As I reach into my pocket and retrieve my secondhand Razor(phone), I notice that once again it has decided to turn itself off. Once again, who knows how long it has been off or whether I have missed anything of import? And yet, I think this phone has become something of an indirect blessing in my life. It reminds me of the universal tendency of things and people to break, malfunction, and disappoint.
I live out my faith differently when I remember to look at the world through this lens. Worldview maintenance is an all-too-often-forgotten discipline among Christians. Right doctrine and theology are important, but only if they are followed by application. That is the essence of worldview: Taking what is taught by Scripture–doctrine, theology, dogma–and putting it into practice in everyday life.
One of the most important doctrines to be taken from Scripture is the Doctrine of the Fall. The Problem of Evil (“How could a perfectly good, all-powerful God allow such gross evil in the world”) from philosophy cannot be addressed without a right understanding of the fall, whether you try to do so from a Calvinist or Arminian slant. In the fall sin enters the world, followed closely by death–and this happens through man (Romans 5:12). A few chapters later, in Romans 8:18-23, we see that all of Creation suffers alongside of us (on account of us), waiting for the sons of God (us) to be revealed. With our redemption Creation will be renewed. Until that time people are broken, and stuff doesn’t work. Things fall apart. People fail and disappoint each other.
Our point of contact with the world is clear. Our generation’s America is becoming a place in which people freely and openly decry this culture’s brokenness. Look at what is being put on TV these days: shows about the “modern family,” in which what has forever been deemed abnormal and unsuitable is celebrated as the new norm (premarital cohabitation, homosexuality, etc.); the (final?) rejection and complete mockery of Victorian values (sexual chastity, manners, etiquette, sense of propriety, the importance of family relationships, monogamy, etc.); the discarding of a system of honor and the teaching of personal integrity in favor of unashamed, unbridled selfish ambition. In some cases media shapes culture; in some cases media merely reflects culture. Whatever the case, we are now living in a context that, I think, very few contemplative people would have chosen on the front end.
The way our culture “works” now is an unworkable system. No one is happy; no one is fulfilled. Broken people living in a broken world go to other broken people trying to find the perfect fit that will finally satisfy them. Newsflash: It won’t work. Broken people do not repair the brokenness in other broken people’s lives. Once again, our contact point with this culture is clear; we too are people who know what it is to be broken apart, beaten down, and weary.
Where is the relief found? In Christ. He is the prescription shrinks are unlicensed to offer. He comforts those who mourn (Matthew 5:4), satisfies those who hunger and thirst (Matthew 5:6), and rewards those who suffer with an enduring inheritance (5:10-12). He is building an eternal city right now where He will uphold perfect peace, justice, and righteousness forever (Isaiah 9:6-7). Sin and death will be broken and banished to Hell forever, and He will wipe away every tear from the eyes of His people. (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 7:17; 20:14; 21:4). He will make all things new and finally make His dwelling with us forever. And we will not remember life apart from Him in a broken, sin-sick world.