Wednesday, January 20, 2010



Bethany Keeley at Think Christian recently wrote on mourning:
Here’s an example: today I was reading Undoing Gender by Judith Butler, considered by many a foundational author for gender theory. She writes this about mourning:
I think instead that one mourns when one accepts the fact that the loss one undergoes will be one that changes you, changes you possibly forever, and that mourning has to do with agreeing to undergo a transformation the full result of which you cannot know in advance.
I was stunned by this line. If we think of mourning in this way, we might call Christianity a lifelong exercise in mourning. In one sense, we are transformed because of a death in the first century. In another sense, we are constantly mourning the loss of a perfect relationship with God that we have never personally experienced. In both cases, our sinfulness and Christ’s death, we are being transformed (as Paul says, by the renewing of your minds) toward the people we will be on the new earth. I think the season of Advent has a mood that fits this characteristic of Christianity.
Breaking that down a little, what she is saying is that Christianity is tranformational; therefore, transformative experiences are of Christ. Further she is acknowledging that even the unfaithful recognize the transformative nature of some things - that those things can be seen through the lens of Paul in the first chapter of Romans:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
That's a great point, but I see something else in Bethany;s observation, even something else from Romans:
Rom 8:28 - And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose.
Remember now, her observations are about mourning the loss of another person, an important person, in our lives. What I see is that even in our grief there is cause to celebrate. What I see is that God is making us into the people He intends us to be.

We so often lose sight of the fact that even in our pain there is reason to be thankful and to worship - in our loss there is reason to celebrate.

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