Victorian but Twenty-first Century
Some years ago I read the novels of George MacDonald, & while now somewhat dated, his insights to human behavior & use of biblical truth is often breathtaking. MacDonald (1824-1905) was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, taught at Kings College, London, and published poetry, stories, novels, & fairy tales.
C. S. Lewis, who said that all of his fiction owed a debt to MacDonald (and who compiled an anthology of his works that is still in print), wrote “I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continually close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself.”
In one of MacDonald’s novels I came across a very striking excerpt that I have often reflected on over the years. It is a brief conversation between two of the leading characters:
Q. “It does seem hard that a man should be made capable of doing things that he has not been made capable of undoing again.”
A. “It is indeed a terrible thought! And even a small wrong is perhaps too awful a thing for a created being ever to set right again.”
Q. “You mean it takes God to do that.”
A. “I do.”
Q. “I don’t see how he could ever set some things right.”
A. “He would not be God if he could not or would not do for his creature what that creature cannot do for himself, and must have done for him, or lose his life.”
All this had me thinking—hard! I did some biblical research, & wrote an article called the Forgiveness as the Undoing of Sin. MacDonald & Torrance led me to some surprising conclusions, so I checked the piece with a theologian I greatly respect. He gave it the okay, so I went ahead & posted it. It can be found under the deep end - articles.
Does Doubt Belong to Faith?
I read with interest the recent publication of Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light by Brian Kolodiejchuk in which Mother Teresa wrestles with her “dark night of the soul”. This is the basis for Edward Oakes article on Does Doubt Belong to Faith? He uses Brian Kolodiejchuk’s book as his launching point, but then expands the discussion. It is a very helpful reflection on a subject that many have wrestled with over the centuries. It can be found at http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?m=200710&paged=3
The End of Memory
I am just finishing up Miroslav Volf’s The End of Memory. It is a profound book, but I often thought he could have said it in fewer words! However, I was astounded by how much memory has been a serious subject of theological reflection over the years. If you want an overview of Volf’s thinking, there is a good interview with him on Christianity Today’s website: http://www.ctlibrary.com/ct/2007/may/2.50.html
The Rock Garden
This is a GenX church in Vancouver where Rikk E. Watts teaches regularly. Rikk is an associate professor of the New Testament at Regent College in Vancouver and his systematic teaching on Mark, Revelation, John, Isaiah, 2000 Years of Christianity and other subjects is available on audio. The material is a condensed and "preached" version of what he teaches on these subjects at Regent. Rikk is a tremendous Bible teacher & is well worth listening to.
(this link is also available under the deep end - audio downloads).