Friday, April 18, 2014

Cruciform Faith

Holy Week Thoughts at Internet Monk:
At Mockingbird, they have this helpful entry on the subject of “Theology of Glory” in their site glossary:
Theologies of glory are approaches to Christianity and to life that try in various ways to minimize difficult and painful things, or else to defeat and move past them, rather than looking them square in the face and accepting them. In particular, they acknowledge the cross, but view it primarily as a means to an end – an unpleasant but necessary step on the way to good things in the future, especially salvation, the transformation of human potential by God and the triumph of the Kingdom of God in the world. As Luther puts it, the theologian of glory ‘does not know God hidden in suffering. Therefore he prefers works to suffering, glory to the cross, strength to weakness, wisdom to folly, and, in general, good to evil’ (The Heidelberg Disputation, Proof to Thesis XXI). This is the natural default setting for human beings. A theology of the cross, by contrast, sees the cross as revealing the fundamental nature of God’s involvement in the world this side of heaven.
That last sentence is striking. “The fundamental nature of God’s involvement in the world this side of heaven” is the way of the cross.
People don’t like that. I don’t like that.
I want a God I can see, not a God who is hidden.
I want a God who will convince me beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is living and active and on my side.
I want spectacular answers to prayer.
I want to witness remarkable events that can only be explained by God’s intervention.
I want tangible evidence that faith pays off, not only in the end but here and now.
I want a God who solves my problems, eases my pain, answers my questions, and makes me successful.
I want God to enable me to do good works so I can feel good about myself and my contribution to the world.
I want to be made strong, confident, optimistic, fit for the long haul.
I want insight into how life works so that I can follow the right steps and help others do the same.
I want a God who makes a way in the wilderness, not one who leads and leaves me there.
I want fulfillment in my work, health and happiness in my family, grace and cooperation among my neighbors, peace, security, and ample provision in my world.
I want to hear God speak. I detest silence.
I want God to show up when I need God. On time. Bringing what I need.
I don’t want a God who bleeds, who thirsts, who worries about his mother, who lets clueless, cruel people drive nails through his hands and feet, whose lifeless body is carried away by weeping women and timid men.
I don’t want a God who forgives people who do things like this. I want them to pay dearly.
I’m with the crowd here: “Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.”
Show us, God. Prove yourself. Let us see, let us hear, let us experience your power and glory.And the one on the cross says not a word.