Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Redemption is the Core Principle of Good News

How about this for an interesting ad campaign? "LIFE STINKS!" The tongue-in-cheek product tag evidently resonates with a lot of people because the folk at Bed Bath & Beyond told me the stuff is selling off the shelves.

The idea of the spray bottle thingie is to neutralize offensive odors, so people don't notice them any more. The product, to the best of my understanding, doesn't actually eliminate bad smells. Instead, it masks the smell so that we won't know it's there.

This approach would be similar, I guess, to dressing cockroaches up in little camouflage jackets or issuing them with invisibility cloaks. They'd still be there, nasty as ever and walking all over our stuff - it's just that we wouldn't notice.

Life does not stink!
First off, I need to say I reject the view that "Life Stinks". I agree that life is hard sometimes (indeed, often), that there's a lot of pain in the world, that the experience of living at times can be overwhelmingly difficult for many people, and that struggle frequently defines experience more clearly than ease or peace.

But acknowledging struggle is not the same as embracing nihilism (nihilism, according to Merriam-Webster, is the viewpoint that existence is senseless and useless). I could never understand the popularity of the bumper sticker (a few years back) that read "Life sucks - and then you die!" Nihilism - like any other belief system - must be adopted by deliberate choice and then reaffirmed - daily - via a succession of smaller choices. It's a fundamental orientation that could not otherwise be sustained.

Fact is, whatever belief system we choose to adopt, it's important to think about what we adhere to daily; to stoke the fires so to speak. Faith in God, for example, requires regular attention and maintenance. Neglect erodes at the foundation of anything we build our lives around.

Faith. Love. Family. Friends. Justice. Paying it forward. Positive thinking. Good Health... There are a lot of things that we say we value. So what? What are we planning to do TODAY that will affirm and sustain the things we insist we believe in?

Back to the spray bottle:
I'm not sure that I'm all that interested in simply masking what stinks in life, or in pretending that it isn't there. I tried that approach for several years, and I found out very clearly that denial is not a useful model.

Instead, I believe that it's preferable to work for actual healing, and restoration, and real change that means something at the heart of who we are. I believe that redemption is the core principle of Good News, and I believe both personal and corporate faith has the power to work those kinds of miracles!

No, life does not stink. I honestly believe that life is radically beautiful!

If you agree with me, then do something about it already!


You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. (Psam 23)

1 comment:

Grandma Grace said...

Yes ! We have a Great Redeemer ! Great picture of Him knocking at our Heart's Door ! He will redeem every Life that opens the door to Him! Keep reminding us Derek !