dissatisfaction with the world

This reminds me of a quote from Pride and Prejudice: “The more I see of the world the more I am dissatisfied with it.” But he says it in the context of faith, and expresses something I’ve thought of – except he says it more succinctly and with more beauty than I would. I think I’m going to like this book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson. I heard the man speak at the Festival of Faith and Writing back in April, and was so impressed by his eloquent humility that I have been wanting to read one of his books ever since.

A person has to be thoroughly disgusted with the way things are to find the motivation to set out on the Christian way. As long as we think the next election might eliminate crime and establish justice or another scientific breakthrough might save the environment or another pay raise might push us over the edge of anxiety into a life of tranquility, we are not likely to risk the arduous uncertainties of the life of faith. A person has to get fed up with the ways of the world before he, before she, acquires an appetite for the world of grace.

And this:

The world, in fact is not as it had been represented to us. Things are not right as they are, and they are not getting any better.

We have been told the lie ever since we can remember: human beings are basically nice and good. Everyone is born equal and innocent and self-sufficient. The world is a pleasant, harmless place. We are born free. If we are in chains now, it is someone’s fault, and we can correct it with just a little more intelligence or effort or time.

Christian consciousness begins in the painful realization that what we had assumed was the truth is in fact a lie…Rescue me from the lies of advertisers who claim to know what I need and what I desire, from the lies of entertainers who promise a cheap way to joy, from the lies of politicians who pretend to instruct me in power and morality, from the lies of psychologists who offer to shape my behavior and my morals so that I will live long, happily and successfully, from the lies of religionists who “heal the wounds of this people lightly,” from the lies of moralists who pretend to promote me to the office of captain of my fate, from the lies of pastors who “get rid of God’s commands so you won’t be inconvenienced in following the religious fashions!” (Mk. 7:8). Rescue me from the person who tells me of life and omits Christ, who is wise in the ways of the world and ignores the movement of the Spirit.

I’ll write more later after I process what I am reading. Since I am tempted to type out the entire chapter on my blog, I think I can guess that I’m going to like this book. Truth + beautiful, artistic prose = good mental and spiritual food.

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One Response

  1. Hmm, sounds interesting, I may have to check it out. 🙂

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