Lamenting with my friends the downward spiral of our culture, as people our age are wont to do, I was reminded of my earlier days as a rampaging college student seeking to fix the system and save the world. That pursuit fed my natural leaning toward cynicism and suspicion of mankind. The cause of the day was to end war and legalize marijuana (which would induce peaceful lifestyles and loving human interaction with widespread use). Turn on, tune in, drop out! Protest! That was the plan! We did not hold a candle to the intensity and fervor of the protesting that is happening now, though we did have a few striking moments. The aftermath of my generation’s efforts seems largely to have been good music and the normalizing of promiscuity. Of course I am perhaps over-simplifying. Most of my hippie friends eventually became upstanding members of their respective communities and businesses – what we would have termed ‘sell-outs’ in those days. And the beat goes on…
As did many of my self-respecting resistance compatriots, I also swept away ‘bourgeois’ beliefs about God and religion, replacing them with an antagonism towards Jesus that He had in no way earned. It was my reaction to a hypocritical and guilt-imposing denomination that had just taught me (my freshman theology class) that the Bible was mythical. So was religion, I decided. ‘He was an alien from another planet’ was my explanation of Jesus’ appearance on our ungrateful little orb. I was fervent!!
But a few short years after college, confronted with the emptiness of atheism as a viable solution to personal devastation and failure, I became unexpectedly convinced of the reality of a personal, caring, protective God. By what can only be explained as a miraculous chain of events, I discovered that the God of the universe had heard my cry for help and had thunderously answered. What??? He cared about a heretic who called His Son a space alien? Indeed He did!
In retrospect I can see that I, like everyone else, wanted to make a mark on the world, be a mover and a shaker, a transformative significance who would shape the course of history for the better ( better as I saw it, of course). My aspirations were noble, my efforts were strenuous, the results were disappointing. Significance came from an unlikely source! It was not until I accepted Reality in the person of Jesus Christ that I came to know the fulfillment of soul which accompanies the knowledge that I was doing what I was created for – insignificant perhaps to this world’s standards, but precious to the Lord. God in religion brought only guilt, but face to face He brought peace. I am very intrigued with ideas and beliefs about eternity and other-worldliness. I am no longer thinking of God as a space alien (although in the best sense He is), but I have been persuaded of the profound reality of the unseen. The God I cannot see tells me that He has created me because without my friendship He is not completely satisfied. And this is how He sees every person. Looking at humanity with heaven’s eyes rather than earth’s removes the cynicism and disillusioned viewpoint of mankind. I love how C.S. Lewis looks at people – as immortals who warrant respect. I want to live by this principle in every interaction with my fellow creatures!
I must ask myself: how do I treat those who annoy me, who disagree with me, whose values are different than mine, who love me, who dismiss me, who wound me, who despise me – my friends, my co-workers, my neighbors, my family, my husband?
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Hmmmmmm – seems like a salty perspective to me!