Those of you who subscribe to this blog may have noticed a prolonged period of silence on my end? Have been reading profusely last few weeks. God often uses books to frame a word in me. This time three seemingly unrelated and large volumes per the typical writings of today’s “booklets” (to include my own) were required. The books were: Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer; Michael Hyde’s Perfection; and NT Wright’s Surprised by Hope.
Bonhoeffer gave me immediate pause relative to our own nation, as I realized that the rise of the Third Reich was not only due to the intelligence of a human gone sinister, but the undiscerning leadership of the Lutheran Church in Germany as well. Hitler, a charismatic leader, though insanely and diabolically driven, used profuse God talk before a gullible church to swindle them with the promise of a more perfect union of church and state. Knowing their gross legalism, this tyrant advantaged his platform by confusing the church culture with nationalistic covenants that would later hinder the rational response of otherwise godly leaders, even as they watched the Third Reich emerging!
Perfection, a most scholarly approach to the innate desire in mankind to do “even greater things than these,” caused this reader to struggle with our “rottenness.” This human drive for perfection is in some places being positively manifested through new and “miraculous” discoveries, even building economies through the wonders of bio-tech. Yet, new vistas of ethical challenge are seemingly on the horizon as mankind’s “rottenness with perfection” pushes his “evolution” toward singularity. The reproduction of “spare parts” and the enhancements now possible such as artificial intelligence implants, move us toward the ultimate bio-man, at some point possible more machine than mortal.
Though ethical struggles and even religious resistance from those seen as “rotten with imperfection” are addressed, bio-tech is a God send to our home town, once a manufacturing Mecca of tobacco and underwear, now almost solely dependent on this emerging industry! There is a place for science and these discoveries may in fact be an act of grace for those religiously static, looking forward only to spiritual escape and doctrines of eschatology.
Then came Wright’s Biblical challenge to those escapists, the concept of “life after life after death.” What was the message of the resurrection? Was it assurance that because He lives, we will live also? Surely, I believe this. Was the message of the Messiah that He would go away post resurrection and “prepare a place for us that where He was, there we would be also?” I believe this as well. Yet, have we morphed this message around an overly simplistic concept of Heaven, forgetting that the resurrection also empowered us to bring His Kingdom to this earth? Have we forgotten the beauty and the promise of the good earth’s redemption? Is the earth crying out through recent environmental crises?
I have to struggle for a while longer, with a somewhat “blank page” mentality, reforming my own life. Is this a new start or additional fodder in my cry for this nation and its church? We shall see.