Wonderings for September 3, 2007

Today I’m starting a new category here on Dim Lamp. I’m calling it Wonderings. According to one of my dictionaries, wonder is defined as: “a state of admiration; a fact or circumstance causing surprise; wonderfully good things; a person whose skill or efficiency compels great admiration; to feel wonder; to ask oneself questions; to feel curiosity about; to be in a state of perplexity about.”

I suppose with regards to most of these definitions, there is no end to wonder or wonderings. One could wax on forever and ever—especially when one basks in the Holy Presence of God or, on the other end of the pendulum, laments about the state of our world today.

We are a strange lot. Created in God’s image, we too have been blessed with the gift of creativity and creating. We marvel at some of humankind’s creations like the wall of China, the pyramids of Egypt, the cathedrals of Europe, and contemporary architectural works of beauty and brilliance. We have developed the sciences and technologies to serve our every whimsical want. In the “have, first world,” the sky is the limit and more is never enough—consume, consume, consume, ad nausea. Greed working overtime, completely out of control. The quality of life in the “have, first world” has never been higher—more ordinary people today possess stuff and a lifestyle that far exceeds the quality of life among royals in history past.

Yet, there are signs of decay and death all around us. Ours is a society that has become more class-oriented almost by the day. A society of extremes, where “the great ones” are rewarded beyond belief and “the losers, the average others and everyone else” are losing more and more of what they may have enjoyed in the past but now are exploited, blamed, scapegoated, and neglected by “the great ones.” We live in a society of billionaires who have more personal income than some countries allocate in their annual budgets. For many hard working ordinary folks, the basics of life are becoming more of a dream than a reality. Housing prices and rental properties are spinning upwards out of reach for too many people. Access to post-secondary education for ordinary people is close to being a mere illusion. Companies demand more of their workers, in some cases pay fewer benefits by keeping their staff part-timers, and insist that employees work Sundays, thus dealing a death blow to a healthy family life and opportunity for spiritual renewal by making it impossible for workers to attend worship services.

Then there are the increasing social and environmental problems and issues of our “have, first world” countries. In the social arena, diverse racial and ethnic groups compete against each other for power and status—the spin off of which is the ghettoisation of too many of our contemporary cities. People like Dr. David Suzuki have, for a long time now, warned us of the environmental devastation of our “have, first world” lifestyles. Yet, we seem to be like the lemmings running faster than ever towards the cliffs into the ocean.

These are but a sketchy, fragmented few of the problems and issues facing us in the “have, first world” today. There are a whole host of other problems and issues facing an overwhelming majority of human beings in the “have not, second, third or even fourth world” today. With global warming rearing its ugly head, there are more and more severe “tragic acts of nature.” For example, this summer alone, we’ve witnessed the flooding waters of South East Asia leaving millions of people homeless and the huge earthquake in Peru claiming hundreds of lives, destroying property and leaving too many homeless.

Then, there are all of the economic and political upheavals throughout the “have not, second, third, and fourth world” today. Far too many people are exploited and condemned to live meaningless lives in slave labour, sweatshop factories owned by “have, first world” companies—all because of rich nation “consumer demand” for cheap eternally “on sale” products. The money saved by rich nation consumers is blood money, since it is stealing from the poor not only monetarily but also physically, emotionally, environmentally, and spiritually.

My wonderings today cause me to question whether there is any hope or any future for humankind. Are we destined to self-destruct? Or, by the grace and activity of God and God’s Spirit working in and through us; can there be a time of metanoia/teshubah/repentance? Are we capable of learning from our past mistakes? Are we truly remorseful of our sinful ways? Do we realise the countless spin-off consequences of our sinful ways and can we turn away from them? Do we love evil more than good? Can we turn around/return to God and God’s Ways? How is Jesus The Way, The Truth, and The Life for you and me today? That’s a few of my wonderings on this hot, September day.

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About dimlamp
I am, among other things, a sojourner, a sinner-saint, a baptized, life-long learner and follower of Jesus, and Lutheran pastor. Dim Lamp: dimlamp.wordpress.com gwh photos: gwhphotos.wordpress.com

2 Responses to Wonderings for September 3, 2007

  1. Gene says:

    And Jeremiah 17:9 comes to mind: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Who, indeed?

    At the risk of being simplistic, there is only one cure for that sickness and he is Jesus.

  2. Garth says:

    Yes, I would agree with Jeremiah (yet, ironically in chapter 31, he speaks of the Lord’s law written within the hearts of his people) and I would also agree with David in Psalm 51, that “my sin is ever before me,” and I am/was “a sinner when my mother conceived me.” Yet, according to the new covenant in Jeremiah 31 and Paul’s theology of the new creation of those baptised into Christ, the sickness is on the way to being cured. However, in God’s coming realm, there seems to be too much nowness, and not enough not yetness, if you know what I mean. It is that nowness which I lament, and that not yetness which I deeply, by God’s grace alone, long for.

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