Things I've been meaning to write about
Life is a series of pains. We don’t get to choose a pain-free life, but over time, we do get to choose to live with more interesting pains, like the pain of problem-solving, or creation, or love.
This is a fundamental fact of any existence worth having.
God is thought of primarily as “creator”. In the Jewish and Christian traditions, he is the being who generates new things from the darkness, and calls into being that which is not. So when the bible tells us that we are made in the image of God, we are meant to understand that we too have the ability to create things which were never imagined.
“Hell” in the Christian scriptures is not a place, but an event. That event is the moment when reality catches up with you, and confronts you with the raw truth. When that happens to societies, they burn to the ground. When it happens to individuals, they are undone.
But the intensity of that flame is voluntary. You can choose to let it engulf you like a purifying burn, or choose to resist it until it consumes you like a furnace. The longer you resist, the more intense is your undoing.
The entertainment industry has seen this all too well. Music and book publishers set out to resist change, and to work against the clear call of the future. They burn as we speak.
But other people saw the coming changes, and leaned into them. They prospered even as their industries failed. They took the difficult path of letting go of the past, experiencing the loss, and then claiming what the future had to offer.
The Christians of the first century knew that the world around them was about to be overturned. Instead of resisting that, they chose to live into the world that was coming, and so found themselves living as foreigners in the world they were from.
But when the changes came, everyone else quaked in terror. Empires were rocked. Nations fell. Whole ways of being disappeared from the earth.
And the Christians walked forward and claimed the new earth that arose.
We are on an upward and outward path. We confront more interesting pains and dilemmas as we go. Overcoming a problem leads to momentary relief, while success leads to new complications.
This, however, is not torture. This is reward - the reward of growing and struggling and rising. It is our birthright as human beings, and our guarantee from God. The path does not stop. We may always rise.