Column – The Truth About the World We’ve Made
Published 8:00 pm Friday, October 7, 2022
Voltaire once said that a person ought to be judged by his questions rather than by his answers. Intellectually, that’s got a lot of truth to it. Everyone’s questioning everything. Have you noticed? I wish I thought many of them were good questions.
So many of the questions today are borne of rebellion, discontent, inconvenience and fear. That kind of thing has never compelled me, as a relative rule-follower. I’ve never been drawn to rebellion for rebellion’s sake. Cynicism just for the sake of giving someone a hard time has never impressed me.
Seems nowadays, we’re in such a foul mood on this side of the Pandemic that people working each other over is just sport. That’s a sad part of the world we’ve made. Today, I want to talk about a truth or two regarding the world we’ve made.
First, I want to get ahead of anyone who’ll feel duty-bound to point out that God made the world. God did. God also left us a lot of freedom to shape and nudge Creation. All these millennia later, we have in some ways collectively made the world we live in today.
I look at our scripture in Matthew 21: 23-32. Right there from the get-go, I notice that they questioned Jesus, too. The Pharisees and Scribes absolutely worked him over. One of my favorite scholars, Karl Jacobson, says you could argue that every one of their questions were self-serving.
They were trying to preserve their own little world rather than having room for what God was doing in the world. They were trying, in essence, to fashion a world they wanted to live in rather than live into what God was creating.
Whatever else I may say, I want you to keep some perspective. Namely, not everything in our world is bad. It’s just that at some moments, our world can seem like an awfully challenging place to live.
In the world we’ve made, we have become insular and self-centered in way too much of our thinking. Some of us were horrified to notice how many of even professing Christians, never mind the general population at large, during the pandemic time processed so many decisions and actions based first on their own individual rights. With little regard for what was ethical or best overall for humankind.
In the world we’ve made, we’re so busy with self-care and entertainment that we don’t have room anymore for the worship and practices of our own faith that many of us say we hold. Did you know that these days, an active church member is considered to be someone who attends or participates roughly once a month? You know what someone who attended once a month used to be called a generation ago? Unreliable and almost inactive.
Now, Sunday is just a big ole Fun-Day. We’ll get around to observing the Lord’s Day if we don’t have a better offer. We’ll do so even then on our own terms. In the world we’ve made, we’ve become dependent on war to solve problems. Economically we’ve become a bit addicted to war. I’m talking about history when I say that more than politics. God had something to say about that through the prophets.
We question what we don’t like, rather than question what we’d like to understand better. We borrow God’s name to manipulate our way, and we write checks that Jesus’ name was never intended to have to cash. God walked among us in the form of Jesus Christ, who tried to heal and fix. He tried to teach and shape us, and humanity answered him by asking, “Says who?”
They questioned his authority. They questioned his results and they questioned his relationships. They questioned his priorities and his timing. All the while, they were working so hard to preserve the status quo of the world they had made that they couldn’t even recognize the presence of God among them doing new things. They were living in a world they had made that didn’t bear enough of a resemblance to the world God had made.
You see, the truth is the world we have made is actually just a big mirror that we like to gaze into. With the hopes of seeing ourselves in the most favorable light. The truth about the world we’ve made, with the relative freedom of choice God has given us, is that it sometimes keeps us from noticing what we should notice about the very same world as God has made it.
Dr. Charles Qualls is senior pastor at Franklin Baptist Church. Contact him at 757-562-5135.