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Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Cynic, the Saint, and the Manager

Mr. Deity: "Fully God and fully human, that's how you do the whole 'sinless life' thing."

Jesus: "Well, that hardly seems fair."

I've gotta say: I love the wide variety of blogs I read. In fact, if you just poke through my Other Posts of Note, you can find stuff from a wide variety of perspectives. I mean, just today I've got some John Piper, Evolutionary Morality,and even a little Doug Phillips--to say nothing of the funny stuff I bump into. My hope is that this keeps me sharp and smiling.

So, what should we make of Mr. Deity's inability to make things fair/logical? Well, let's work through it, shall we?

1. Three days (well, 36 hours). Prophecies. This has pinged the back of my mind now and again: Three days? Really? I think the scholarly response would point to how prophecies work, their vantage point of history (with a compressed future), and the fact that it really was the third day. But, in the end, I haven't run into any Jewish teachers who discredit the resurrection account based on this issue, so I think we're cool with this as the three day period.

2. What Jesus gets from this. "Full partner." and 3. Why God can't do it Himself. "I'm not chicken." These points play off the difficulty of the Trinity: God, three Persons, One God. That's a pretty easy one to pick on--as Clint Eastwood does--but if you accept that Jesus and "Mr. Deity" are one, both of these issues disappear.

4. Can't You just forgive? Sin. This is another thing I've thought about, especially in light of Greek mythology. Who has power: The gods or the Fates? So why does God need blood for forgiveness? Who is He bound to? Reading all of Hebrews 9 sheds a little light on the subject, but Hebrews isn't an easy book to understand. It seems that God demands it Himself. Why? I don't really know.

5. Fully God/fully human. We're damned anyway. This goes back to the Fall, where we were set up well and decided to trade it in to become like God. And as humorous as it may be to see Mr. Deity gloat over our destruction, that's not how God is. Instead, He has provided a way for us to get back to Him, despite our demonstrations of human defiance.

6. Created way beneath God. Expected to live up to His standards or be damned. Again, this is a severely distorted view of God. He used to walk with us and connect with us. And then He did it again. His standards are not hard to keep, until we decide to rebel against them.

In the end, all of these points come from the cynical point of view--which is why it can be funny. But cynicism is hardly good discourse. And while I am hardly a Saint, I am one of the saints, and I thought I should point out that there are perfectly legitimate answers to these questions.

And I've learned something by watching Sonlight's general manager: It's easy to be cynical, to declare that you are not "duped" by this or that, and it is really hard to give an answer that will satisfy the cynic. But the great managers, like Wayne, can take such complaints and sometimes offer insights and words of wisdom that cut to the center of the issue.

Because cynicism is rarely--if ever--about really addressing a question. It's about making your point sting so you feel better about your position. I've been there. But seeing really great people respond with gracious, well-reasoned responses that point out the flaws in cynic's thinking has inspired me to try to do the same.

Try is certainly the operative word here. But I am trying.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father


Danielle said...

I find one of these points particularly interesting: "Can't you just forgive?" Why does God need a sacrifice to be able to forgive if, obviously, He IS willing to forgive? I think that the answer may lie in the character of sin. In my opinion, sin is anything which does not align with the essential character of God. In other, something which exists that is not in agreement with Truth.

If God is really Truth, then everything else is Lie. And, Truth cannot co-exist with Lie, without compromising it's Truthfulness. God could not simply ignore Sin (what people really mean by "forgive") because that would be compromising His essential character. Something of the character of God was lost to us when we chose to rebel, and it had to be redeemed... not just ignored.

I'm no theologian, and I think that all attempts by humans to explain God are just that... attempts to explain the unexplainable... and this particular issue has books and books written about it... but this is my best shot for this early in the morning.

Anonymous said...

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Luke Holzmann said...

Danielle, you make an excellent point... and one that I completely spaced: God is loving but He is also just. You are right on! Thanks for bringing that up <smile>.

BoreMeToTears, ...hmm... you may be right. And you have inspired a quick Google definition search!

satire: witty language used to convey insults or scorn
cynicism: a skeptical, scornful or pessimistic comment or act

Both contain a twinge of "scorn" perhaps that was the word I should have used.

Even so, I'd like to know what I am missing, especially in light of my ignorance of the difference. Granted, as you just pointed out, I'm missing it, so I'm pretty clueless as to what you are referring. Please enlighten me! ...and I mean that with no sarcasm whatsoever. I'm really curious as to what you mean. Because I actually enjoy satire--like Mr. Deity--but I also don't think that it's good to be left un-"answered"... that whole answer a fool bit. ...not saying that you're a fool at all. Merely, that as fun as this kind of thing can be, much of its basis is foolishness.

<gah!> I fear I'm not making sense--or, worse, inadvertently name-calling without understanding satire <smile>. If you wouldn't mind elaborating on your point, my mind may re-engage, but it has left me for the moment. Sad times.


Anonymous said...

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Luke Holzmann said...

<cry> Sad times. I hate losing comments--especially the ones that take a while to put together. I'll wait patiently for your response.

If find I have trouble working up the steam to re-write comments. It's just too depressing sometimes.



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