Zachary Bright

The Wonder of it All

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The Wonder of It All – 2

I have had a long and varied intellectual journey. After struggle and darkness, I have found answers to the kind of questions we all must answer at some level. After twenty-some years as pastor of a small Presbyterian congregation, that had seasons of creative and imaginative outreach, I am now on (what I hope will be) temporary long-term disability, after breaking my leg in June 2013. So, I have time to reflect with you on the wonder of it all, the amazing, puzzling mysteries of many realities.

Most of us have, at least for a moment, experienced the shock of the fact that there is something rather than nothing. And then, why do various realities take the shape we find? For example most non-Christians believe in some kind of monism, that is everything is really made of one kind of substance, i.e., Spirit, Idea or God on the one hand or matter plus energy plus chance on the other hand.

I will not address the extremely problematic belief that everything is really say God or Spirit right now. Instead I will address the second world-view which might be called Materialism. If every thing is made merely of matter plus energy than many of our experienced realities become problematic and must be reduced to matter plus energy. And so human dignity, love and human aspirations are explained as less than we experience them to be, usually as an evolutionary adaptation. And so, ultimate reality is about chance, survival, violence and power. We start deconstructing everyone’s motives in terms of power. We ask: who really benefits, what’s in it for her? Alternatively, if we start with the Christian God, who as a trinity of persons, has known relationship and love for all eternity (I know it seems a lot to claim, but just stick with me), Love is Ultimate Reality. And then… human dignity, love, altruism and creativity make sense, are what we would expect. Now violence, evil, malice and the will to power are problematic. But fortunately, Christians and Jews have an answer for this: the Fall (or first sin of humankind). So Love, not violence or survival, is ultimate reality. We struggle against sin and evil, but that is not ultimate reality. Then there is the Good News that God entered our world to conquer sin and death in Jesus of Nazareth, who proclaimed the kingdom of God is here, with its blessings, and died in our place for our sin and was resurrected to conquer death. So this world-view fits the complexity of our lives better (I would claim) than other options and is not a monism that chops off part of our experienced reality. Cool, right!?

So I intend to reflect in this blog on many experienced and lived realities. I will write about God, love, creation, dogs, theology, philosophy, politics, current events and just what happens around and in me. There is so much to wonder about, to be amazed at. If you have a question, I will try to make a response, as time and interest permit.