I’ve come to believe that there is perhaps no virtue in our society that is lacking more than contentment. People (myself included) are perpetually dissatisfied, whether it has to do with their personal identity, their money and possessions, or their life situation. They are driven by a constant craving to be someone they are not, have something they do not, or be somewhere they are not.
It began a few days ago with an email from one of our professors, alerting some of us to Eugene Peterson’s recent interview with Jonathan Merritt. In it, Peterson was asked about his views regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage. When Peterson responded that he would have no problem performing a same-sex wedding, it sent shock waves throughout the Christian community.
Historically (speaking of the 2,000-year history of Christianity), Christians have been leaders, innovators and makers of masterpieces in the realm of creativity/art. Christianity has been central to most of the best painting, music, and architecture in Western civilization. Sadly, the last century or so has seen a decline in this, and a more apathetic and skeptical posture of Christians toward the arts. The reputation of “Christian art” suffered and became more or less synonymous with moralistic, low-quality, sterilized propaganda. But there are signs of progress in reversing this!
God holds Himself to account so that arguably His coming for the purpose of extending salvation is part of the justice He requires of Himself. All the earth thunders with the Reality that He created what is “very good,” benevolent and life-supporting toward every other aspect of creation and yet, paradoxically, toward “free will” or “choice” that can resolve down to decay and death (Gen .2:16-17). He allows for the possibility of deplorable rebellion, yet never dismisses the labor of His own hands but retains accountability to ever act toward restoration.
Those of us living in twenty-first century America find ourselves in a culture obsessed with the heroic. The popularity of the current spate of superhero movies, which shows no sign of going away any time soon, is perhaps the most flamboyant manifestation. But the issue is even more pervasive, extending to heroes of all kinds: sports heroes, war heroes, even the “everyday” heroes featured at the ends of newscasts.