answers

If it weren’t for the profound hope of the Kingdom “here and now and to be” rooted within in my eschatology, I’m starting to think existential nihilism would be a provocative alternative.

But fortunately I believe (for reasons logically unbeknownst to me, currently) in some promises that excite me much more than the prospect of a meaningless life.

Those questions I emailed to my congregational pastor were never responded to – the church is terribly understaffed due to unexpected, explosive growth – but I did have a series of fruitful conversations with many others that helped to shine some light on the subject. Though not all has been answered, I was able to piece together a couple things that I hope to be the foundation of this next chapter of life. Here’s what I think is most important:

It appears that God doesn’t care for the poor and underprivileged because they are inherently oppressed by societal standards; rather, He says they are blessed because through those inherent oppressions, the image of Himself is gradually stripped away.

The poor are so inhumanely undignified that the image of God is forcefully taken from them, thus leaving Him in the position to actively renew that harrowing act of our own brokenness through both Christ and His jealous desire to instill the Spirit in each of us.

However, it’s not just the poor who lack His image, but the rich as well. The only difference is that the affluent cast away the image themselves. In turn, the image of God is replaced by the often unfaltering proclivity to avoid questioning one’s social identity, which is constantly fueled by individualism, trust in material goods, and pursuit of upward mobility.

The poor have lost His image because they have been shamed by the rich. The rich have lost His image because they have exalted themselves.

And Jesus has come to exalt the poor and humble, while shaming the rich and proud.

I know I’ve lost His image in many regards – much due to the unforeseen ramifications of affluence in my own upbringing – but for me, when I’m with the homeless, a unique exchange occurs where we both glimpse the redemption of His image in our lives. And I think this is a blessing that not only surpasses social boundaries, but reconciles them.

As a result, when I think about blessing, I’m going to start putting it into the context of who we are relationally rather than what we attain physically.

So as for me getting into college because of my race and the privileges that comes with it – I’m still not sure if this is a true blessing or not, but I do believe that what I learned there about my role in humanizing a faceless world is more a blessing that anything else.

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~ by Chris Kyle on August 8, 2011.

7 Responses to “answers”

  1. That sucks that they didn’t get back to you bro. Glad to hear that you’re getting a good place to start thinking about stuff. Also glad that you’re not becoming a nihilist. 🙂

    I wanna challenge the idea of losing the image of God. I don’t know if that’s something we can actually lose. It doesn’t seem to me that scripture talks about us losing it…which might make the world all the more beautiful and broken at the same time. I dunno man, I’d love to talk about it.

  2. really well-said, chris. it has been good for me to hear your thoughts along the way of this journey. your ideas have been thought-provoking and profound for me to consider as well, even if indirectly. i really like the way you have boiled it down to blessing vs. privilege.

    just one comment–i think rather than saying “shame the rich,” i would say “humble.” i don’t think God is interested in SHAMING his children, but humbling them–yes.

    love you.

    • Thanks, love. I’m glad you’re willing to walk through this with me!

      As for the “shame the rich,” I swear I read that in one of the gospels, but if not, I know 1 cor. 1.27 states:

      “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.”

      That’s where I got the language from, at least. We can always check and see what the Greek says, though.

  3. Thanks for the message ace. Good thoughts as always.

  4. I was thinking of this last post – and I have to disagree that the poor have lost God’s image. I keep seeing the images of my hermano’s and hermana’s in Honduras – and their love of God. Remember your Guatamala short term mission trip. Were they not the more pure of His image due to their reliance on Him so much more than we rely? Daily – they rely on our Lord daily for food, health, healing, shelter…all of these things are not taken for granted.

    Perhaps it’s the person themselves – be they rich/poor/in the middle that determines which image they wish to reflect? And I feel we may never see some of the decisions they make as they wish to do it anonymously.

    And you yourself said to smile and acknowledge the poor and homeless is a gift in itself – requiring nothing but the shift of ones eyes and the twitch of mouth muscles. But the image shining through those simple gestures …

    Nay – I chose not to separate mankind by the wad in his wallet. Tis the thought in his heart when he wakes each morning, and the actions taken throughout the day. And what he does with the opportunities placed before him.

    Thanks so much for the thoughts, as it made me think. And that right there was a gift from you to me!

    • Oh, certainly! Thanks for the thoughts, because you are absolutely right and I agree wholeheartedly when it comes to not being able to have the image of God taken from you in a spiritual/figurative sense! I actually just made another post in response to what some of your questions, so please check that out, but I would certainly like to talk about it more with you! Phone call soon?

      As for the last thoughts on not separating humanity by the wad in his wallet, I think that we each have the ability to take up and have a choice in what our hearts are geared towards, but I think that many wake up not thinking much about what their heart has to offer because they’ve been so oppressed into thinking that their purpose is meaningless. To continually be told you don’t have worth slowly causes despair, thus making whatever opportunities one may have to be a blur that eventually can’t be pursued. And this is what I mean when the image of God is stolen from us, because that image must exist in humanizing relationship – an example perfectly attributed by the Trinity. But it doesn’t appear to exist when relationship is void from life. Does that make sense.

      I’ll give you a call tomorrow to send my birthday wishes! OH joy!

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