playing with prodigal sons…

(starting music: Rufus Wainwright – Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk)

1. Sorry I haven’t blogged for a few days. Trying to remedy that. I’ve been especially busy the past few days, but I have been doing a great deal of thinking, too, so I’ll try to make this an especially good, long post.

2. I had a presentation today that I’ve been actually kind of terrified about, and I’m glad to say it went extremely well. And I got a lot of helpful feedback, so I feel extremely gratified. Today’s actually been rather good in general, I’m glad to say, so there you have it.

3. Epiphany: I have this tendency to treat God like the means to an end, specifically the end of making me a “good” person. I want Him to fix me so I don’t have to deal with my brokenness anymore. The thing is, the situation is quite the opposite–He is the end of my being changed. My heart gets fixed in order that I may know Him better. (Again, you’d think I’d know this by now–nope.) Christ in me is the hope of glory.

4. Also been thinking about how the gospel needs to be preached to the whole person–I had a very interesting conversation with a friend (who reads this–hey, you) in which we discussed the future of Protestantism. He was concerned that it may die out in the near future, and I told him, “Well, that probably won’t happen because there are people who still have emotional investment in it.” Which is true if you think about it–some people just won’t become anything else because of their family history or whatever.

However, even for people who are very doctrine-oriented, I think that may be true, too. I know that personally that the doctrine of justification by faith alone isn’t just a matter of biblical theology for me; it has strong emotional and existential meaning for me, too, for a variety of reasons. People sometimes don’t just believe in certain things because they believe them to be true in the factual sense, but true for them experientially as well. I think that’s why some folks I know have switched belief systems, because they didn’t have strong ties to the one they came from, or even had very negative experiences before. (I do know that’s part of why I’m now Presbyterian and not Baptist, although that’s by no means the whole reason.)

Which is not to say that Protestantism ought to be preserved solely on that, but I think it’s important for us to keep in mind. I think where we fail sometimes is in not engaging a person’s whole being, whether that’s by keeping everything spiritual separate from our actual practice, or by keeping doctrine more or less purely intellectual, or whatever. We’re not gnostics; we’re Christians who believe in the Incarnation and in the Trinity, and that ought to affect something.

5. I have a feeling that last one will get some comments. Maybe. *shrug*

6. Other news: Stream all of Sufjan’s Christmas EPs here. Standout tracks: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, “All the King’s Horns”, “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!” (prettier than it sounds), “Joy to the World”, “Get Behind Me, Santa!”, and “Sister Winter”. It makes me happy. 🙂

7. Oh, also, I’m already thinking about Christmas gifts, so if there’s anything you’d especially like, let me know.


3 thoughts on “playing with prodigal sons…

  1. Laura

    Fulfilling your feeling:
    Good thoughts on #4. That used to scare me. I would’ve been ruined in the Enlightenment but for God’s grace–I mean I would have been fatally attracted to the modernist ideal of total objectivity. But that’s not reality, and I need not be scared by reality anyway. You are right that the incarnation confirms that God treats us as we are, as whole beings; moreover, if He is good and actually concerned for His own purposes and glory, how could His people’s “existential ties” to falsehood impossibly hinder them from knowing Him? More precisely, if He rescues them from otherwise eternal slavery to sin, causes them to love Him despite a natural repulsion to righteousness, etc., . . . He will make them understand His testimonies who were saved in total blindness and unwillingness to learn. It again comes down to, “how shall He not with Him freely give us [who believe] all things?”
    I read your paper. Liked it.

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