The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening,“Do it again” to the moon. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, our Father is younger than we.
in a chapter on the "Ethics of Elfland," Chesterton talks about the monotony of the universe. some say the monotony [the sun rising and setting, tide ebbing and flowing, cycle of water and life, etc] of the universe is proof that their isn't a creator. the monotony shows us that all things are set and ordered and cannot be changed because their are Laws of nature in charge, not a creator. he says, "The modern mind rests upon an assumption; an assumption that things that repeat themselves are dead." there is no life, all things are determined and set in place. there is no purpose. there is no use in trying to fight against the system or choose a different path, for the whole world is set in motion and cannot be changed. action is wound like a clock and let go to do what it must...
Chesterton argues against this sort of nihilistic view. he says,
wow. i picture God, the Creator of all that is seen and unseen, almost giddy over the sun rising everyday; excited over each breath a human being, made in his image, takes; glowing when the snow falls and the flowers bloom. he is, after all, the Creator, maker, and generator of all these things. without God's divinely spoken word; without God's say, these things would not happen. they don't happen because of Laws. they happen because of God's will.
"we have sinned and grown old."
Father, forgive us. make us young again. give us child-like faith.
a student loaned me his copy of G.K. Chesterton's, Orthodoxy. i'm into the 2nd chapter and so far i have to say i'm fascinated and ready to keep reading...
highlight thus far...the question, "what keeps people sane?"
"Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health, when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland."
i'm excited to see where he's going with this. i see "mystery" as a sort of throwback concept in recent years. they say [i don't know who "they" are, so don't bother asking!] that younger evangelicals are embracing the mysterious elements of Christian faith. younger folks are turning more and more to Orthodox and Catholic faith. younger folks are interested in liturgy and the church year.
is it true? speaking as a younger evangelical who has interacted with many of my peers, YES. we are seeking authenticity, and in that quest for authentic faith we are finding that entertainment driven expressions of faith and worship not only do not represent our hearts, but do not represent well the heart of the gospel.
have you seen this shift? how are we doing with "mystery"? are we fighting or embracing mystery?
personally, i'm enjoy keeping one foot in "fairyland"!
i went down to Seattle tonight at Quest Church with some students and leaders from church to hear Shane Claiborne speak...
something to which Shane kept referring caught my attention and reminded me of a quote from his book, Jesus for President -
"God would save the world through fascination, by setting up an alternative society on the margins of the empire for the world to come and see what a society of love looks like.”
that word, fascination, keeps grabbing my attention...
Shane referred to Christianity as a religion that only works when it is embodied or lived
he used the passage from Luke 7 where John the Baptist is in prison and sends his disciples to ask Jesus whether he is really the Messiah.
how does Jesus respond?
[my paraphrase] "tell John what you see, tell him how i live"
how will people know if we're Christians? the way we live...
my question, sometime down the road, when my daughter asks why she can't have everything she wants and do all the things the other kids do, what will i say?
what will i have shown her? will i have shown her what it means to love Jesus? will she be equipped to show others about Christ?
update: you can find the audio at Eugene Cho's blog...