07 November 2009

Reading the Word and the World Together

One of my first classes of the semester is one called Reading the Word and the World Together. It is taught by my friend, Steve Garber (the one who got me here in the first place!), and, in essence, it a class designed to help us see, as Steve puts it, the place where the sacred and the secular meet. Through it, we are already beginning to see how the world is not a series of dichotomized categories separating the holy from the brokenness, but rather that creation and everything in it is in a state of “glorious ruins” to quote C.S. Lewis. We are living in a constant, flowing state of both of these elements and we are beginning to realize that although we are fighting against it, all of creation is crying out to the glory of God. Steve talks a lot about his friends and colleagues who are practicing, what he calls, “common grace for the common good;” who are striving to heal a broken world in ways that may not always be deemed explicitly Christian, but nevertheless, speak to the glory and the coming Kingdom of Christ. In fact, one organization he talks a lot about in light of this topic is my former employer (and great saving grace!), the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust!

In class, we are essentially trying to understand what God’s vision is for His creation, how we can view ourselves and our place on earth through this lens, and how we can live in a world that is at the same time, sacred and secular; a world that is both glorifying to God and horribly broken. One major avenue of developing this worldview comes within the nature of storytelling - hence our class name, Reading the Word and the World Together. We began by reading narratives on our most basic and fundamental elements of identity as human beings: our sexuality. God created man and women to be distinct and unique from one another for a specific reason, and although our place as sexual beings has been greatly distorted and perverted since the Fall, our sexuality is still at the root of our very being. We long for intimacy to our very core; to know and be known in a way that cannot be expressed anywhere else. Next, we went on to explore the nature of a developing worldview. In light of this, we read Dr. Garber's wonderful book, The Fabric of Faithfulness. Through his own insight and the insights of his friends whose stories we read, we learned of the great value in developing a worldview that will not only drive our unique calling in the world, but will also sustain us throughout our entire lives. Finding a lens through which to view God's creation will not mean anything unless it is a worldview that will remain sustainable past our idealistic years as young-adults and into our cynical years of middle age. This lesson of developing a sustainable worldview is one which I feel I will be continuously learning throughout my entire life.

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