Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Monday, December 28, 2015


Just for the record, what the op-ed piece says is that the coming of Christ changed the way the world thinks. When God became man in the person of a child in a manger, nothing stayed the same.

That miraculous birth, he says, ended the reign of the kind of Platonism that divided the spiritual and the natural by making, in essence, the natural spiritual. Instead of a mindset that determined the natural world to be evil and the spiritual world to be good, Christianity affirmed the beauty and utility and even the holiness of the world, a world God loved so greatly that he gave his only son.

That's not all, he says. There's more. When the Word became flesh, that action made it perfectly clear that human beings have real worth, real dignity. Christianity asserts that each one of us--all of us, not just some of us--have divine worth, which is to say, worth to the Divine. We carry his image. "The incarnation also reveals that the divine principle governing the universe is a radical commitment to the dignity and worth of every person, since we are created in the divine image." That's the way he says it.

Perhaps as an offshoot of that particular premise, he says it's not wrong to say that Christianity did a great deal to make all of us more cognizant of suffering and more willing to help those who are, even the strangers within our gates. After all, Christianity did much to end slavery and racial injustice.

Oh, and one more thing. He claims that the story of Jesus Christ isn't a philosophical textbook. Well, it may be, after a fashion, but more importantly it operates as good stories always do--they provide models of behavior for us. We see Christ's compassion for the woman at the well, and we begin to understand that our own behavior should also be ruled by a similar compassion.

Does that mean that only Christians are caring and loving? Would that could be true, but as everyone knows, it's not. And he says as much, too.

But it's all there, in case you're wondering. You may have missed it. Peter Wehner's wonderful essay came out on Christmas Day. It's possible you didn't read it, Christmas being Christmas.

In case you missed it, you can read it here.

That's right--in the New York Times.

The next time someone talks about "the lame-stream media" or "the liberal press," don't forget that you saw it here, in the New York Times, an argument for the wonderful efficacy of Christ's birth, of the life of our Lord.

And the next time some Presidential candidate tries to make hay out of how it is that Christianity is in jeopardy all across the great U.S.of A., wince a little. It's just not true. As Marilynne Robinson herself once reminded me, if her fine novels are translated into Persian and published in Iran, it means Christians are not powerless to tell the story.

Much depends on how the story is told. When Christ told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel, he didn't publish a style manual. There are Billy Grahams and Pat Robertsons, but there are also Peter Werners and Marilynne Robinsons.

The gospel will find a way even if and when some of us think we're powerless and it won't. Jesus Christ is not to be stilled.


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