Tuesday, September 15

We sought a way of escape

The movie, Gigantic, is paradoxical in the worst sense, of being about small-world, admittedly messed up and weird people, who think all their own problems are gigantic (perhaps that's the title's reference??)--again, like we all do--but without changing in a satisfactory way, nor accomplishing anything worthwhile (to themselves), and refusing to face the mess in which they find themselves. And the filming is all gray, grey, dark, gray. We found a good stopping point; the girl was leaving the guy, and she might have come back, but we'll never know...or wonder.

Sunday, September 13

Thoughts On Work

I am slowly learning through my discourse with friends and associates that it is very important to define your terms when walking through a conversation. When speaking a language that is constantly in the process of transforming the meaning of its words, a common meaning is essential. In particular, I have found that this is no where more necessary than in the discussions which take place within the confines of the Church. Of note, when we discuss the intricacies of good works, do we mean my personally defined "good" works, or do we mean art of good work? And really, what is the difference? Perhaps, if you are a Christian, you have spent a great deal of time considering what it means to do "good works", but how much time have you spent considering what it means to do "good work?" Ok, you ask, is there a difference, and if so, what is it?

C.S. Lewis brings up an excellent representation of this in his book, The Joyful Christian. "When our Lord provided a wedding party with an extra glass of wine all around, he was doing good works. But also good work; it was a wine really worth drinking." In short, while a fruit of our faith is finding ourselves serving in good works, we should care that our works may also be recognized as good, as defined by a standard Other than ourself. Okay, fair enough you say, but what defines this good work, and where does it come from?

The easy answer is hope. To borrow from C.S. Lewis yet again; Lewis describes "hope as one of the Theological virtues." And what he means is that hope is an understanding of the here, but not yet. An eschatological view that neither discards the ramifications of this life, nor builds them up to be something more than they really are. Lewis goes on to say that "if you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought more of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who fought for the abolition of the slave trade, all left their mark on earth precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven."

If we are only focused on doing good works, we will never do work that is good. It is the same principle that may be applied to your health. Taking care of yourself is an important obligation, but the minute you make your health your number one priority you become a self obsessed human who never rises beyond the minutia of your own selfish needs. Likewise, Lewis goes on to say that "if you aim at heaven, you will get earth thrown in: aim at earth and you will get neither."