ruminating on a quote for today

We were talking about the substance of the quote below (though not the quote itself) in our small group discussion on Sunday. We were wrapping up our study of the Screwtape Letters and Brant was providing a synopsis of "Screwtape Proposes a Toast"--a supplemental part of the Letters that is left out of the majority of American editions (i've only seen it once). According to Brant, Lewis is asserting that the triumph of mediocrity, the leveling of all things from recognizable "inferior" and "superior" to an under-qualified "okay" is ultimately the plan of evil: to tear down the "music" or "silence" of heaven, replacing it with everlasting "noise," persistent and all-encompassing and horribly chaotic. I came across this quote from Kierkegaard that seemed to relate somehow. When K says "forget all that is good" he isn't saying "do evil" as if evil was a thing in and of itself. If, as Lewis asserted, that Evil is really just the absence of or twisting of Good, then doing nothing--simply contributing to the noise--is just as evil as genocide or some other spectacularly terrible act. I know this gets into the argument of levels to sin and all that. But if we're not doing anything intentionally good, if we're not "making a decision" as Kierkegaard says, can we really resist evil? Intentionality--intentionally following the Gospel, being hospitable, loving one's enemies, turning the other cheek, giving time and energy and money and attention to the "least of these, my brethren"--seems to be the only key to bringing in the Kingdom. Even if you say, "God alone brings in his kingdom; I have nothing to do with it" you still must concede that sitting on your ass watching CNN and wringing over the state of the Middle East is nearer to the priority of Hell than Heaven. C'mon people now--smile on your brother. Everybody get together. Try to love one another. Right now! ________ "Can there be something in life that has power over us which little by little causes us to forget all that is good? And can this ever happen to anyone who has heard the call of eternity quite clearly and strongly? If this can ever be, then one must look for a cure against it. Praise be to God that such a cure exists--to quietly make a decision. A decision joins us to the eternal. It brings what is eternal into time. A decision raises us with a shock from the slumber of monotony. A decision breaks the magic spell of custom. A decision breaks the long row of weary thoughts. A decision pronounces its blessing upon even the weakest beginning, as long as it is a real beginning. Decision is the awakening to the eternal." --Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations


Anonymous Anonymous said...

eric, your new house is as beautiful as your old one. we'll miss you when you guys are gone. ~jenefer

5/19/2004 2:53 PM  

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