Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What do we all want?

Crabb talks about how we all seek security and significance (love that alliteration). Miller talks about how we all seek redemption. We sometimes seek it (and find it) from the Lord, but often we instead look to those around us, with disastrous consequences.

Oddly enough, we who know the Lord are guilty of this too. How many Christian parents pressure their daughters into getting abortions to avoid the shame and disgrace? Too damned many. Well, they're not really damned; they just act that way.

As I sometimes do, truth be told. You do, too.

There must be a part of me that really doesn't "get" salvation. I mean, I've sometimes thought something like this:
Jesus loves me. But he loves everybody (he's got no taste).
Now I'm sure you never have these kinds of thoughts, but sometimes the idea of being saved just doesn't seem very exciting here and now.

In Kent Haruf's Eventide, when 19-year old Victoria moves into a college dormitory, she tells another student how the McPherson brothers, these 60-something bachelor farmers, "saved me." The other student talks about religion and wants to know if the brothers are preachers. But it's not about that at all; when she was 17, pregnant, and homeless, they took her in like a granddaughter, and treated her with respect and affection. They brought a sort of earthly salvation to her in the here and now by believing in her goodness, her dignity, her value.

They believed in her future, and in doing so, gave that future to her.

For Haruf, heaven seems to be a kind of pie in the sky, bye and bye, with not much connection to earth. It shouldn't be that way, but we mess it up somehow.

Here's something else that maybe I'll write more about next time. In Searching for God Knows What, Miller writes about how we in the church are sometimes like those Paul describes, "whose god is their belly, whose glory is their shame, with minds set on earthly things." This example is particularly painful: at your typical record store, it doesn't take a minute to find an album with an ugly person's picture on the front. I mean, they're not hideous, but they're not good-looking by any stretch.

He repeated the experiment in a Christian bookstore, looking for over 20 minutes to find a picture of someone who wasn't beautiful on an album cover. They never did find one.

What does that say about us and our values? Is it we who focus too much on the appearance rather than the heart?

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