A Long Obedience
I would like to follow up on my last post, and what I said on the importance of keeping Love = Patient an absolute, nonrelative, undiluted moral rule. A situation popped up last night that upset me to the point that I had trouble sleeping. My post was fresh on my mind, and I knew I was being challenged. I awoke this morning and knew that I must be patient (and kind, etc, as well, referring to the full definition of love from 1 Cor 13). I had chosen Love = Patient yesterday because it has been something I have focused on for years, particularly with my kids. I felt it was easier to choose patience because I have experienced its value. Patience leads to dialogue free of the arena and brings it to a hall of justice (sans superheroes). Patience is fertile ground for resolution.
It made me think a lot on how long it can take to develop one’s mind and habits, and it simply doesn’t happen in a day, a week or month. Just like education, it takes years to reach a place of real knowledge and understanding. There is no replacement for years of work and dedication. I thought about this past year. I’ve read at least 50 books on all sorts of subjects, and I feel much improved by it.
I was also reminded of this quote from Nietzsche (of all people), which sort of sums up discipleship.
“The essential thing in ‘heaven and earth’ is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
I was also reminded of Nietzsche’s probably most famous conclusion, that “God is dead”. Although I disagree with his philosophy, I have read some commentary by Albert Camus (one of his notebooks, I think) that Nietzsche drew this conclusion by observing the catholic church of his day. He looked and saw no God there. I think that is a fair observation, actually, one that Richard Dawkins uses the same argument in his book The God Delusion: people talk of God, but there is no evidence of God in their lives. Recently, a woman told me of a newly hired pastor who was fired because he continued to draw in low-income black families to the church. I would conclude that God is dead…in that church. It is false logic to try to nullify God based on the lack of obedience of people. For instance, if everyone ran red traffic lights, would that invalidate the need for red traffic lights? No. If anything, the actions of this church endorse the need for a true moral law.
How does a church get to that place, though, where they reject people and fire a pastor? The Jesus they talk about and the Jesus of the Bible are clearly not the same…and they don’t even know it.
In Escape From Reason, Francis Schaeffer draws a conclusion in chapter six that is just amazing. I just finished this chapter and it is fresh in my mind. Because of the dichotomy of the modern mind (read the book and you will understand how it developed, I can’t even begin to do it justice), “the word Jesus has become the enemy of the person Jesus, and the enemy of what Jesus taught. We must fear this contentless banner of the word Jesus…” The word becomes contentless because it is just connotation, a relative suggestion, not based or defined by anything but what a person imagines Jesus to be. And then Schaeffer concludes the chapter with something very astonishing to me:
“This accelerating trend makes me wonder whether when Jesus said that toward the end-time there will be other Jesuses, He meant something like this. We must never forget that the great enemy who is coming is the Antichrist, he is not the anti-non-Christ. He is anti-Christ. Increasingly over the last few years the word Jesus, separated from the content of Scriptures, has become the enemy of the Jesus of history, the Jesus who died and rose and who is coming again and who is the eternal Son of God.”
This makes sense to me. In the beginning was the Word, the Logos. The opposite of the Word would be the Word emptied of meaning. It is amazing to consider that an antichrist is not necessarily a person, but a Jesus hollowed out and filled with mush.