The Christian Paradox
A friend e-mailed me an article from the recent issue of Harper's magazine entitled "The Christian Paradox". The material seeks to deal with the paradox that exists between America's deep profession of faith in God and Christ and it's behaviors in areas such as caring for the poor, infants, the aged, and living less violent lives. Why do we say we follow Jesus, and yet our professing fails to yield, as a nation, the fruit of that proclamation. At the same time, Europe, where church attendance and professions of faith are smaller, seem to exhibit more of the needed "Christ like" qualities (less homocides, more care for the poor and marginalized of society, lower divorce rates).
Whatever the reason, the article is a stark reminder that we are called to actions which will embody the two great commands: Love God and love your neighbor. And even the command to love God is, we are told, only verified to extent that we are showing demonstrable love to our neighbors.
McKibben writes a great article, truthful and challenging. At the same time, I'm concerned that we not try to articulate our calling in a way that bypasses a living relationship with Christ, substituting instead, our own attempts to do good things, Jesus' things, in Jesus' name, all the while avoiding the undoing and rebuilding of our own hearts, a work that will surely come when we encounter the living Christ. Doing it all 'in Jesus name' without ever really knowing Jesus might look great to the watching eye, but it deeply misses the point.
The point is that history is moving towards the day when every molecule in the universe will be shot through and saturated with the glory that is Christ's very life. That includes social and economic structures and the environment yes. But it also includes my heart. And it's that transformed heart that will enable any of us, and all of us together, to become the blessing outwardly that we're called to be.
On a different note... went swimming in Greenlake this morning with my wife, who is training for the sprint triathlon. So here we are, on the water at 7AM, bathed in sunshine as we're doing our laps, and then coming home to cook pancakes and enjoy good coffee. I have to say, Saturdays like this one, in August, in Seattle are amazing. All this and heaven too! Thanks be to God.
Enjoy the day