I am frankly obsessed with the front end of the book. It never ceases to amaze me how much theology God packed into the first few pages of Genesis.
Early on we learn about the two inalienable rights in the story of our universe. First is the what God gave man. Beyond any question of a shadow of a doubt, we have the right to be stupid.
This is a right we exercise relentlessly on an individual and corporate basis.
And God lets us.
The second great right is His right to pursue people who have exercised their right to be stupid, even when they are compounding their stupidity by running away from His love.
What is challenging is that from this minimalistic perspective, God does not seem to exercise His right evenly. It seems (again, from my inadequate perspective) that some people go stupid on Him, and He shrugs and lets them do it to themselves. Other people do the same or worse, and He exercises His right to pursue them.
Or maybe I am merely projecting myself on Him.
I certainly have played the stupid card many times in my life, and now and then I also pursue those who have played that card, even when they have not asked me to.
I pondered that this afternoon as I looked back over the last year.
There is a community that comes to mind that did some really stupid things to me (and I like to humor myself by thinking they did them against God too, but I don’t really know whether He took up an offense for me or not). When I left, I stopped short of dusting off my cowboy boots, but I don’t really plan on going back there any time soon.
Let them be stupid.
There was another community that did me wrong (in my opinion), and I am pondering investing in that community in spite of themselves. I wrote one of my researchers and had her start digging in a particular area to see if I could find some roots to their issues that would facilitate healing what they have not asked me to heal.
There is another community that has treated me very badly three times in the last year, and I have no intentions at all of pulling back from them. I am going to go there again this year and love on those knot headed porcupines even though it is going to cost me dearly as they act like their sorry unredeemed selves one more time.
What makes me exercise my right to love the undeserving in such an uneven manner?
And is God really that uneven in His exercising His right to pursue people who are exercising their right to be stupid?
I don’t know. It could be just my perspective, or possibly He is a bit selective about when He goes porcupine hunting — I mean hugging.
All I know is that I am really, really, really, really glad He exercised His option several more times than I exercised mine. It is just scary to think of what I would have done to myself without His pursuit of me.
Copyright July 2012 by Arthur Burk
From home, at the end of an excessively telephonic day