Monday, June 30, 2008

Last night I finished "Evil and the Justice of God" (by N.T. Wright). It was an attempt to explain the relationship between..evil...and God's Justice... which I guess anyone could tell from the title. Basically a response to the old question: "If there was a Good God, why does he allow evil, he can't do anything about it, and therefore he's NOT all powerful, or he won't do anything about it, in which case he might as well be the devil". He does pretty well, I think, focusing mainly on what God HAS been doing about evil throughout history, through Israel, and especially through Jesus' death on the cross, and His Resurrection, guaranteeing the final realization of a New Creation that is free from evil. And what we as Christians are empowered and commissioned to do about evil in the meantime, looking forward to that New Creation as its creatures and living it out in anticipation here and now. One of the ways he highlights that we are to be doing this is forgiveness. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"Forgiveness doesn't mean 'I didn't really mind' or 'it didn't really matter'. I did mind and it did matter, otherwise there wouldn't be anything to forgive at all, merely something to adjust my attitudes about'...'Nor is forgiveness the same as saying, 'Let's pretend it didn't really happen.' This is a little trickier because part of the point of forgiveness is that I am committing myself to work towards the point where I can behave as if it hadn't happened. But it did happen, and forgiveness itself isn't pretending that it didn't; forgiveness is looking hard at the fact that it did and making a conscious choice-a decision of the moral will-to set it aside so that it doesn't come as a barrier between us. In other words, forgiveness presupposes that the thing which happened was indeed evil and cannot simply be put aside as irrelevant."

And on Art, as a means by which we can educate our imaginations so they are able to anticipate the fulfullment of God's new creation in the future:

"Art at its best not only draws attention to the way things are but to the way things are meant to be, and by God's grace to the way things one day will be, when the earth is filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the the world already seen in advance in the resurrection of Jesus, to the world whose charter of freedom was won when He died on the cross. It is by such means as this that we may learn again to imagine a world without evil and to work for that world to become, in whatever measure we can, a reality even in the midst of the present evil age"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's been a long time.

Today I did pretty much nothing.  Nothing productive, anyway.  Brandy & I watched about 10 episodes of Saiunkoku, afterward I researched for far too long to see if there was a third season coming out and if Shuurei marries Seiran like I hope she does.  I read a couple chapters of N.T. Wright's "Evil & the Justice of God" and G.K. Chesterton's "Everlasting Man" (which I started and got 3/4 of the way through a couple months ago only to put aside until now) Watched the 2nd half of Visual Bible's "Gospel of John" with Josiah, layed around a LOT, ate pizza, wrestled with Josiah & Jaelle, watched the kids, tried to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and got halfway through before I realised we had no peanut butter, and talked with Brandy about this general feeling I've been having.

Do you ever feel like there's something you should be doing, something that matters, but you can't really put a finger on it?  Not necessarily something you knew you were going to do and forgot, more like something you know you should know, if only you knew how to find out.  Oftentimes even at work I feel that way.  As if 99% of what I do in any given day (even work) is recreation, and like I'm missing this whole other plane of accomplishing.  Almost like I've forgotten to go to work, but I don't know that I'm employed.  I try to do things that I know I should do, like take out the garbage, and pay bills, and read my bible, but it's not any of those-even they feel like recreation, like "my time".  
It feels like I'm missing the Necessary, the Thing that Matters.  I've decided it must be the will of God.  I need to seek the will of God.   Not for a "big" thing, but just for all my vacuous hours, when I'm laying around the house, or reading, or working, or whatever, it's like another layer that needs to be superimposed over normal life and reorder it.
I wish sometimes that it were a list that could print off every day, that I could check it off, get it done, and not have this feeling afterwards.  But it's not like that.  These things, the will of God, seems to be scattered all throughout the day, so I can't just set aside some time for it-because I never know what it will be or when.  I just know I need to figure out what it is.