Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Suspect innovation

I've been working on a seminar track for a conference coming up, and while being thankful for this work, which I love, and for sitting in a comfy chair with my laptop, the warm weather, a breeze blowing through from the garden, white tea in a china mug and the strains of the Korngold violin concerto, found myself frustrated that most of the work for this seminar had been done before, by someone else - I'm mostly copying, with a few variations in style. All that I would want in the seminar, even the ways I'd express things: it's all there.

Why would I be frustrated by that? What desires are being frustrated? I've no need to prove myself: I'm in Christ. I've no need for innovation: truth is old, and I've no desire but than to reflect what God has revealed. Our culture currently seems to have a love affair with the new: if you have nothing new to say... But we are called to pass on the good news which was decided and put into place before the beginning of time - not to fanfare my own new invention. I don't need to be the one even seeing this truth for the first time, or describing it with particularly aplomb. I just need to be faithful in serving others with the truth of God's word - and if in that I find I'm relying on someone else's work, that's fine. After all, I'm not autonomous or independent: we're created dependent on God and each other. And thus faced with the truth, the idols come tumbling down. They always look so silly when the light of truth shines on them, like grotesque statues which my heart was courting prettily, thinking them captivating. Ha! They no longer have power to frustrate - the light of Christ shines and my desires reorient on Him.

What a joy and privilege to be reminded of this by God's word: that he doesn't leave us to our foolishness, but rebukes, corrects, teaches and trains in righteousness, until we will see Christ as he is... and that'll really show up those old lying idols!

What a privilege also that my work involves doing a seminar on this very topic. Yes, it was in preparing a seminar on addressing the heart with the truth, that I found myself going after lies. The heart is deceitful above all things... but God's grace in Christ is greater: praise Him!
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. [2 Peter 1.3-12]

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