Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Thoughts taken from an email to a friend...

Frederick Buechner says that "nothing human is ever uncomplicated." I do so agree, and therefore am loathe to speak further about the situation in the Middle East. I will defer, instead, to David Grossman.

On Bill Moyers "Faith and Reason," David Grossman--an Israeli novelist who has done a recent work on Samson, wherein he compares Samson with Israel itself, suggests (as I heard it) that Israel is in danger of becoming what it has long fought and tried to protect itself against. If you go to Moyers' Faith and Reason website, and click on David Grossman, you can listen to/see the entire interview.

Relatedly, I am wondering is if, in today's political climate, it is possible to be critical of Israel, it's policies and its warring, without being labeled an anti-Semite. So many people are so quick to play the racism card. And WHY is Mel Gibson's DUI, and his drunken chatter, more interesting than the rest of the world's news--at least according to CNN's website banner.

Relatedly, is it possible to criticize our own government, its policies and its warrings, without being labeled with some culture-wars adjective? As William Sloane Coffin said, "A patriot, always; a nationalist, never." Where are the voices from the middle? Drowned out by the ones coming from either side, as always.

Joining some of my friends, I do wish Jesus would come back...NOW! But I am persuaded that that much of many people's hope in that theological perspective is misplaced. A new book on the millenarian theologies of which the Left Behind series (preeminently) as well as Jack Van Impe and Hal Lindsay and the rest are a part suggests that that particular view of God's action in the world is exactly backwards, that "God's purpose is not to remove Christians from the world in order to destroy it, but that like Christ they are to enter the world to redeem it" (Barbara Rossing. The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation. Boulder: Westview, 2004. ISBN: 0-8133-9156-3). God always sends his people into the struggle for justice, rather than exempting them--Jesus' Incarnation is the ultimate proof. I suspect that my desire for escape from the fray is just that...and while I feel it more most every day I confess it is mostly based in fear for myself and, especially, my kids.

I hope you, dear reader, have seen Second Hand Lions. I saw it again the other night, having forgotten how wonderful it is, and especially Robert Duvall's line about the most important things in life having to do with matters that cannot conclusively be proved right or wrong. GREAT movie.

1 comment:

R.G. said...

Tom,
I wish I didn't agree but unfortunately I am leaning toward sharing your perspective that the Rapture theology is all wrong. It has never made sense to me anyway, not in any intellectual way I could explain and not in any intuitive way. I have always had such a hard time with people saying "I wish Jesus would just come back now!" because deep down, I have never quite settled with the idea that it would happen that way. I am going to have to get that book you talked about. Looks like it will help me reconcile my own thoughts and beliefs.

We all sometimes desire escape from the fray but I just don't think we're going to be whisked away in the blink of an eye!

And oh yes, I love Second Hand Lions! I should watch it again.

~~Rachelle

BTW, Great discussion about Mel Gibson's DUI over at The Master's Artist (http://tpr.typepad.com/themastersartist/2006/07/the_character_o.html)