quote for today

"Christ does not save all those who say to Him: "Lord, Lord." But he saves all those who out of a pure heart give a piece of bread to a starving man, without thinking about Him the least little bit. And these, when He thanks them, reply: 'Lord, when did we feed thee?'" --Simone Weil


Anonymous Anonymous said...

After I bought a man a sandwich the other day who had asked me for change, and a few folks looked at me like I was crazy (or worse, a "why'd you bring this guy in MY store" kind of thing -- or maybe I imagined it), I wondered how I would answer the question of "why are you helping this guy?" My initial thought was "because I love and want to serve the Lord," but that answer seemed to put barriers back up that helping a guy out and sharing a few real words with him had brought down. And so, I remembered one of Jesus's "trimmed down" commandments -- "love your neighbor as yourself."
The challenge there is that we do have a duty to serve all of our brothers and sisters (and I would include in that the whole of humanity, not just those within the faith as some seem to like to constrict things), yet love approached as a duty is not love at all. Once again we're faced with the immensly difficult call of God that requires a true transformation of our whole being, from our outward behaviors, to our innermost will and motivations. I think the quote you posted, E, pretty much sums that up. The question is, is it possible to get to that place beyond duty where it is truly love for our neighbor that leads us to serve?


6/10/2004 11:28 AM  
Blogger e said...

my lawyer friend of german descent:
that's a great question. i know i haven't gotten there. and if we take the words in isaiah literally, even our good deeds are like filthy, bloody rags before the Lord.

i think the secret is (and i stress 'I think' because i've not gotten there) to recognize the distance between ourselves and God before the gap was bridged by him. to recognize that we're on the "other side" of that gap now (again, i can only guess) has to make us feel grateful, more than grateful. now we have to act out of that understanding, that gratefulness.

again, i only write that as a guess, since i've probably never gotten there myself.

6/10/2004 12:48 PM  
Blogger brad said...

I don't know Simone Weil at all, so I'm not sure of the health/ unhealth of his statement. Is he saying that a nonChristian who does "good deeds" is saved by merit of his deeds, while an immature Christian who is learning to do good deeds is not yet saved by merit of his inaction?

Or is he saying that mature and boldly lived Christianity increasingly does good deeds "without" justification, becuause through the process of maturity, we more and more simply can't not do good deeds?

6/10/2004 3:26 PM  
Blogger e said...

I've only read Simone Weil in parts, usually as sections of some other argument. But it seems to me she was simply paraphrasing Matthew 25.31-46.

Though I get the sense that Weil was much more "centered set" than "bounded set" in classifying who is a Christian and who is not.

6/11/2004 10:37 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

For all of those centered-set ones, I sure hope Jesus is in a good mood when those on the fringes (kinda half-Christian, half-not) come before him for judgment.

6/11/2004 11:40 AM  
Blogger e said...

see, john--you chide because you believe (my/a/the) reminder that the glass is dark means that i believe there is no glass, or it is so dark one cannot see anything.

don't misunderstand: there is a glass. we do see. it's just that typically evangelicalism has whittled this down into an easy "we're In; they're Out" identification process based on propositional statements rather than lifestyle. you yourself would and have advocated a seemingly (and yes, i have to use "seemingly") more biblical combination of words and actions. you are/have advocated the James injunction that faith without works is dead. and i think that's what the "centered-set" position is: that in contrast to traditional "checklist" evangelicalism, there is a reality to faith that only Jesus Himself can identify. therefore, identifications built from our own understanding of who is In and who is Out are inherently flawed. Jesus is sovreign not only in the sense of ultimate judge but in the sense of the only one who grasps reality in its fullness. we are only left with impressions, feelings, logic--dark reflections of reality, though it's all we've got.

i am simply reminding you of that.

6/11/2004 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

E --
What a very Plato-esque response!

6/11/2004 2:05 PM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

I was just messin with you, Chachi.

6/11/2004 2:40 PM  
Blogger brad said...

I'm not familiar with the terms, "centered-set" and "bounded-set". What do those mean?

6/14/2004 12:01 PM  
Blogger e said...

in a very generalizing way, centered-set means those that (among other things) believe that your directional relationship to Christ (heading toward or away) is very important as it relates to your closeness to Him rather than being "In" or "Out". bounded-set means those that (among other things) believe that at a certain point, you are "in" and can never be "out" again--you have passed from death to life and can't be back into death again, no matter what you do: you're "In".

the primary distinction is whether humans can know whether or not they're saved.

these are terrible generalizations.

6/16/2004 3:33 PM  

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