Strange Mercy

"... and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

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Location: Mid-Atlantic Sprawl, United States

I'm a former idealist turned 'defensive pessimist' who has concluded, after living on two coasts, two continents, and an island, that most of us spend our lives as prey, economically and psychologically. Awareness is the key to understanding this; but once we understand it, we may transcend it, choosing, when we can, to be neither prey nor predator.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Divine Freedom

Katherine Gunn, at A Voice In The Desert, has posted some inspiring thoughts about spiritual arrogance... the attitude that "My God's better than your God!"

[Anyone old enough to remember the 1970s Ken-L-Ration commercial jingle knows exactly what I'm implying here].

In considering the issue of spiritual arrogance, there's a point that gets bypassed so routinely I could tear my hair out, and I'd like to focus on it here, for a little, as I did in commenting to Katherine on her blog. What follows here is largely taken from that comment.

When I read the Christian Scriptures, there is one theme that jumps off the page at me, over and over again; a theme that I find rarely, very rarely, in the organizations that claim to serve and love the Lord.

FREEDOM.

The whole point of the created universe is that something that is NOT God, something SEPARATE from God, is FREE TO CHOOSE to Love and serve God, and God Himself set things up that way.
That separate thing would be us... and rocks and trees and stars and seas, and lions and lambs, and cats and rats and elephants.

Very, very rarely will you hear a minister or a preacher talk about this incredible, paradoxical freedom. We have the right to say NO THANKS to God. And our YES is meaningless unless it is spoken from a free heart and a clear mind.

This is one reason Anabaptists tend to be unpopular... it's about choice, and meaningful choices can only be made when one is able to choose. PERMITTED to choose.

God Himself respected our freedom to choose; so much that He even died for it. And after thinking that through, I realized why coercive faith - and it's kissin' cousin, proselytization - has never felt authentic to me.

It's the absolute opposite of this divine freedom.

To choose is so completely different from being forced!

I hope I don't sound smug here; I certainly don't feel smug. Trying to live like this, to see the divine choice in every moment and every breath and every event, is like trying to surf on nothing but your bare feet. In a hurricane.

There was Someone, once, who was really good at that; but I'm never going to be anywhere near proficient at it.

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