Saturday, April 17, 2010

Depth for the Present

Responding to Nietzsche's idealizing of youthful ignorance as, "Not yet having a past to disown," Miroslav Volf writes...

"Complete immersion in the present might produce happiness - that is, if our present circumstances were happy ones - but our lives would be shallow, not to mention downright dangerous. Imagine chasing a stray ball across a busy highway without looking for oncoming cars because you 'blissfully' ignore your knowledge about automobile accidents and fail to consider your mortality! Assuming we could survive, however, our lives would lose depth and richness for lack of memory and hope to bring the past and future into the present. For the way we experience time is similar to the way we hear a sound from a good stringed instrument. When we hear a sound from a good cello, for example, we don't hear a tone produced only by the base length of the string - co-present in that sound are tones from the string's half-length, fourth-length, eighth-length, etc. This is how a stringed instrument produces a complex tone. It is similar with the music of our lives. At any given time, we do not hear only the simple, solitary tone of the present; rather in that present resonate many sounds of past actualities and future possibilities. This is how our present acquires depth." ("The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World," pp. 72-73)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Charles Spurgeon on the carrot

“Once upon a time in an old kingdom, there was a gardener who grew an enormous carrot in his garden. Now this man loved his sovereign, so he came and presented the carrot to the king, saying, ‘This is the best carrot my garden will ever grow. Receive it as a token of my love.’ Now the king discerned his heart of love and devotion and saw that he wanted nothing in return. This moved the king and he then gave the gardener far more land than he currently had for his garden, so the man went home rejoicing.
Now a nobleman at court overheard this conversation. He thought to himself, “If that is the response the lord makes to such a small gift, what will he give in response to a great one?" So the next day he brought the king a fine horse, saying, ‘This is the best horse my stables will ever grow. Receive it as a token of my love.’ But the King discerned the nobleman’s heart, and in response he just received the horse and dismissed the giver. When the king saw the look of confusion on his face, he said, ‘The gardener’s gift was a gift, indeed, out of love, but you are just trying to make a profit. He gave me the carrot, but you gave yourself the horse.” Now do you see what this teaches? If you know God offers you his salvation freely, and that there is nothing to do but to accept the perfect righteousness of his Son, then you can feed the hungry and clothe the naked just for the love of God and for the love of people. But if you think you are getting salvation in return for these deeds, then it is yourselves you are feeding, yourselves you are clothing.”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Calvin on Union with Christ

"...that joining together of Head and members, that indwelling of Christ in our hearts-in short, that mystical union-are accorded by us the highest degree of importance, so that Christ, having been made ours, makes us sharers with him in the gifts with which he has been endowed. We do not, therefore, contemplate him outside ourselves from afar in order that his righteousness may be imputed to us but because we put on Christ and are engrafted into his body-in short, because he deigns to make us one with him."

Institutes 3.11.10.