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“God Has Bound Himself To Us”

One of the interesting things about participation in the wild world of social media and online interaction is the many and varied mediums through which feedback and conversation can take place. Blogs are synced with Facebook and Twitter and who knows what else, and feedback can (and does) arrive from any number of sources.

I believe the correct term  for this—the usage of which would undoubtedly make me sound far smarter and more technologically savvy than I really am—is “multi-platform engagement.” I am only scratching the surface on these matters, having recently linked my blog to Facebook (and having thus far resisted the madness of Twitter), but it’s been very interesting to interact with the same content in multiple contexts. “Likes” and comments and “re-posts” and “pins” and “tweets” and “re-tweets” “+1’s” and before you know it my head is spinning. I remember the good old days back in 2007 when all I had to remember to check was if there were any comments on my blog.

And speaking of the “good old days,” in the context of all this multi-mania it is kinda refreshing to get an old-fashioned email in response to a blog post….

(Wait, did I just put “old-fashioned” and “email” together? And did I do this with more than a hint of nostalgia? Is hankering after “old-fashioned email” the twenty-first century equivalent of pining for the days when we walked to school, talked to our neighbours, respected our elders, etc, etc? Does saying that the pace of change in the online world gives me a headache make me old? Sigh. Ah well, back to the email.)  

… In a context where we are growing increasingly accustomed to clicking icons to express our affirmation, or firing off short spurts of either esteem or opprobrium (140 characters or less!), it is always a treat to receive personally addressed, reflective, substantial, challenging engagement with something I’ve written.

The following response to my recent post about Job, the problem of suffering, and the origins of/justification for our expectation of moral meaning in the world comes from Ken Peters—a good friend, mentor, and fellow pastor. I felt it was too good not to share (I have taken the liberty of bolding the parts of Ken’s comments that I found most intriguing and which have provoked the most personal reflection for me):

As to your last hanging question, at the risk of sounding rather Augustinian, I suspect that the capacity for us earth-dwellers to even come up with the question regarding any type of moral coherence in the universe points (rather blindly and in faith if we come down to it) to an existence, a realm, a kingdom, a heaven (?) where these things are naturally so; and to a God who superintends a Moral Law that is intractably hard and cruel outside of a relationship with this God’s “other side”—the side of comfort, solace, deliverance, covenant faithfulness, holy advocacy and blessing through Christ and Spirit. To attribute significance and meaning to the question of moral coherence itself belies a foundational human attribute—we are unabashed Meaning-Seekers. How should this be? To what end? From what origins? And now we’re back to Augustine.

I once read a Jewish writer, source now forgotten, that put forth the central idea behind the Book of Job, more particularly Job’s character, was that human existence as lived out by Job commands/demands God to disclose himself, compels God to speak and act—that God, by virtue of his creation of humanity, has obligated himself into responsible communication and relationship. This writer was essentially saying the Book of Job is providing humanity with its justification to pound heaven with the human situation and that God—by virtue of his role as Creator—is morally accountable to us to offer an explanation, offer a response in return.

Being Jewish, the writer didn’t wander anywhere near Jesus Christ as that holy and divine Response, but from a standpoint of spirituality I am inclined to believe he was on to something; that God has bound himself to us—and he’s the only One who could do this. Why he would do this, outside of irrational agape love, is beyond me. That he has bound himself to us allows us access whether it be the pious whisper in the privacy of the prayer closet or the pious pounding of heaven in the public domain.

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