Redemption

Real Live Preacher has done it again.
Man, I wish I could write like that.
A story of good comin’ out of the worst of places.
Something I needed to hear right now.

So…” I left a long pause to soften the question that was coming. “Would you say that you’re glad it happened? I mean, surely you’re glad to be alive.

I don’t rightly think it’s a fair question,” he said. “The past is dead and gone and all that pain with it. A pile of manure might be lucky enough to have a flower grow out of it, but that doesn’t change its basic nature.

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Nephesh

I know I’m in danger of turning this blog into an outpost of the Gordon Atkinson fan club, but I have to link to this:

Gordon’s latest Christian Century article, Another Inconvenient Truth, talks about the value of a human life. He writes, very eloquently, about the human soul, the Breath of God.

“Does anyone want to put a price tag on the nephesh, the human soul? …Here’s another inconvenient truth: if you believe in the nephesh, then one small child killed and registered as collateral damage in a war is worth more than the combined gross national products of both warring nations.”

I’ve long believed that the most significant part of the Gospel is Genesis 1: in a world where everything tells people they are worthless and insignificant, the bible tells us that we are ‘created in [God’s] image’ and ‘very good’. We have a God-given worth that means we are each “worth more than all the riches and all the kingdoms of the world put together.

We need to get our head round this reality. We need to see everyone, no matter how different, how alien to us they are, as loved and valued by God. We need to act towards every stranger, every faceless famine- or war- victim in foreign land as if they have infinite worth. As Gordon says:

“This much we can say with certainty. Christian people ought to be the most insanely radical peacemakers that the world has ever seen. Our view of human life should be so high that the rest of the world would stand in awe of us. Either that or they would point at us and laugh: Look at those crazy Christians. There isn’t anyone those nutcases won’t love. Murderers, terrorists, racists, rich people who steal from the poor—they love everyone!”

This is a hard reality. I’m a strong introvert, and I find it hard to look at anyone I don’t know really well as anything other than a faceless, scary and inconvenient anomaly. But then, this is a very inconvenient truth…