Anxiety, reason, sentimentality, despair and God's grace...

Tonight we spent an hour talking through Niebuhr's "existential anthropology" as part one of our study of social justice.  Without understanding how anxiety compels us towards sin in our dance with freedom and finitude,  we fail to grasp the core of our post-modern dilemma:  we know what is good and true and beautiful - and can accomplish it sometimes, too - just not consistently.  So what do we do with this baggage?

The legacy of sin and our simultaneous aching for grace drives some of us crazy - and we become self or other destructive.  Others embrace denial and leave a wake of pain as they wander through life.  Some give up all hope and still others become convinced that if we just had enough... something - faith, love, reason, wealth, pleasure - everything would be better. Except, of course, there is no historic evidence of this EVER!

That's why Niebuhr was clear:  Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.

I give thanks to God tonight for a leadership team willing to go deep into real theology.


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