Paradox of Becoming Reformed March 17, 2009Posted by peterong in Rants, Reflections.
Tags: Bavinck, Reformed
I am writing this partly because I had to do an outline for Bavinck’s “our reasonable faith” for a seminary class, and as much as I pride myself in being truant in my studies, which perplexed me because I love scripture. i love theology. but somehow the whole experience of writing this outline made me reflect on this journey towards being presbyterian and what is there tension in my heart. one of my tension has been that I find the intellectualizing of this gospel narrative to be so excruciatingly sterile to me (I know that I sound judgmental but please give me some license to share my heart). The picture that I can’t get out of my mind is when I watch csi and they are picking apart the body and looking at it with such forensic acuity but don’t take into account the corporeal aspect of this body that they are examining. who they are? what made them happy? what were their fears? who did they love or loved by? it is about solving a crime. it is to about solving a problem. to recreate a story without affection or adoration. that is what i felt when i outlined Bavinck. it was cold. it was filled with theological acuity. it brought something that is so bloody. the cross is put as a vocabulary of atonement or the fulfillment of the messianic vision of the suffering servant. so the cry on the cross becomes something to exegete and not receive the profound humanity in that moment.
theology has been such a wonder to me. it has been a gateway of seeing the grand picture of the unfolding story of redemption that we are participating but somehow, what i am wanting is what Peter Ahn, pastor of metro community church, shared today at our PaLM meeting, that we often preach the theology of resurrection at easter sunday but we don’t recognize that good friday came before easter sunday. in the little exposure that i have been to reformed folks and also from what i see and experience is that there is a lot of layers removed from the pain of this fallen world. god is sovereign. when people struggle to figure out how to passionately pursue god. it is futile, we are depraved.
i have tension. and i never felt so ashamed of this affection i have for god. i question if i really know what i am in love with. as if it is infantile. as if a cloud of calvinists are scribing their theologies and guarding the intellectual property of scripture and look at me with such disgust. i suspect that i have not capture true reformed culture but i can’t shake this feeling that i am become a part of an infantry that is guarding a fort of our leader but i am not eating at the table with my lord. i am not communing but guarding. even the sacrament of communion is a theological creed. i love the creed. but they are not jesus. they are words.
and right now. i am yearning for the the first chapter of john. the word became flesh and dwelt among us. I am putting down Bavinck for the time being…and I am going to worship…and hoping that this deep affection i have for this wonderful Jesus is not a source of an outline.