Monday, November 1, 2010


Life follows certain patterns. Walter Brueggemann called the pattern of life a script, (via John Mark Ministries and Soupablog). Scripts are shaped by our experience and socialisation, and we are drawn towards safety and happiness.

From infancy, the world gently nurtures us into the script. TV whispers selfishness and consumerism into our ears. Society fosters dissatisfaction and the need for power. We are mentored to seek fulfilment in achievement and recognition. We live it and barely question.

Then, the counter-script. A life which is not characterised by safety, 'happiness' or the world's values. The central character is God, rather than ourselves. The journey of faith is to gently disentangle ourselves from the first script. To relinquish its shaping and disengage from its values.

For each of us, there is a choice between the wide gate and the narrow gate. The narrow can be painful and uncomfortable. Sometimes our line of sight is obscured as we seek to understand where we are headed. The script gets messy. And elusive. I am tempted to domesticate the new script, right its upside-down-ness, tame its wild abandon, tone down its sharp-saltiness.

So its hard to give ourselves wholeheartedly to the new script. The world script is just comfortable and it takes so little effort to participate in it. I want to put a dollar each way, even blur my allegience. Ambivalence is wanting to run both scripts simultaneously.

Ambivalence (am-biv-uh-luhns)
  1. uncertainty or fluctuation, esp. when caused by inability to make a choice or by a silmultaneous desire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things.
  2. psychology. the coexistence within an individual of positive and negative feelings towards the same person, object or action, simultaneously drawing him or her in opposite directions.
When I am angry, I would rather stew, and ruminate than forgive and encourage. I want to (self) righteously show another person their faults and failings. I want to withdraw my grace and teach them new ways (my ways). Is that the script of sacrifice and reconciliation, or the script of  "he's making a list and checking it twice - he's gonna find out who's naughty and nice" ungrace?

It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. 
(Romans 7:21-25. The Message)

I long for purity of heart, that I might see God more clearly. Bring it on.

Thank you (and yes with Ann at Holy Experience),

that Jesus can and does

that ambivalence will end

that we will see God

and that we already do.

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