Thursday, October 28, 2010

History = His story

I am reading a challenging book in pursuit of my M.Div degree (I often feel like a perpetual student and that's not necessarily a bad thing). The book is called "The Open Secret" by Leslie Newbigin. He once served as associate general secretary of the World Council of Churches. The book has a lot to say and makes my head ache in places, but I had to share this quote as soon as I read it. He argues for a "universal history" or point of human existence. Could this be also a way to get at what physicists call "the theory of everything"?

"The idea of a universal history has come into our [western] culture from the Bible. The great religions of Asia have not been interested in the construction of a universal history. All the religions that have their origin in the Indian subcontinent have seen the human story in terms of recurring cycles. The movement of time is interpreted on the basis of our experience of nature, which is the experience of continually repeated birth, growth, decay, death, and new birth. In Hindu thought the whole cosmos is involved in the cyclical movement. Each age (kalpa) of many millions of years comes to an end and is replaced by another. The story can never come to a point. There is no point in a circle, and so there is no story to tell. There are only stories." (p. 86)

As confusing as life can get for this follower of Jesus, I am glad that I can live my life confident that there is a point. I may see it less clearly at times than at others, but I can carry on precisely because I know (by faith) that my story will find its point within His story. That point will not disappoint.