Do you mind if I combine two questions, two thoughts, into one post? I didn't think you would.
Have you ever struggled with the old question of Calvinism vs. Arminianism. That is, God's sovereignty (choosing us) and our responsibility (free will to choose Him)? I always come to the conclusion that, as a man, if I totally understood God I really wouldn't care to worship him. Any thoughts? – Alan
A compelled salvation versus a chosen one. Strangely enough that was the theme of Anthony Burgess' novel, A Clockwork Orange. (Not to be confused with the film's differing themes and observations). The concept of "redemption" takes on quite a different face, does it not, when applied through the lens of a "compelled salvation" versus a "chosen" one. Any comments? – James
Both of these ideas bring me to a both/and frame of mind. Anymore, it's about relationship in ways that are deeper and more substantial than we often think. We choose God AND He chooses us. We compel God to love AND He compels us to Himself. There's a compulsion AND a choice involved, wouldn't you think?
I think Alan hits on something when writing that "understanding God" would bring a level of boredom. I think that's where the compulsion and the choice hit the road together. We choose to still be enamored with God; we make a choice to let mystery take root, to grapple with hard things that we can't understand, and somewhere in the midst of it all trust forms, hope takes root, and grace fills us with an affection for things above, for things that are and rightly should be difficult to understand.
And then James brings the concept of "redemption" into the mix. For me, "redemption" is loosely tied to the notion of "making this all worth it", bringing value to the mundane and day-to-day of real life. There's something there for the compelling and the choosing that's redemptive in nature. There's something about being drawn, almost a magnetic or gravitational link, that works alongside the choice to go that direction, the choice to be compelled and drawn in. That's what makes it "worth it", bringing meaning and purpose onto the blank page of our lives.