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    February 7th, 2012 @ 4:20 pm by admin

    When we are young we are often puzzled by the fact that each person we admire seems to have a different version of what life ought to be, what a good man is, how to live, and so on. If we are especially sensitive it seems more than puzzling, it is disheartening. What most people usually do is to follow one person’s ideas and then another’s depending on who looms largest on one’s horizon at the time. The one with the deepest voice, the strongest appearance, the most authority and success, is usually the one who gets our momentary allegiance; and we try to pattern our ideals after him. But as life goes on we get a perspective on this and all these different versions of truth become a little pathetic. Each person thinks that he has the formula for triumphing over life’s limitations and knows with authority what it means to be a man, and he usually tries to win a following for his particular patent. Today we know that people try so hard to win converts for their point of view because it is more than merely an outlook on life: it is an immortality formula. — The Denial of Death

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  1. Highlighting another quote by Ernest Becker observing creation as astutely as Annie Dillard:

    “…we don’t know the purpose of creation; we only feel life straining in ourselves and see it thrashing others about as they devour each other. Life seeks to expand in an unknown direction for unknown reasons.

    What are we to make of creation in which routine activity is for organisms to be tearing others apart with teeth of all types – biting, grinding flesh, plant stalks, bones between molars, pushing the pulp greedily down the gullet with delight… The soberest conclusion that we could make about what has actually been taking place on the planet about three billion years is that it is being turned into a vast pit of fertilizer. But the sun distracts our attention, always baking the blood dry, making things grow over it, and with its warmth giving the hope that comes with the organism’s comfort and expansiveness.” Ernest Becker

    Only Christ has given us an answer to both Becker’s cry for meaning and the reason behind his “irrational” hope in life that “seeks to expand” and the sun that “distracts our attention…with its warmth giving the hope”. That hope, written on his heart, is the resurrection.

    But the Church has not provided much vision for resurrection being so vague and neglecting it herself. Its centrality has been eclipsed by the cross losing sight that it is the resurrection which is the lynchpin of our hope for creation’s restoration not the cross. Just as a vision of the resurrected Christ will place Becker’s sentiments in context so also will it be for the Church: we will see that the cross (the strong eating the weak) is the way to the glory of resurrection and “all things new”. I believe it has been this disregard of the resurrection as central that has led to an anemic version of Christianity leaving people like Becker to fend for themselves finding their only hope, in the sun.

    I pray “Hellbound” will be one of the voices that reveal how the church’s theology is still on par with Becker who can only see the cycle of endless destruction in creation (like our “eternal hell”). But we can also learn from Becker who sees that there is a sun and that trumps all. It clues us in on the last word …resurrection. Actually, perhaps Becker is “closer to the kingdom” than many of those who “claim to see”. He sees beyond a hopeless “hell” to a power that is expansive, greater, that is “making things grow over it [death]”.

    • I’ll get the ball rolling A story I was just reeimbmreng the other day is from Christmas of this year. Our finances were pretty tight, and I had told the kids that we needed to pray and ask God for a little extra for Christmas presents. I explained that we didn’t have much extra and that if God didn’t make a way, they could not expect the same as last year.Well, of course, after hearing that the kids were highly motivated to pray We would pray each night for a specific amount, but Kaitlyn would pray for double what the rest of us were praying for.After a couple weeks of this, God had amazingly provided what Kaitlyn was praying for and all of it was money from sources outside our normal streams of income.I was blown away at how God honored my children’s prayers so specifically.

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