"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Predestination and Old Souls

Predestination: the idea that some people are somehow chosen to be children of God while others aren't, has been debated and argued for centuries. What if this is yet another example of something the church has profoundly misunderstood? What if people on both sides of the argument have missed the point completely?

The other night there were several people at our house. I was in the kitchen doing something and the rest were in the living room just chatting when suddenly everyone burst out in laughter. This is not an unusual
thing with this particular group, but when I came in, my wife explained to me that one of our members - who is more concerned with social justice than the rest of us - shared the fact that when she was younger, she thought that she wanted to marry a black guy to show that there was nothing wrong with that sort of thing. In and of itself there is nothing funny about this, but the reason it was so funny to everyone else is because it is totally in keeping with her personality, and that even at a very young age it was evident.

I didn't really think much about this until a couple of days later when I was trying to work through some other perplexing scenarios in the bible, and my mind wandered to predestination. Somehow my mind tied
this previous conversation with predestination. I started to wonder how someone, who wasn't a Christian at the time, could have such a heart for Kingdom issues. Then I started to wonder if this whole predestination thing isn't about who gets in and who gets left out, but maybe it's more about God selecting  a few individuals to show the rest of us how the Kingdom is supposed to operate. 

Many years ago I was reading an article about computer programming where they were talking about the 80/20 rule. At the time IBM was designing software based on this rule to make it more efficient. The rule basically states that 20 percent of - well, anything - will do 80 percent of the work. Most in the church may have heard this exact thing bemoaned from the pulpit in the form of guilt, with the Pastor trying to get more people involved by saying that 20 percent of the congregation is doing 80 percent of the work. But it's not just a church thing; you are probably using 20 percent of the utensils in your cupboard to do 80 percent of what you need to do, as well. The researchers have found that the rule even goes at least one level deeper with 20 percent of the 20 percent doing 80 percent of the 80 percent.

So what if God is using the 80/20 rule. It's not without precedent. God chose Israel as his people to show the rest of the world how to live as Kingdom people. God chose Moses, Aaron, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob etc for the same purpose. He chose various prophets. Jesus chose the disciples. The Bible talks frequently about the Elect. Maybe the Chosen ones aren't Baptists, or Mennonites, or Pentecostals etc at all. I mean, let's face it, for God to exclude ANYONE doesn't make sense. But, for God to chose specific people before the creation of the world, to have a special understanding of the Kingdom in order to show the rest of us, does.

Think about CS Lewis, Brian McLaren, Brennan Manning, NT Wright, Gandhi, Peter Rollins, GK Chesterton, Meister Eckhart, Saint Francis of Assisi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, etc. Now these are probably the 20 percent of the 20 percent, but it still makes sense. There are millions of other, apparently normal, individuals (maybe 20 percent of your acquaintances) that may be chosen. And some of them may not have even said the magic prayer. People may sometimes refer to them as Old Souls, or as the Celts called them; Anam Charra (spiritual guides). These are people who just seem to get it. Who seem to understand at a gut level what's going on. I don't know how many times I have had to stop, and shake my head, when reading someone like Brian McLaren or Brennan Manning, saying to myself: "How does he know this? Where does he come up with that kind of wisdom?"

This is just a thought, and I have not researched it with any kind of depth; however, it is something that seems to be painfully obvious.

Do you know people who just seem to get it? Who seem to intuitively understand the Kingdom?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting thought. I'll have to get you-know-who to read it ;)



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