if we thought more about how to sound the truth and less about how the truth sounds, there would be more of it heard in our relationships, politics, classrooms...everywhere, and we would all be the better for it.
You can't use the broken tool to fix itself, you'll have to find another tool to fix the tool. And if that tool should break, you'll have to find another tool to fix the tool that fixes the tool.
Our tools are what we use to make sense out of life and they usually come out in sayings: Work hard and good things will happen Do good to others and good will come to you Its not whether you win or lose its how you play the game Family is the only thing that matters in the end I'm a good person, I treat people the way I want to be treated If you can see it you can achieve it Heaven helps those who help themselves Nothing good ever happens to me I never catch a break Nice guys finish last Thats what I get for being honest Life sucks and then you die Whats the use in trying no one ever gets ahead
All these sound good, but they all break. You help yourself and heaven ignores you. You treat others well and they dump on you. You think life sucks and then something really horrible shows you how great your life really is. Now what? The tools need retooling. We need a comprehensive all purpose tool, one that doesn't need us to fix it, it fixes us. Religion is not the tool, nor is humanism. We need transcendent help.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is that tool. It does not break. It is equal to every task. Got a job to do? Use the gospel on it.
In "The Universe Next Door," James Sire defines a worldview as "a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true, or false) which we hold (consistently or inconsistently, subconsciously or consciously) about the basic makeup of our world." Timothy Keller, giving a talk to lawyers entitled "Reimagining Law" says "just because a person's views aren't organized doesn't mean they are non-religious." I would add, that a well organized worldview, even one designed specifically to exclude the existence of God, isn't necessarily non-religious either.
While each of us is converted to a non-innate perspective on our world, most of us are only dimly aware of that conversion. Most of us hold a partially true set of assumptions about our world and do it semi-consciously and inconsistently. It should be no surprise that those who hold assumptions about the world consciously and (relatively) consistently, while making truth claims, are often misunderstood. But it would be refreshing if those who don't would at least admit their plagiarism of our ideas and their inconsistent application of those ideas.
In a recent debate between Christopher HItchens and a rabbi, Hitchens, an outspoken atheist, illustrates this point. In his 15 minute opening statement Hitchens calls religion a horrible proposition, foolish and ignorant, and in summarizing says he hopes to use the balance of the debate to prove the "wickedness" of the persistent belief in God. While I hold similar views on religion as it applies to humanity's attempt to gain control over the gods, or God, it is impossible to follow Hitchens to his conclusion. It is not possible to call the belief in God (or gods) "wicked" in Hitchens' world. There can be no such thing. WIckedness only resides in the world of the gods. HIs indignation over the effect of religion only proves how deeply moral he is, how there exists something more "right" than religion, something we all should aspire to, find and embrace. And any discussion of what "should be" moves out of the strictly material world and into the spiritual moral world. Whether it is a legal confrontation, a political argument or a simple exchange of ideas between our coworkers or friends, listen closely to what is said. God's words brought all things into being, and you will hear the echo of God's words all the time everywhere.
The little girl got onto the stool at our kitchen counter clutching a cinnamon roll enclosed in plastic packaging she could not open. When asked if she would like help opening it she nodded her head yes. A little boy climbed up next to her. He is her cousin. He is eyeballing the snack. "Can you share a piece of your cinnamon roll with your cousin?" "uuuNyo," shaking her head horizontally for emphasis. She watched warily as a piece was torn off and given to her cousin anyway.
We sit in a seat not our own, in a house not of our own making, holding good things we've not earned and can't access without help, and we refuse to share with our own family. We are all little idiots. Thank God for grace, even the grace that takes something from us and gives it to another.