Friday, September 16, 2011

First Thoughts on "He Shines In All That's Fair"

After leaving Boon Church, the only institution I had called my home church for 13 years, the only one that had ever been my home church up to that point, I chose to attend Trinity Grace Church's Chelsea service because of their outreach to artists. I don't consider myself an "artist" much. It conjures too many associations I don't want to be weighted with but I know that I fall under that category as others use it.

Their outreach to artists intrigued me because it was part of a larger commitment to the redemption and reclamation of creation. Most of my writings on this blog grew out of a frustration that I had with the Christian church as I lived it. I'll say it simply. I felt that they wanted me inside their 4 walls (metaphorical walls) as much as possible and everything inside bored me to tears. The hidden condemnation I felt (and myself fed) for not listening to Christian artists, wearing Christian t-shirts and reading Christian books crushed my soul. I felt guilty for being bored. And I knew that no exciting, action-packed, hard-hitting, cross-cultural, more-catchphrased sermon was going to fix the problem. The problem was one of belief - the belief that the only good things in life were found within the boundaries of Christendom.

Spurred on by some titles the pastor of Trinity Grace gave me, I began doing my own research. I'm currently reading through "He Shines In All That's Fair," Richard Mouw's book on the doctrine of Common Grace, and wonder of wonders, I find that the struggle that's made me lose sleep has been a subject of debate for centuries. And here I thought I was facing the challenges of Christianity's terra incognita. And moreover, many questions posed by Christian and non-Christian alike belong to this family of inquiry.

This series of posts doesn't have a conclusion in mind. I still expect to wrestle with this issue for some time but having discovered that I'm not alone, haven't been alone, in this struggle gives me great hope.

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