I been listening to this group a lot lately. They redo old hymns in a beautiful folk-americana style. Listen online to their latest album called All Things New.
I am intrigued by the concept that Christ did not come and offer a full revelation of himself while on earth. He was hush-hush about his identity when performing early miracles. He often spoke in parables, not propositions. His incarnation was not global, eternal, and GLORIOUS like his second coming will be. He was born in a remote city in the middle east, lived to be thirty something, died, rose, then returned to the Father. Wouldn’t his holiness have spread throughout the earth much faster if he descended on a cloud of fire the size of Wyoming? Probably. Alas, we are left with an incomplete and distant vision of his glory and of spiritual truth. Why? And what does that mean about who God is and who we are created to be?
Maybe one (albeit sideways) way to think about some of these questions is to consider the common human response to art and music. Think of a song that is considered “well-written.” There is tension, some ambiguity, and it invites the listener to participate and enter into the art. Contemporary Christian music is often slammed for the opposite: the structure is too predictable, the lyrics are cliche propositions, there’s no tension…etc There something about that music (not all of it) that just doesn’t ring true, and therefore we call it bad art. I guess the bottom line is… I find it interesting how we are created to respond to partial revelation. It invites a deeper, more personal interaction with what’s being revealed.
Now, don’t get me wrong….all this doesn’t mean that the person of Jesus is, or should be, open for interpretation. The analogy of music only goes so far. Jesus was God. The Way Truth and Life. (he didn’t leave that very open for interpretation). And God gave us the Bible to preserve the incarnation story. Yes we have truth, but its not written out in the stars. At least not in English, and not in propositions. Glory has been revealed…but its only been revealed in part. There is room to ‘enter the art’. Room for faith. Room for freedom. Room to discover.
Filed under: Faith, Recommend | Tags: Faith, interview, john piper, npr, problem of evil, tsunami
I found a fascinating NPR interview with John Piper from a few years ago. The host (I forget her name) chose Piper as a part of a series in response to the devastating tsunami of 2005. In the wake of this calamity, she wanted to discover how different faith backgrounds answer the problem of evil. If you dug around the NPR site you could probably find the interviews with Hindu, Muslim, Buddist, Jewish religious leaders.
Here is the link to the interview. (Well worth the listen!)
I am an over-reactor.
And I am married, blissfully, to an under-reactor who so often loves me down from the trees I tangle myself in.
I sigh and huff and drum my fingers when the banker working with us stops for a 6-minute phone conversation. My shoulders slump over the keyboard as the currency exchange rate’s fluctuations dictate my emotional posture. I imagine myself delivering a well-articulated speech, filled with strong statements supported by accessible anecdotes, in the middle of our staff room, condemning the failures of private English institutions in Korea. I stare angrily at drivers who seem to have either forgotten or never learned the meaning of a crosswalk. I grind my teeth at night over e-ticket confirmations that never come.
And for what?
All of the erroneous entitlement-turned-annoyance-frustration-self-righteous indignation that works its way deeply into the muscles and tissues of my shoulder blades – what good can it possibly do?
How many times will I learn that He provides for unemployed sparrows, who neither toil nor sigh nor slump their shoulders? How many times will I learn that this life and its exchange rates will be burned like grass tomorrow? That I, at the center of my miniscule universe, am no more than a breath. Oh to remember the Carpenter whose life was one interruption after another from blind people, often groping after the wrong things…asking for sight instead of SIGHT, for water instead of WATER.