Why I May Be Glad George Bush Won

December 22, 2006

Contrary to the rational and (in my opinion) non-spiritual view of the post-enlightenment God, I believe things happen for a reason.  I believe that God actively works in the world to bring about God’s reign.  This, of course, calls into question our own free will to do what we would do, because if God is actively working in the world then how can we be making our own decisions?

Well I also believe we make our own decisions.  I believe in free will.  Maybe God just knows what decisions we will make and uses them to the advantage of his purpose.  The difference between free will and God’s intervention in the world is a holy mystery to me, but a tension I live with because the alternatives don’t work for me.

So when George Bush was reelected in 2004, I wasn’t as disappointed as others.  I was disappointed, but I knew that there had to be some purpose in it somewhere.  My suspicion was that the neo-conservative movement had to finish running its course completely so that the culture could completely exhaust itself of the fear-based thought that sees things in black and white terms.  Doing so would then allow a new movement to come afterwards that would allow a truly value-based culture– one that sees things not in surface morals like drinking, sex, sexual orientation, and so forth, but in deep relational morals:  how does drinking, sex, money, sexual orientation, power, greed, and so forth affect relationships- our ability to live with ourselves and each other on this planet.

I think we are close to that point.  The mid-term elections certain showed signs of a change in the air, and I really bring all of it up because I just read this article by Andrew Sullivan which summarizes it quite nicely, I think.  It talks not so much about where we are going as where we have been, but it still leaves one with a sense of hope, I think.

It is also one that ties into where we are in our church.  Some see it as a time of crisis in the Anglican Communion.  I see it as a time of rebirth, of reawakening.  “The darkness of the tomb or the darkness of the womb?” A quote from an author I can’t remember right now.  I think it’s the latter.  The whole world moves towards an understanding that things just aren’t as simple as we’d like them to be.  It is that nuanced understanding that Sullivan speaks of– that tension between free will and predestination– that grey space between black and white– that allows us to move forward into the messiness of our journey with God.  And to live in that tension means that there is a constant energy propelling us forward into the future, into God’s future.

What a fitting advent message.

j

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2 Responses to “Why I May Be Glad George Bush Won”

  1. M Nixon Says:

    Just a quick question – do you know any relative quantum physics, such as the time dilation effect? Because with a basic knowledge in this, I find the idea of god being able to “shape” our destinies as time goes forwards quite non-fitting.
    I’m not trying to “flame” you like a militant atheist (I hate when people do that), I was just curious as to how this fits into your idea of free will and determinism.

    Martin

  2. Jeff Says:

    My theology has changed a little since I wrote this post; first let me just say that I don’t think everything happens for a reason but I do think that God works to influence us to grow from our pain, and to be transformed from the brokenness of the world.

    I think the current political dynamic may partially testify to that.

    In regards to your quantum physics question, you may find someone like John Polkinghorne more apt to answer your question; I believe that the language of science and the language of religion seeks to describe different kinds of truth, both equally valid. Some have described this as science describing the how and religion describing the why. I don’t think of them in competition, even as God works within the world– we may find scientific explanations for how God works but that is not the answer to why God works. Why did the holocaust happen? For me that was not God. Why did that cause Christianity to begin to assess its role in the persectution of Jews over two-thousand years and begin to step back from describing Jews simply as the “Christ-killers”? There are many other examples from that horror. That is God at work– of course it does not justify the holocaust but God used the horrible tragedy to produce some transformation– not erasing the scars but allowing us to live with them as we worked to make use of them for the good of others. That is the basic story of the crucifixion and the resurrection.

    j


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