Friday, February 06, 2009

Simply Christian, Part 1

I’ve been reading a book given to me for Christmas, N. T. Wright’s Simply Christian. The first section (of three) listens to the echo of a voice. Four echoes, actually—justice, spirituality, relationships and beauty. Why do we value these? Why do crave them? Why are they so elusive? This is my first of 3 or 4 installments on the echo of justice. Wright writes:
Our passion for justice is often like [not being able to remember a good dream]. We dream the dream of justice. We glimpse, for a moment, a world at one, a world put to rights, a world where things work out, where societies function fairly and efficiently, where we not only know what we ought to do but actually do it. And then we wake up and come back to reality. But what are we hearing when we’re dreaming that dream?

It’s as though we can hear, not perhaps a voice itself, but the echo of a voice: a voice speaking with calm, healing authority, speaking about justice, about things being put to rights, about peace and hope and prosperity for all. The voice continues to echo in our imagination, our subconscious. (p. 3)
After discussing the unstable nature of justice in this world, Wright continues:
I don’t want to be too despondent. There is such a thing as justice, and sometimes it comes out on top. Brutal tyrannies are overthrown. Apartheid was dismantled. Sometimes wise and creative leaders arise and people follow them into good and just actions. Serious criminals are sometimes caught, brought to trial, convicted, and punished. Things that are seriously wrong in society are sometimes put splendidly to rights. New projects give hope to the poor. Diplomats achieve solid and lasting peace. But just when you think it’s safe to relax… it all goes wrong again.

And even though we can solve a few of the world’s problems, at least temporarily, we know perfectly well that there are others we simply can’t and won’t. (p. 5)
So what does this desire for justice mean? Where does this come from? Can the desire ever be fulfilled? We’ll discuss this a bit here, but hopefully it will lead you to read the complete book with a group of friends. And here is another blogger's summary of the book.

[part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4]

No comments: