One of the thoughts that’s been puttering around in my head is this idea of a theology based on love. That’s where the grace and mercy of God, in His sovereignty and justice and longsuffering, work together to not condemn but to save, to heal, to build up. In love, discipline is a natural part of encouragement. In love, you don’t have to say, "let me tell you this in love", because the others around you would expect nothing else.
In this frame of mind, "the wrath of God" isn’t so much punishment meted out on an unbelieving sinful world, as it is the "full weight of His character coming against that which would hurt those He loves". That came, paraphrased, from Wayne Jacobsen, listening to MP3s he’s made available from one of his conference gatherings. I admit that I’m still working through what that might mean – you mean, God’s not mad at me for sin? That He’s more mad at sin and its effects on me?
The other part of this that’s scaring me a bit is the next chapter of Wide Open Spaces, "Spiritual Living – do we need a purpose in life to live?" With all the emphasis on being "purpose-driven", I am intrigued and … scared isn’t the right word … maybe trepidatious (wow, that sounds presumptuous – why is "presumptuous" such a high-sounding word?), not really cautious but knowing this is a step to take, that thoughts will be challenged.