This class has me realizing that when I teach as an adjunct once in a while, those students are loving me. Sure, I may have known they thought I was a pushover when during the first break someone starting vaping (“But it’s Birthday Cake, Ma’am”…”Um, what?!?”). I need to crack the whip. Step on a crack…break your momma’s back…Wait, no. Zip it, Devo. I have another paper to write.
Mr. not-at-all-like-the-last-professor actually responds to our posts with not only feedback but more questions. My head hurts, my stomach is empty and my To-Do-List has zero check marks on it.
But check this – a response to his response. And now I pray that this thing is ov-uh.
Thoughtful post, Beth. You bring up some important points. While Jesus gave us the power, and even responsibility, to bind and loose, and while each generation is responsible to do that anew I wonder how much latitude we are given. We look at the Crusaders and wonder how they we able to use the scripture to justify such bloodshed. And then there are other groups who interpret the same body of scripture to demand absolute pacifism. How much are we allowed to “appropriate” on our own? Do we merely weigh our own “billions of particulars”? How much weight should we give the “billions of particulars” of previous generations, or of others with completely different experiences and worldview from our own? How do you think we navigate all of that?
Prayerfully! These are such great and stirring questions, age-old and yet, almost completely unsolvable. Navigation through such potentially treacherous terrain sans direction inevitably leads us up even more slippery slopes as, viewing the landscape only through our own “billions of particulars”-made lenses, we fail to take both history and God’s Word into account. It is crucial and wise to utilize them in conjunction with our life experiences, as they are not mutually exclusive. God’s Word trumps all, in my opinion, but much like David still respected Saul (and handled his death properly and respectfully), he absolutely knew Saul was trying to kill him and reacted accordingly. The respect for his king still remained, but he also watched his own back simultaneously based on the history of one of his billions of particular events.
How much God allows us to appropriate on our own goes right to the heart of free will and Calvinism vs. Arminianism and is at times, a conundrum to be sure. I find plausibility with this potential: Our human minds think of free will and God’s plans as an either/or choice. We live in a 100% reality…but maybe it’s a 200% reality and it’s actually a both/and choice. Since God transcends our reality and lives outside space and time as we know it, perhaps there is a way in which appropriation is occurring at the same time as His plan. To me, it’s always a “God can do anything” answer, including “mask” our choices to serve His greater good (plan) but allowing us to think (or otherwise, as in they are real, actual) those choices were still made by us.