I was checking Peter Kreeft’s website today and saw that he had a new audio presentation up called “Shocking Beauty.” I’m very much interested in the philosophy of beauty and Kreeft is an excellent thinker on many issues, so I decided to listen. It turns out, he spent a lot of time talking about the problem of boredom and especially in churches. When people left Jesus, they were in wonder. No one left him unchanged. They had to either worship him or murder him. In fact, it’s the same today. Everyone either worships Christ or they murder Christ.
Kreeft was quite tacit in his admissions though. He said that while he is a big God fan, he sometimes ponders that he might be a bigger Red Sox fan. He’s more concerned about beating the Yankees than he is about beating the devil. I like such an admission for I think many of us would admit we are in the same sort of situation with things in our lives.
Why aren’t we big God fans though? Why is it that church can’t compare to a stadium during a ball game in excitement? Now in the church I’m at, we have a great emphasis on the life of the mind and informing our people about what we believe. I quite enjoy it. However, there are times I sit during a service and look at my watch anxiously. I don’t seem to do that often during movies though.
Why is it especially in countries supposed to be “Modern” that we have more boredom than third world countries? We have far more channels on our TVs than we’d ever dreamed possible, and yet we can surf through the entire line up and say “There’s nothing on.” We have access to music, movies, video games, etc. and we still grow bored with them.
Some of us might think that we can expect to get bored with material things, but not with things of faith. Yet somehow, we do. There are a lot of times when it’s work to read the Bible. Prayer is something especially hard for us today. We feel like we’re not “doing” anything when we pray. Actually, we’re doing quite a lot, but we’ve lost focus on that.
It is as if our God has been compartmentalized to fit into our lifestyles. Now I will say that there are absolute truths about God and absolute truths that can be known about him. I am not denying that. What I am bringing up is this idea we have that God is all of these attributes, but yet we never seem to ponder what these attributes mean.
We are friends with the most powerful being of all, the smartest being of all, one who is everywhere we go, one who is absolute beauty and absolute truth. This friend never changes and holds our very lives in his hands. We should read through the Scriptures and see what they say when they talk about the power of God and the illustrations they use.
Could it be we’ve also become too familiar with the text? We can read over the miracles Christ did and not really have it register. Everything that takes place in Scripture though is a surprise. The whole story of creation is a shock. Instead, many of us have heard it all our lives and we’ve just grown up taking this great truth for granted.
If there is a verse that should definitely shock us, it’s John 1:14 where it says “The Word became flesh.” Such a thought would be repugnant to the Greeks of the time. The divine intersecting with the human in that way? Shameful! The Jews would have been more open, but they had a hard time believing this teacher wandering their streets was the God they claimed to be in covenant with, especially after he was crucified.
Instead, we tend to go straight through that verse. That verse is the grandest event since the creation. That verse is where God himself came down. How dare we take it lightly! Yet we do! And I do mean we! I’m just as guilty! Let no one think that I am simply condemning everyone else. I realize that I am just as guilty of what I condemn.
What do we need to do? We need to see the truth. We need to see God as he is. We say what we believe about God, but have we taken the time to ponder what that means? God revealed himself in Christ? He did? What does that mean? God is omnipotent? He is? What does that mean? He has adopted us into his family? He has? What does that mean?
It would be impossible for God as he is to bore us and for Christ as he is to bore us. The problem is we’re looking too often at false idols of God we’ve set up in place of the real thing. May God continually grant to us that our false conceptions of him will be destroyed so that we may come to see him as he is and love him all the more.