It’s been interesting and much cause for thought being a Christian in the medieval program. I’ve brought it up with Felic, and from time to time we wonder how one could be a medievalist and not be a Christian, whether being Christians ourselves gives us an advantage over non-Christians in our field because we share a similar background with the people we’re studying, or whether being Christians makes us biased, unfair. How to balance faith with academic discourse? I enjoyed Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ because it was a devotional book, but I mustn’t let that prevent me from placing it in context, recognizing also that it was used as anti-Lollard propaganda, one extremist’s reaction to another.
The CU says a lot about evangelism, and for the first time I’m surrounded by people who do not know the Bible as well as I do, that actually I’m the odd one out now for having begun reading it at age 8 with no small amount of seriousness. Golly, do I know my Bible Drill. 🙂 But here, as at OBU with all its talk about missions, I hesitate. Not because I am ashamed of the Gospel—on the contrary, I know my Redeemer lives, that he is the body and person of Jesus Christ, Son of God and God himself, the mystery of the Trinity—but because I have never been one for confrontation. Especially now, as I am rereading The Sparrow, as I think on Emilio Sandoz and the Jesuits, on the human condition, on my own approach and relationship to God, the conclusion to my hesitation is that I am a soul seeking God, on a journey of my own, and this will manifest itself in the mirror of my life without needing words.
I’m reading Romans. This is how I approach God:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
And this is how I try to love God:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.