
with Putin himself ordering that my eggs be poisoned with undetectable radioisotopes.

But luckily these ‘isotopes’ emit photons which would be detected by the gamma camera
that was to hover over me while I laid perfectly still for 90 minutes.
The machine would follow the path of eggs from esophagus to stomach on out to the small intestine.

Amazing really when you think about it all.
How amazing is it that God crafted every tiny little detail and how amazing is that man is
trying to figure out how to get up close and personal to watch the Master at work!

So let’s back up.

When I arrived at the hospital, the scheduling gal told me to arrive at one entrance vs another.
So once my husband dropped me off at the front door, I hurried in from the cold and walked up to the
receptionist’s desk.
The nice lady told me I was actually to have arrived downstairs at the other entrance.
I had asked the girl on the phone twice and she told me this entrance.
Sometimes I think hospitals are too big for their own good.

So the nice lady at the wrong desk got me scheduled and actually walked me to the elevator and
through the maze of corridors all the way to the Nuclear lab.
Where I proceeded to wait until my name was called.

The gal working this particular desk was actually a former student who began catching
me up on the last 20 years of her life—marriage, kids, careers, divorce and now remade woman.

As other patients arrived and she kept talking, I made nice by excusing myself so the line wouldn’t
continue building behind me as I politely listened to life.

I found a chair in the corner and pulled out my phone to peruse my WP reader.

Now you know that if I ever see a post with the word Bonhoeffer in it, I knee-jerk click.

And I am so glad that I did.

The post is by Jarrett Dickey who is a blogger, pastor and faculty member of
several colleges where he teaches theology and humanities.

His post is titled ‘Bonhoeffer’s Cheap Grace’
a post based on Bonhoeffer’s writings from The Cost of Discipleship

I have written many a post highlighting Bonhoeffer’s writings based on cheap vs costly grace.
But it should be noted that Bonhoeffer’s works are not often easy to read…they are
deep in both a theological sense and a personal sense.

Talk about conviction–cheap grace.

Here is the post:

The opening chapter of The Cost of Discipleship features Dietrich Bonhoeffer in some
of his best form as a writer. His use of paradox, irony, hyperbole,
exaggeration, and sarcasm makes this one of the wittiest criticisms of popular Christian
theology ever written. It also can make it hard to understand and follow for
the uninitiated reader. In general, Bonhoeffer is addressing the two major
flaws of the Protestant (especially Lutheran) mindset.

The rich and complex biblical portrait of faith is reduced to simple belief in creeds,
doctrines, or statements of faith.
In trying to correct the Catholic over-emphasis on the necessity of good works for salvation,
Protestants have gone to the extreme of making good works almost entirely optional (sola fides).
As Bonhoeffer explains, Protestants have turned orthodox Christianity into Christianity
without discipleship or obedience or sacrifice. In short, this is what he calls
“cheap grace.”
In addition to addressing these two major mindsets, Bonhoeffer seems to be addressing
two other major flaws in popular Christian thought:

You can be forgiven by God without being transformed by God.
In other words, you can continue in your old lifestyle (what the Bible calls
“the flesh”) and be pleasing to God, no need to walk in the Spirit or live a holy life.
There are two levels of commitment. One is for the really devoted Christian
(i.e. monks, missionaries, pastors, etc.), and the other is for the average Christian.
In other words, a spiritual caste lives a devoted and sacrificial life while
the regular class of Christians lives a worldly and ordinary life.
Bonhoeffer’s main point in all this is that God’s grace cost the life of God’s son.
Although God’s grace is freely given to all who are willing to receive,
it still costs something from the one who receives.
What does it cost? Simply put, it costs a man his life.
In return for the free gift of God’s grace, a man offers his life in total obedience
to God’s will. This is what Paul says in Romans 12:1-2.
In light of God’s mercy, there can only be one response:
the offering of oneself completely to God.

On this basis faith is clearly more than just belief.
It involves trust, obedience, sacrifice, loyalty, and commitment.
The Latin term, fides, conveys the multiplicity of faith.
Imagine substituting the English word “fidelity” for the word “faith”
throughout the biblical text.
The reader would walk away with the sense that faith was a lifetime commitment
of enduring loyalty. With this in mind, faith and works cannot be so easily
separated into different compartments. As Paul says in Romans 1:5,
he is trying to spread “the obedience of faith.” The two are linked in a beautiful dance.

Furthermore, the biblical notion of faith implies a change and transformation.
Receiving the mercy of God does not leave a person unaffected.
Grace is the power to live a new and abundant life. Finally,
we can see that there is only one Christian life– the one of total surrender to the will of God.
This, as Bonhoeffer explains, is costly grace.

22 comments on “Eating the most expensive scrambled eggs while pondering cheap grace.

  1. […] via Eating the most expensive scrambled eggs while pondering cheap grace. — cookiecrumbstoliveby […]

  2. says:

    Since I am a conservative Lutheran I would disagree that works have little or no importance. I believe our works are a result of our gratitude for what God has done for us. In other words, even our works are not our own doing, but Christ living in us. Grace is a gift which takes away our sin and all that we are unable to do on our own. It doesn’t mean we have free reign to do as we will, but we are bonded with Christ in perfect fellowship.
    We want to be like him in every way, serving and loving others not because it’s a requirement, but because we are grateful for what has been done for us.

  3. Salvageable says:

    Kathy said it perfectly. One useful Lutheran cliche is “good works are essential, but not for salvation.” I like to refer to Ephesians 2:10 as “the plan of creation” and Ephesians 2:8-9 as “the plan of salvation.” Salvation is God’s work, being rescued by grace through faith apart from works. But salvation restores creation, which had been damaged by sin and evil. Therefore, good works result from salvation, even though they do not cause salvation.
    I repeat my hope and prayer that all these tests bring good news. J.

  4. hatrack4 says:

    Wow! So many things in this post to comment on. First, I am praying for a good results on the tests, even those that have been postponed.

    Second, when in active Grave’s Disease, I took a radioactive iodine pill to kill the thyroid. I had to be quarantined for a week. I stayed upstairs reading most of the day, but I did watch some TV, but my wife left the room before I came downstairs. She would fix my meals and place them on the bottom step. For a full week, we lived in the same house and never saw each other. I was too radioactive. Hope you don’t have the same issue with your eggs.

    I love Bonhoeffer and have written about cheap grace in the past. His insights on the topic are marvelous.

    And as I read this, I was reminded that I had a doctor’s appointment about two weeks ago. They were supposed to scheduled bloodwork and a CT scan – once my insurance cleared. The CT scan was due to flank pain near my right kidney and the kidney is throbbing as I write this. I wonder if they ever got the stupid test scheduled?!?!?

  5. Citizen Tom says:

    Reblogged this on Citizen Tom and commented:
    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?

  6. Tom,

    Not too certain about using the word cost in relation to grace.

    When we are born, we are gifted with life and the grace may result in a short time painful experience for a mother. However, in return the mother receives a blessing and benefit of a child in her life.

    The benefits of loving a child far out weight the costs in time to work to provide food and shelter.

    As for measuring grace as having a cost, perhaps measuring the benefits we obtain in life from the good deeds that benefit ourselves, families and communities will be weighed and measured by God when our time comes to meet him.

    In other words, perhaps we need to consider how much weight our souls benefited and accumulated in grace compared to the empty weight measurements from what we gathered in our time from earthly treasures or short-lived pleasures and left behind when we died.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    How did the procedure go?

  8. Hi Cookie,
    Praying for the best possible results.

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