Saturday, May 08, 2010

Be Somebody

After missing a few weeks for various reasons, our Prepared Christian class got back into the swing of things a couple Sundays ago.  Last week's chapter was on the doctrines of humanity and sin and before jumping in to a discussion on what it means to be human, we were given this quote (at the beginning of the chapter):
God made man to be somebody - not just to have things.
-Brotherhood Journal

After class (we were still working on the chapter this past Sunday), Pastor Mark sent us an "assignment" to help drive home some of what we were studying.  The assignment included a link to a video of Tamara Lowe doing a little "rap":

Yeah, she goes pretty fast in trying to point out to her audience a little bit about what matters and what doesn't matter.  And we were to examine a passage from C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity:

These then are the two points that I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.

Finally, Pastor Mark pointed out that a similar idea can be found in Romans 7:14-15:
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

Out of all this material (and another bit I'm about to mention), it seems there are two main concepts to consider.  First is the whole idea of what it is to be human.  Second is a bit on the nature of sin (hmmm...and the chapter was on the doctrines of humanity and sin - seem to go hand in hand, eh?)

The material clearly points toward the idea of inescapability of sin (the red squiggly lines say that is not really a word!).  We know how we ought to behave, we fail to do that.  As we discussed in class, sin is so much a part of our nature that we can't escape even if we try.  Perhaps those paying attention to the Bible or their preachers will think, "of course!" - it is only through our belief in and faith in Jesus that we are able to be freed from sin.  But I think both Paul and Lewis are trying to say that even when we understand and really know that "law", we will still end up sinning.

If that is the case, clearly we need to examine our response to our sin since we can't avoid it or escape from it.

For some reason though, I find myself drawn a bit more to this question about what it means to be human or to be somebody.  Pastor Mark mentioned that we might want to read The Velveteen Rabbit (which I found on-line).  I suppose the whole story applies to our attempt to understand what it means to be somebody, but I particularly liked this little bit near the beginning of the story when the Velveteen Rabbit is discussing the process of becoming Real with the Skin Horse:
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time..."

I think that is something that lots of folks lose track of - that our lives and what we strive for take a long time.  It doesn't help that we live in a society/culture that values the instantaneous.

I do like how the Skin Horse expresses the process of becoming real - "You become".  I guess a lot of people would naturally ask, "you become what?"  They kind of touched on this in the Raising a Modern Day Knight book, how men seemed to be defined by their career.  But I think the Brotherhood Journal and  Williams are looking even beyond that.  I hope there is more to me than just being a CFO.

Unfortunately, while all this reading has raised a lot of questions and "hmmm..."s in my mind, I don't think I'm any closer to any answers.  It has only been two weeks though and as the Skin Horse says, it takes a long time.  So I'll have to continue to ponder the idea of becoming.

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