23 January 2010

A Burr Under Your Saddle

Or A Faithful Christ Under The Scorching Sun of Life's Realities 

Christianity shall never and should never be popular. In fact, if it is popular, it is probably not true Christianity.
So, what does Christianity bring to the table? Much. First, understand that Christianity depends solely on the reign of Christ in my own life-and it thereby completely removes me, the disciple, from the weary cycle popularity, or "rule by consensus." 
If the Christian life is lived out in love and truth, then it is the "thin blue line" between cultural and personal anarchy and Christian peace in this world. How does this work, you may ask. At several levels—and Christianity is comprehensive, affecting every sphere of my life: from my heart to my head, to my behavior and speech.
Christianity affects:
1) my morality: it determines what is good and bad, it is objective. Neither I nor my fellowman makes that subjective determination. Christianity is deep, it begins with questioning my motives and my purity of heart, supplying what I lack, and removing the worst and restoring what is most necessary before going to the level of words and behaviors.
2) Because of this, and for other reasons, it provides a reason for civil law - the basis for law. If honesty were not expected, then perjury would not be an offense, nor would "swearing an oath" be necessary. Anarchy, deceit and corruption would be the norm-making void their very definition.
3) Answers the "ultimate" question of evil and suffering, because of the real, historic, space-time existence and complete Fall of mankind through Adam. Adam made a choice and actually went against God's specific request, so are not making up a fantasy or projecting an idea. If there were no such event as the fall and the subsequent consequences, then MacLeish's statement in J.B.would be accurate: "If he is God, he cannot be good, if he is good he cannot be God." Or, Baudlaire's, "If there is a God, He is the devil." (which has its logical problems). These would be accurate were you to remove Christianity's roots: God made a significant man in history, and evil was the result of first Satan's and then man's historic space-time revolt. If you try to escape this, and prefer to ignore it all, you've got to be very inexperienced or be living in a fantasy world of your own mind.
4) Man begins life optimistically but weak, unless he checks out mentally, he ends it in despair. Mankind knows that the does not know, and mankind knows that there is a termination to his breath. In the end, he cannot see motivation for love other than reciprocated love. In the end, he will be but dust. In the end, if he hopes his "good deeds" will out weigh his "bad," he really cannot know this with any degree of certainty that he won't have lived a life worth more than a fly's short life. And, in the end, he'll die with more questions than answers, and no certainty of answers awaiting him.
And yet, the living Christ can speak into the despair of every human being-if that person wishes for Him to do so. Here is the historic, time-space difference that the Living Spirit of Christ makes: he speaks life into deadness and brings water out of a stone.

(With thanks to Frances Schaeffer for the reminders!)