Sometimes in my blog I like to share thoughts I have had in the past. The following is taken from a journal entry of mine, dated 26 March 2015. Anything in blue is added by myself after the fact.
“I’m sitting here, on the porch of the Christian Study Center at UVA (Stud) at UVA; the sun decided to shine today for the first time in seemingly forever. (not sure if Frozen had an impact on the way I phrased this) For a glorious few hours I was able to sit out on the Lawn and revel in God’s glory. I sat out there with Seth and Tyler, enjoying ourselves in the book of Isaiah. The sunshine was quite appropriate because just recently, Seth and I had heard Professor Marsh read to us a letter of Bonhoeffer’s dated 30 June, 1944, in which he writes about the wonder and splendor of the Sun. This reading of his writing filled me with a terrific sense of gratitude; Bonhoeffer was writing from the Nazi’s prison about how much he longed for the Sun and here I was, thoroughly enjoying its warm rays upon my legs and face. I give glory to God for filling my life with these small, but wonderful, unnecessary luxuries that filly my life with sustained bursts of God’s wonder.”
“It is through these beautiful moments humanity can truly believe in God. I am not implying, of course, that there can’t be belief in God without these things (as is conveniently evident in Bonhoeffer’s case), but that they serve to give a taste by which we can tangibly experience the fullness, the complete wonder, of God. This can be seen not only in the sun, but also the mountain from the valley below and the valley from the mountain above; it can be heard in the melody of a song bird or the dark bulging of a summer thunderstorm; and it can be tasted in the sweet pleasures of Virginian apples or a glass of red wine. Old religions (and modern secular humanism – I use “secular” because there is such a thing as “religious,” or “faithful,” humanism) often worshipped these things instead of their creator but I find great joy placing these things in the hands of the Almighty and delivering unto him all the worship and glory that he deserves.”
“On a side note, I just had to move inside of the Stud because it began to rain. How ironic! I was speaking/writing of the sun and it decided to evade me.”
“But onto what I was writing about. Many writers have written about the glory of God being manifested through his creation, beginning with the Bible itself. I am simply writing on how it presented itself to me this afternoon through a sunny day on the Lawn and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.”
“I have thoroughly enjoyed his writing and (I am going to talk about something I touched on earlier) I am specifically impressed by the way he writes about a sort of “faithful” humanism. Secular humanists like Nietzsche have complained about religion/faith on the pretext that it ignores the world in favor of the one to come. This writing has always bothered me, mostly because I have witnessed primarily the opposite. Bonhoeffer puts his views so elegantly when arguing for a sort of “worldly” focused faith; this is not so much arguing that, as Christians, we ought to be of this world, rather that we should be for this world in the same way God was for this world when he sent Christ for our sins. This belief set allows us to be “religious” or “faithful” humanists. We can care for this world and seek to advance it in society, technology, and medicine, but always with the world to come as an underlying theme of our works.”
“God did not give us talents only for our own enjoyment and blessing but to go out into this world to serve those around us, in the hope that it would bring others to relationship with him. This sort of evangelism is not about issuing “fire insurance” as a way to avoid hell (a type of evangelism I despise) but about witnessing and telling others about the wonders that can be found in a relationship with Christ. After all, this is what Christianity is all about: relationship. Its not about escaping hell; its about entering into a walk with Christ while in this world and continuing the walk for eternity in the world to come.”
“Negative reinforcement like this evangelism that I’m opposed to (fire insurance evangelism) only turns people into haters of God or, at least, into unhealthy fearers (and fearmongers) of God. This is not what God wants. Jesus says in Mathew 23 that he longs to gather the children of Jerusalem “together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” In this way, God does not want to be a ruthless dictators, or even a benevolent one; he wants to hold us and love us as a mother does her child.”
“This is what Christianity is about.”
“Christianity is about going under God’s wings and allowing him to hold us. This does not mean we are hiding; this means we are experiencing the Love of Christ that entering into a relationship with him brings; its about being able to go forward for this world, knowing we are under God’s protection; and, most importantly, about combining these two elements in such a way so that we can demonstrate the love of Christ and the glories that a relationship with him can bring.”
“I hope (and pray) that, as Christians, we would not lose this hope, for many do have it. Perhaps Bonhoeffer was right in the 20th century by saying that religion is dead and that faith has taken its place. The church today, though not nearly enough, and I mean the God loving Church, have not forgotten this on a large scale. I pray to God Almighty that we do not.”
– I absolutely love Bonhoeffer’s description of God’s faithfulness as polyphonous.
– Christ is an example to the church; the church should be an example to the world. – Bonhoeffer, summarized.”