In his recent blog entry, Steve Bell commented:I certainly resonate with Randy's concern, but the inherent tension is precisely the point. Exactly what kind of King is it who, volunteering obscurity, condescends (with passion) to walk among the lowly, sharing their burdens and humiliations, and ultimately bearing them away in his own death? What kind of kingdom is it where the lofty are brought down and the lowly lifted up? It is a rather odd, counterintuitive sort of kingly glory is it not ? – the sort that can only be found perhaps in "the delightful deceits of fables." But I'll take those deceits any day over the relentlessly measured, flat, atomized facts of a pitiless universe. Facts and Truth are not always the same thing.
And so… I will contribute a song alongside Malcolm's sonnet because I truly love, believe and trust this story.
As usual, Steve's comments sparked my own thinking. Rather than pour all this into his blog, I'll post it here -
" the inherent tension is precisely the point. Exactly what kind of King is it who, volunteering obscurity, condescends (with passion) to walk among the lowly,"
Unhappily, this tension seems to be largely lost today in so many ways. We pay lip service to service, and humility and the manger, then move on to demand that the surrounding society kowtow to our demands for "keeping Christmas," (Don"t shop from merchants who don't greet you correctly! Keep Christ in Christmas by getting up into anyone's grill who dares use the greeting Happy Holidays... etc..) We toss a few extra bucks at a charity to get that warm glow of reassurance that we are "good people," then elbow our way into the Boxing Day Sales lineup to get the latest large screen tv (Man, they had such good deals last year -- I'll show you mine if you show me yours!! - yes I am chief among sinners in all these areas much of the time)... So, I have become very leery of the Power and Glory-Loving 'stuff' as well. It plays way too easily to my human weaknesses for being On Top.
Facts and Truth are not always the same thing. ... I truly love, believe and trust this story.
Here's where critics of faith and gospel get it wrong, as do people of faith as well when we fear the attacks of the former. They/we think that if the historicity of the events is cast into doubt, then the faith is destroyed. They fail to understand that the power of the events is not in the facts or historicity, but in the ephemeral meanings interwoven throughout! The power of story is the story. The idea. The concept. The belief that Truth is Ultimately Good. That Truth is ultimately sentient, loving and concerned about all of us all around - and we should be too. These concepts and beliefs change lives, give hope, produce freedom. And ultimately peace. On all levels.
Joy to the World!