Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wanting Meaning on Our Own Terms

James Davison Hunter shows us something of the moral confusion that results from being made in the image of God on the one hand and sinfully suppressing the knowledge of God on the other. Morally, and in every other way, fallen humanity is a house divided against itself.

"We want character but without unyielding conviction; we want strong morality but without the emotional burden of guilt or shame; we want virtue but without particular moral justifications that invariably offend; we want good without having to name evil; we want decency without the authority to insist upon it; we want moral community without any limitations to personal freedom. In short, we want what we cannot possibly have on the terms that we want it."

~ The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age Without Good or Evil (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2000), xv.
posted at "The Big Picture"

1 comment:

arc said...

I ran across this quote concerning salt and found it interesting. It supposedly comes from the Guanzi which contains economic advice to the Chinese government sometime around 660 B.C. "Salt has the singularly important power to maintain the basic economy of our state."

What happens if I change my perspective from ancient Chinese economics to the role of the Christian in the present? "You are the salt of the earth." Do we have the singularly important power to maintain the overall health of our society? How does the presence of Christians within a society change that society? Is the workplace better; are schools more nurturing, providing students with the necessary tools for productive lives; are families stronger; are kids kinder? Do we make a positive impact? Does our presence in any way hinder Satan's purposes? Are we failing in our responsibility either through inaction or actions that repel rather than draw men and women to Christ? "But if the salt loses its saltiness. . ."

Taylor and Clendenen (2004) in their commentary on Leviticus state, "The ministry of the priests and Levites then would be 'to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary' (Num. 18:1). That is, through the sacrificial system they would serve as spiritual lightning rods or insulators to avert disaster when the people violated cultic law and so enable a perfectly holy God to dwell with an unholy people. . .This would be the means by which they would convey God's blessing upon the people" (p. 299).

As "a chosen people, a royal priesthood," do we also serve as spiritual lightning rods for the society/world in which we live? Do we, in essence, stand in the gap for an unbelieving society? [Can I make that jump from I Peter to Numbers?]

Examining how God works (Zechariah 13:9; Psalm 50:14, 15), He brings troubles/fire so that we will call on His name and honor Him. What would happen in our society (morally, ethically, economically, etc.) if we became serious about honoring God and calling on Him to change us and intervene in our lives and the lives of those around us?

Perhaps a salt-free diet isn't so healthy after all.