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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Why?

One question I'm continually asked is, "How can you follow all those rules?" Honestly, the more I think about this question, the funnier it is to me. Because the fundamental misunderstanding of the whole thing springs from how ordinary people--especially those for whom practicing Christians are like an alien species--view religion. They are quite aware that there are people involved in such things, but are quite suspicious of the idea that the divine has anything to do with it. That's fine, as far as it goes, but the question would naturally suggest itself: "What if it's real?" What if there is a divine Person at the heart of this entire enterprise? If God is like that which has been revealed to us concerning him, then my only answer to the question is and could be, "What rules?"
If you have ever been in love, even if it has not been returned, you know what it does to you. You would run through a wall just to be with that person. No matter how great the obstacle, you'd find a way. Perhaps a great number of obstacles have been placed in the way, but that is nothing to the one who loves. But we have to take the analogy one step further, because those burdens are not simply hoops that we jump through in order to attain a greater goal. In this case, the love is so powerful that there are no hoops. God is Love. I do not have to put trust in any man unless that man is Christ. I do not countenance any sin, least of all my own, because it impedes me from reaching the one I love.
We might have in our minds the words, "divine" and "human," and when we think of these words, they are in a sort of contrast, because our experience teaches us that we are indeed very sinful. But we need to recall that the Lord himself took on flesh, and that he was not afraid to keep it, even after he was raised in glory and seated at the right hand of the Father. So when we think of our humanity, frankly, we should think first of His.
The question that occupies me, the one that I never tire of asking myself is, "What is real? Is this real? Has God spoken? What has he said?" If indeed he has been faithful to us, then his condescension to us is a matter of the utmost importance. His willingness to be with us becomes an all embracing reality, a consuming fact of being. This may be hard for some of you to believe, and I can tell you at least that I sympathize, even if I cannot empathize. It does not appear that this world we have made for ourselves has a compelling answer to these questions. It is not enough to say that the revelation of Jesus Christ simply charms us more deeply than something else might. It is rather to say that the singular reality of his person explains what it means to be truly human, what it means to be truly alive, and I can tell you that more than anything, I desire to be truly alive.
Once I was described by a friend in marketing as the "ideal customer," because I am intensely brand loyal. I have an addictive personality. If I really like something, it consumes me, in a certain sense. There is a certain intensity about me that makes people nervous. But I cannot imagine a more human thing, a more proper thing, than to be unreservedly intense about the things that matter. Why do I follow all these rules? Why don't you ask me why I get out of bed in the morning? The answer is the same: because I have love to find; I have a destiny to meet; I must become what I am not now.

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