Author and Hero

By

Seeing my life as a story is one thing, seeing myself as the central hero another.

I am helped by the thought of examining my life as if it were a story and that I ought to make of myself a good character. I know there are a few different books out with that as a central premise and (though I haven’t yet read any of them) I benefit from hearing people refer to them –especially to that central idea. I am a character in a story. I am on a journey. I may or may not have a guitar slung on my back as I walk down the railroad tracks smoking a cigarette while squinting.

The problems often come in for me when I view myself, not as inconsequential in the big story, but as far too central. Sometimes it’s not even that I think I’m central in a good way, but that I think that my failings will derail the whole story –that I am the irredeemable Gollum, wrecking everything. It’s an arrogant presumption for me to think that I know either what will come of my little part in the bigger story, or that I can really know what it is. When post-moderns rail against certainty, I am often flummoxed by what they are saying and implying (especially about the alleged ineptitude of God). But in the case of a humble uncertainty about how our life fits into the grand, sovereign design of God throughout the ages, a certain uncertainty is demanded of us. The problem with pretending to be the director, or author, or a heroic central character, is that we are applying for a job which has already been filled.

God is the author and the hero.

Unsure of all the implications or not, we do know our place. If we are in Christ, there’s absolutely no doubt about our position, our relationship, our adoption, our justification, our standing before the Father. When the Accuser comes, throwing stones as his name demands, his accusations toward us hit the mark with great precision. The prosecution proceeds. Yes, yes, that is true about what I’ve done. He’s right. Things are looking bad. But when he is faced with the certain work of Christ on our behalf, and the resultant standing we have in Christ’s righteousness, he is unable to make a winning case. We are acquitted based on the work of Christ alone. In the great exchange, Christ receives our sin, bearing it on the cross, and we receive his righteousness, a free gift we receive by grace through faith. We receive this not for our stellar performance in the story of our life, but because he loved helpless rebels who couldn’t rise from the dead. Lazarus, you are officially dead. Can’t you do something about it? Um, no.

We needed a miracle. We needed the deeper magic. “Be alive!” The Gospel is the central plot point, the hinge on which the whole tale turns. And what a turning!

I recount the Gospel because it underscores the central roles in The Story. There’s no question of us being the Main Character, or Author. The worldwide casting calls for those jobs are a presumptive farce. But the calls go out all the time.

We are offered regular remedies to our most basic problems which are so corrupt as to make snake oil seem like the fountain of youth. There isn’t salvation anywhere but in Jesus. No talk-show host with new age self-referential remedies on TV, or economic elixirs on radio, can cure what deeply ails us. Most often, the charmers are calling on us to look within, to view ourselves as the answer to our distress. They even speak out against the other people’s version of seeking salvation from within and argue that theirs is the true way to obtain your own salvation. Right and left-wing humanism serve the same god. Mirror, mirror on the wall.

So what about my story? What about The Story? Same Author. Same Hero. It’s not me, or you.

If we don’t see ourselves as derivative characters, as inventions of the Author, then we are on a collision course with needless confusions (not to mention rebellion). More presumptuous is the notion that we are Author-itative in any kind of grand sense. We write, but it’s a subcontracted job. It feels really important to me to make that distinction. It feels to me like it’s a subtle point, but a point of great importance. It’s a small hook from which hangs a heavy cloak. “God is sovereign, man is responsible.” Walter Staton said that and the order of the coupling is important.

Have you ever been listening to “testimonies” and heard people talk about their salvation experience and God barely comes into it, except as kind of a side-character? I once heard (at a baptism!) a person tell her story of salvation by telling about all her struggles in life, but always returning to the refrain, “But God always knew I was a good person.” Her tale was one of personal goodness and near-sinlessness throughout life, which God knew all along, and, like an encouraging buddy, always saw her for what she really was. A hero. No need for a change of heart. No new birth. No work of Christ. No bad news (beyond “other people” causing her problems). Just God’s stamp of approval on her immaculate life. I wanted to barf. Mirror, mirror on the wall.

If God is reduced to the role of midget league cheerleader in your life, it’s not Christianity you’re embracing. It’s a Christian-languaged horror story of self-actualized salvation.

The truth is so much better! The Gospel frees us from our need to be needed.

Lest I fall to the charge of over-simplifying (to which I’m admittedly open), let me add this. I do think that, in some sense at least, there are heroes among mankind. Jeffrey Overstreet says that art is not something that you make, but a conclusion reached by others. I get what he’s driving at. It’s the same thrust I want to make here. The title “hero” is not something we can really assign ourselves. It’s a conclusion that will or will not be reached by others. The audience will see and know.

Of course the audience that matters most is also the author of the tale, who is not at all surprised by how your story turns out. He is, of course, the central hero as well. His work is what makes you a new kind of human.

So we must get over ourselves, come to the end of ourselves, and repent of our self-inclined madness. We win by losing, triumph by surrender, become heroes –if we ever are– by being rescued.

If we shatter the self-reflecting mirror on our walls, perhaps, in the fallen shards, we’ll see at last a thousand reflections of heaven.


29 Comments

  1. Jonathan Rogers

    Thank you, SD. I would say this was a heroic performance on your part, but that would undermine the very point you were trying to make. As a commenter pointed out last week, when creative types get together and talk about art, story, and the gospel, there is always the danger of elevating art and story beyond their place. Your essay is a helpful corrective.

    Your story of the baptizee’s testimony is a convincing argument for infant baptism. Infant’s can’t talk. (NOTE: That’s a joke, and not an invitation to debate infant baptism vs. believer baptism).

  2. Loren Eaton

    I once heard (at a baptism!) a person tell her story of salvation by telling about all her struggles in life, but always returning to the refrain, “But God always knew I was a good person.”

    Wow. Just, wow.

    A corollary from your argument, S.D., is that if we disassociate our lives from Christ’s redeeming work, the genre of our stories starts to look much less like a heroic adventure (good guys versus bad guys) and much more like horror or noir. We are the sinful, corrupted terror spreading woe; we are the black-hearted grifter among other black-hearted grifters all seeking their own.

  3. MargaretW

    “If God is reduced to the role of midget league cheerleader in your life, it’s not Christianity you’re embracing. It’s a Christian-languaged horror story of self-actualized salvation.”

    I’ve been caught up lately in the process of saving myself from a lifetime of neglecting and abusing my body through overeating. Some days, I am tempted to say, “I am doing well!” and leave out all the days I was crying out to God to help me make it through another minute without something I was craving. This morning as I walked through the pre-dawn shadows and mourned at the work I have to do to undo the wreckage of obesity, I remembered that Jesus is my treasure and I grieved the sin that has been seeping in to my behavior through neglect of the word. I get so caught up trying to save myself that I forget the redeeming message of grace. I kept thinking, “I am a priest and a prince in the kingdom of God” (thank you Andrew Peterson).

    This message was sorely needed this morning. Thank you Sam for pointing it out in a beautiful way. God is my treasure and foundation, not just a midget league cheerleader.

  4. Drew Zahn

    For some unknown reason, I misinterpreted your first two sentences to believe you were advocating we see ourselves as the hero of our own story (what a contradiction from the term, HIS-tory!). Then what a joy it was to unwrap the gift of this sentence:

    “The problem with pretending to be the director, or author, or a heroic central character, is that we are applying for a job which has already been filled.”

    I’ve been teaching recently a senior-high Sunday School class on seeing the Grand Narrative of God’s work in the world as a story into which we are invited to knowingly participate (rather than, as many ‘Christians’ do, merely study and know the story, but never take part), and this quote is going to be a part of the class! Thanks, Sam.

  5. Dryad

    There is an excellent children’s book that explores this topic. And lest you tune out because of the words ‘children’s book,’ (which I’m sure you won’t, but still) it is only called that because of the pictures.
    It makes grown men cry.
    It is called Pageland, and I heartily recommend reading it as a supplement to this post.
    God is the Author and Hero of our faith, and it is a blessing to be one of his supporting cast.

  6. Patrick

    BUT… sorry, I do like to “but” in from time to time. The world needs heroes. Not false heroes such as celebrity, not self-proclaimed heroes as the political or commercial saviors from the symptoms of sinful life… but those who have shattered that self-reflecting mirror and have become them-selves Christ reflecting mirrors. Those who reflect the true light into the world revealing the truth of what is, and what we really look like, and what we should look like when we claim to be His. Not by putting others down, or holding lofty presumptions about themselves- but by actually living out being the reflecting mirror of Christ. Jesus is my Super Hero, but without my hero of my Grandmother… Would I have been exposed to that truth? I needed real people to reflect to me what God is like. I think we all do. Whether it’s C.S. Lewis through writing, Rich Mullins in his singing, Billy Graham in his speaking… we are all potential heroes (small h) when we shine the light of Christ through our subcontracted works of creation (But we really do create, that what children of the Creator do). Yes. It is His Story- and He is the only true Hero. But we should strive- not to be heroes ourselves- but to be reflectors of the Hero that others might count as their heroes, because we revealed the Hero to them. No, everything does not hinge on us- to save the day nor end the world- that is not in the scope of our power. But we are called to be supporting characters in the story- not merely or just supporting characters- we are wanted and valued by the author- He wants us to participate- we can’t afford to just wait for the movie to come out and watch it then- We all were intended to have a part. I am thankful for all the subcontracted-heroes who played their parts in God’s story in such a way that I knew I could join in too. I’m glad my hero list has come to include S.D. Smith and the Rabbit Room, which I was directed to by my friend Becky, whom I wouldn’t have met if not for…. reflecting, reflecting, reflecting….

    “perhaps, in the fallen shards, we’ll see at last a thousand reflections of heaven”

    maybe we are the fallen shards? thank you for reflecting my Hero.

  7. Aaron Roughton

    Not funny Jonathan. Infant baptism is the ONLY way.

    S.D., thanks. I need someone to read this post aloud to me every morning of every day. And at lunch. And before bed.

  8. Sondorik

    Wow. This really packs a punch. Nay, bunches of punches. I too have grown sick of swinging on the good enough vs. bad to the bone self-centric pendulum. Thank you for highlighting God as Author and Christ as Hero. And thank you for heroically reflecting Him in your creative work.

  9. S. D. Smith

    @sdsmith

    JR– Thanks, fella. But is it best to baptize infant puppies?

    Loren– Word up, homie. I agree with you that we should never read any noir, or horror. 😉

    MargartatW– Thank you so much. I do the same thing, make an idol and then see it as my “salvation” and its failure as “hell.” But as you said so well, God is our treasure.

    Drew– Sounds like a great class. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Dryad– Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds cool.

    Patrick– I think we’re on the same page. 🙂 “But” in any time.

    Aaron– Thanks, pal. I’ll be at your house at 5:30am with my reading glasses and bullhorn.

    Sondorik– Man, you’re a real encourager. Thanks for this and all your encouraging comments at my blog. Also, cool name.

  10. RG

    SD – you have such a great way of explaining away the pseudo-complexities we ascribe to our lives of faith. Um.. what I’m trying to say is… you are great at reminding us (me) that simple things are simple. Keep it up.

  11. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Sam, a relevant quote from Amy Carmichael:
    “Don’t be surprised if you are set at nought. It is part of the way of the Cross. Mark 9:12 says, ‘The Son of Man must be set at nought.’ If we follow in the way He went, we also must be set at nought. You will find this truer every year as you go on. And anything is easier. Scourging is easier. ‘He must suffer many things, and’ (as if this had to be mentioned very specially) ‘be set at nought.’”

    We forget that Strider was set at nought by the Hobbits, and the Hobbits themselves were set at nought by everyone.

    I loved this: “So we must get over ourselves, come to the end of ourselves, and repent of our self-inclined madness. We win by losing, triumph by surrender, become heroes –if we ever are– by being rescued.” The only way to be a real hero is to surrender to and trust the real Hero living within us, Christ.

  12. whipple

    SD, I flinched a little when you spoke of post-moderns railing against certainty, which has always been a beguiling thing to me. I hope that I don’t delight too much in uncertainty – or to put it better, in the wrong kind of uncertainty.

    I am sure that God is sovereign and holy. More and more, I am sure that he is Love, overflowing with both Mercy and Justice inseparable. ‘Certain’ believers irritate me though, and give me pause as well. Not by their certainty itself, mind you, but by that sort of assurance that gives Christians a sense of self-confidence that I characteristically lack as a believer. Part of my problem is, obviously, jealousy.

    “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,” sometimes feels like putting the cart before the horse.

    I’ve known my dad my whole life, and I feel as if I’m just beginning to figure out who he is. How much more with my Father in heaven? Is it possible that living people can operate out of a faith that has already been drawn through the crucible of doubt and emerged, complete and prepared? I don’t feel like it’s so.

    But again, I am certain of God’s sovereignty (at least, more so than I was last week, and the week before that).

  13. S. D. Smith

    @sdsmith

    Whipple– I hear you, and I think I understand your concern. Maybe we’re coming from two sides towards a common ground. I appreciate the need for humility and for knowing certainly that the depths of the character of God are unfathomable. I’m not intending to imply that all can be known. Rather the opposite. Only that we, children that we are, can trust God our Father when and where he speaks plainly. One area of his certain voice is in the work of Christ on our behalf. Clear. Hard. Beautiful. Joyful. Revolutionary. Certain. I am all for making room for different perspectives and recognizing the wide experiences and giftings different brothers and sisters in Christ possess. I’m a fan of the idea of mere Christianity.

    But I’m bothered by the recent fad of “believers” reveling in unbelief. I’m dumbfounded by the elevation of Doubt to creedal status. “Above all, thou shalt Doubt.” While so many heroes (I know, I know) of the Faith gave their lives for sound doctrine, our age of soft conviction and hyper self-indulgence is producing a culture intolerant of belief that, well, believes.

    The most basic thing that is true of Christians is belief (which I believe is a gift of God, so no one can boast –an important key). The opposite of belief is doubt. When we advocate for doubt of God and his Word, I think we’re at cross purposes. We’re stealing the ball from our own teammates and shooting at the wrong basket.

  14. kelli

    When I read this I immediately thought of this bit I read this morning in Norman P. Grubb’s “God Unlimited.” (Thanks, Ron, for the recommendation!)

    “I am the have-not to God’s have. I am made to be that according to the underlying law of all manifestation–that a positive can only be known in contrast to its negative. Yes and no, soft and hard, male and female, light and dark, all the list of opposites demonstrate that to us. You cannot say yes, without having met and conquered all the possible no’s to taking a certain course of action. You cannot enjoy a comfortable chair unless its upholstery has a steel or wooden framework. The flesh of a body must have a bony foundation. God who is the Yes of the universe, its love, light, power, wisdom, can only manifest Himself as such through persons who are persons like Himself, yet are the opposite to Him–weak where He is the Strong One, ignorant where He is the Knowing One, self-loving where He is the Other-loving, fearful where He is the Courageous One, and so on. The have-nots, where He is the have.”

    Thanks for this, S.D.!

  15. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Kelli, great quote. That’s one of my favorite books of all time. That point between weak and Strong is where the Cross comes in. That is the connecting bridge where our weakness meets his strength; we have to embrace the Cross, acknowledging our total weakness and inability, and die to our false lie of independent self-effort, before we will see the resurrection side of the Cross – his power perfected in our weakness. That’s why victory can come only when we recognize that we are unable to gain it by our own effort. It is that very recognition that is the precursor to recognizing Christ’s power within us.

    That’s also why being temptable and weak is a good thing. We are created that way; Jesus was temptable and weak in his humanity, so he says, “The Father in Me does the works.” God created us weak, temptable, so that he could make us a partaker of the divine nature, able to lay our lives down and take them up again.

  16. kelli

    Ron…I am really enjoying the book, though I must admit it’s stretching me! He is putting words to much that I haven’t been able to before, but he’s also introducing me to new things, some which I can excitedly accept, some which I am wrestling with through prayer. I have much to learn.

    I also got Dan Stone’s book, but it was missing 3 chapters?! I read the first 3 before sending it back. I definitely prefer Norman Grubb’s tone over Stone’s, but I may give it a go at another time.

  17. whipple

    SD~

    I suppose I’ve seen some of what you mean. I’ve probably even said things that smack of that sort of distrust. I only have a few folks, though, whose words I trust deeply enough to believe they walk that tightrope between a faith that is bullish, self-serving, and off-putting, and a faith that believes that outside the mortal coil is a one-size-fits-all pan-religion. Not to say I don’t trust, but with those few folks, I feel as if I don’t have to measure and weigh what they’re saying as much. I trust them to be mentors to me.

    I do spend a bit of heart-wringing wishing that I could be as confident in my assessment of all things spiritual as my more blatantly confident friends – let it be said, they are still my friends. It is very comforting, though, to hear the song of certainty coming from those who are more mature than I in their faith. It gives me hope that I will not be relegated to a life of increasing confusion.

  18. Becca

    True doubt doesn’t bother me. I love thinky, humble people who are wrestling with authentic questions.

    What I don’t like is pride or manipulation disguised as spiritual doubt. Writers who do this wield doubt with a hidden, strategic intent, and that feels insincere. This approach insults the tender beauty of authentic exploration.

    Likewise, true competence doesn’t bother me. I love well-read, well-prayed, humble people who have received authentic knowledge after a difficult quest.

    What I don’t like is pride or manipulation disguised as certainty. Writers who do this pair the appearance of knowledge with aggressive hyper-confidence, often attempting to persuade through insult and intimidation. Their approach denies the God-givenness of true wisdom.

    The embarrassing thing is, I’ve done both of these things I hate. I’ve used “doubt” to try and pry open some doors. I’ve used “confidence” to try to win battles for my own glory.

    I hope that God will help me turn from these temptations, and that He will weave the protection of humility through what I know and what I don’t. Surely both can be used for His glory.

  19. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Kelli: You like Norman’s tone better because you are used to reading older writers. I feel the same way, though I love Dan Stone’s book, too.

    Norman will definitely stretch you.

  20. Canaan Bound

    SD:

    Did you really just use the word FLUMMOXED?!?!?! He’s a rare fellow, indeed, who can pull that one off.

    LOVED the 5th paragraph (or so)…great stuff in there. Full of conviction, doctrine, and winsome truth.

    Also loved this…
    “But I’m bothered by the recent fad of “believers” reveling in unbelief. I’m dumbfounded by the elevation of Doubt to creedal status. “Above all, thou shalt Doubt.” While so many heroes (I know, I know) of the Faith gave their lives for sound doctrine, our age of soft conviction and hyper self-indulgence is producing a culture intolerant of belief that, well, believes.

    The most basic thing that is true of Christians is belief (which I believe is a gift of God, so no one can boast –an important key). The opposite of belief is doubt…”

    Reminds me of something else you wrote (quite possibly the best RR post ever in my not-so-humble opinion)…
    “It’s popular to say that doubt is humble and certainty is arrogance. This depends, of course, on what we’re certain of and what we’re doubting. There can never be enough of doubting God and his Word to please an entrenched rebel in his pride. If we doubt ourselves, however, we may be on to something (this is humility). If we habitually doubt the faithfulness of God, this is no poetic virtue; it’s called unbelief. Who of us hasn’t prayed, “Lord I believe, please help my unbelief?” But let us keep on praying it and not surrender to our proud misgivings. Keep on fighting, keep on praying. Doubt is a thin shield, a hollow creed.

    So, brothers and sisters, let us struggle and lose…Uncertainty about how it all works out abounds, as well as doubt in my own ability. But let me be certain of him and his Word. He is good. He is just. He is merciful. The Story is true.”

    Thank you, Mr. SD Smith.

  21. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Canaan B and all,

    It’s important to distinguish in English the difference between intellectual beliefs vs faith. We can hold all sorts of intellectual facts about God, biblical ones, in our minds without having any faith at all. A man can believe Jesus lived, died on the Cross, and resurrected without putting the slightest bit of faith, trust, reliance in that belief. I can look at a chair and believe it will hold me, but only when I actually sit in the chair does that belief disappear and become an intimate experience of Fact. Belief is really the leaping point: I believe, therefore I will leap and trust. I believe Galatians 2:20, therefore I will make the inner choice of faith to trust that Christ does in fact live in me. We can believe the biblical statements on our identity intellectually, but not put one iota of faith and trust in the Source of that identity.

    What we really are faithing in, we manifest in our daily life.

    Doubts are fine as long as we use them as a spur onward into deeper faith.

    Self-doubt is useful because it may bring us into complete despair about our own ability to be “Christ-like” (an utter impossibility unless Christ himself lives through us).

    A relevant Chesterton quote on this topic of doubt and faith:
    ______________
    …what we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert – himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt – the Dvine Reason. Huxley preached a humility content to learn from Nature. But the new sceptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. Thus we should be wrong if we had said hastily that there is no humility typical of our time. The truth is that there is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it is practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping; not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.

    At any street corner we may meet a man who utters the frantic and blasphemous statement that he may be wrong. Every day one comes across somebody who says that of course his view may not be the right one. Of course his view must be the right one, or it is not his view. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table. We are in danger of seeing philosophers who doubt the law of gravity as being a mere fancy of their own. Scoffers of old time were too proud to be convinced; but these are too humble to be convinced. The meek do inherit the earth; but the modern sceptics are too meek even to claim their inheritance…

  22. Becca

    Will you please help me understand two things?

    1.) I’m not sure that the “modern humility” GK is describing is really humility at all. It seems more like passivity. Or like the stubborn, quiet resistance you get from a kid who doesn’t want to obey. It reminds me of the Romans passage that describes how folks ignore God’s clear manifestations of Himself through nature. Am I missing something? Do you think those people are truly humble in spirit? Or is this a Uriah Heep sort of deal?

    2.) If GK is right, how should this play out practically? Do you just tell people they have the wrong doubts to achieve righteousness? Wouldn’t this be similar to telling them they are doing the wrong deeds to achieve righteousness? Is he calling on the power of human choice to go forth and think differently?

    Wouldn’t it be more gospel-centered to call people caught in passivity to be honest about what they do doubt, to seek clarity on the true source of that doubt, and then to ask for faith to overcome it?

    Maybe GK goes into practical ministry application at a later point in this piece. But how would you recommend approaching the modern world with all this? I don’t know a lot of post-moderns waiting for sages to drop these sorts of revelations into their lives.

    Or maybe they are, and I’ve missed it.

  23. S. D. Smith

    @sdsmith

    Whipple and Becca– (Becca, I’m responding to your comment above, #19. I’ll let you and Ron sort out GK Chesterton).

    I appreciate you guys and your heart in saying those things. I’m with you in the area of self-doubt and also astonishing arrogance at times. I think I’ve seen and sadly, embodied, the kind of things that disgust you about both certain and uncertain people, or modes of operation.

    I just want to be more trusting, less doubtful of God, and more humble as I approach his Word.

    I don’t want to be some one who oversimplifies and is dogmatic about tangential things. But I do want to receive the Word of God humbly, not with an eye towards what is hip or easy, or conforms to my politics, or ethnic or national group…any of my idols.

    I aspire thither. Oh God be merciful to me.

  24. S. D. Smith

    @sdsmith

    Canaan Bound– Once again, my friend, you encourage me. When I get over the terror of being quoted, I hear what you’re saying and it means a lot to me. Peace to you.

  25. Kyle Keating

    S.D. great stuff. I always enjoy your reflections. Being a seminarian, your post reminded me of Kevin Vanhoozer’s book the Drama of Doctrine. In it he argues this:

    We enter into the drama, called by God’s elective will to play our roles. But our roles have not as yet been written. We are not asked to parrot the script…but improvise with the script. We are tied to the biblical script…but we are not tied to former performances…thus our performance is not an arbitrary ad-libbing but a result of how faithfully we have entered into the drama, knowing its themes, the intention of the playwright (God), and the central character (Jesus), and being shaped by the performances of those who have gone before us. The good actor, “the true improvisor is one whose actions appear neither prescripted nor cleverly novel but fitting, even obvious.”

    In Vanhoozer’s model we are all actors in the great narrative of redemption, but we are not the central character nor the author of the play. God has invited us into the play, given us some directions for our acting, and then left us to improvise fittingly. This is all a bit tangential to the point you were making in your post, but I enjoyed how your thoughts interacted with what I’m reading for class.

  26. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Becca,

    In Orthodoxy, as far as I remember since I don’t have a copy with me, Chesterton is delineating the personal path that led him to Christ. He is describing the then-present state of the world (now it’s even worse off). I don’t think he goes into apologetics or how to approach such folks.

    If we think of traits such as humility, like anything they can be misused and distorted apart from reliance on Scripture and the living Word himself. Boldness without love (how many debating Christians can be like this). Humility without faith (the folks in the passage of Orthodoxy). Courage without kindness (think Attila the Hun or the Uruk-Hai).

  27. Becca

    Helpful, Ron. Thank you.

    I’ll check out _Orthodoxy._ I tried to order it from a used bookseller a few years ago, but Louis L’Amour’s _The Haunted Mesa_ arrived in its stead. Consequently, my theology is a little iffy, but I know how to use spooky Native American portals to travel to other worlds.

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