I have had a couple papers due over the last two weeks and so this post isn’t developing very quickly.
The book on humility that I’ve been reading is written by a priest from some years ago (maybe a couple hundred). I am also doing some reading about Eastern Orthodoxy for a theological synopsis paper.
(Random thought: If you’re a believer and have some time, pick up some systematic theologies and read the chapter on the atonement. Extended thinking on the atonement is, as one says, “Marvelous to relate”.)
Anyhow, taken together (the West and the East), I am beginning to notice something about Evangelicals (or my thought process as an Evangelical) that I think can be more finely tuned. (BTW, I discovered from a friend what Evangelical means as it falls within Protestant. We Evangelicals believe the Bible is true. Apparently there are quite a few “Mainline Protestants” who think the Bible is helpful, but not true. For instance, my sister shared that in KC there was a news story about some 30 or so Methodist pastors who signed something that declared they did not believe Jesus resurrected. Be that as it may, Evangelicals still believe the Bible is true.)
Anyhow, back to humility and the Western and Eastern churches. I’ve mentioned that another exercise I’m doing is memorizing the Psalms. So my big “reveal” in this post about humility is that throughout all these different perspectives it is becoming clear that humility is really just about right orientation towards the one true God. The priest emphasizes this directly. The bishop communicates this by his insistence on mystery. I spent most of the last two weeks pondering the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. It appears that that my attempt to solve “the problem” is a feature of my being an Evangelical. The Orthodox church simply calls the sovereignty/responsibility dilemma mystery and keeps its focus on God. Oh well.
The bigger point is that when taken together with David’s psalms, it is becoming clear to me that the very way I have been thinking about God is in need of correction. In the Psalms David never seems to compare God to the way he used to think about him. For some reason we have all these bizarre conceptions of God. I think Sunday school is to blame, but even now I am not following my own advice. See what I mean? It’s easy to get distracted from God, even when talking about him. I am now feeling that I need to eliminate “compare and contrast” past and present out of my walk with God. As in, an ever-vigilant, “Okay, Pete, get a grip. Instead of talking about God, talk to God.”
Finally, as always, when talking about humility and God, I can never forget that gratitude is in order. Put another way: Thank God. It’s almost magical what happens when you thank God.