On Thursday, January 23 The House will be attending the Veritas Forum event on the University of Ottawa campus. Holly Burkhalter will be speaking about justice in a profoundly unjust world. Ms Burkhalter has had an astonishing career and I have no doubt that she will have keen insight into a christian’s work in pursuit of justice. Click the link below to go to the University of Ottawa Veritas Forum page for a further description of Ms Burkhalter’s work with the International Justice Mission and her topic of speech. I hope to see you at the Alumni Auditorium on Thursday!
This Saturday we will be gathering at St. Peter & St. Paul’s Church (152 Metcalfe St.) for an evening of worship and prayer. In our busy lives, whether as students or working-professionals, we often neglect contemplation. Yet this ‘Spiritual Discipline’ is one of the oldest ways in which Christians have worshiped. It’s simple really: contemplation boils down to attention. When we contemplate we are saying to God, “I give you my attention — the focus of my mind and spirit.” There will be lively worship and great fellowship. I hope to see you there.
Question 32: “But why are you called a Christian?”
In the, now famous, story of the “blind men and the elephant,” there are six blind men who approach an elephant. Each tries to define the entire elephant based on their particular experience. One feels the side and says the elephant is like a wall. Another feels the tusks and says that the elephant is like a spear, and so on. This story is often used to support universalism, i.e. all religious beliefs ultimately lead to the same place – we all climb the mountain from different places, but all reach the same summit. It is also often used to support a more skeptical view of human knowledge and understanding, i.e. we can never really make absolute claims but rather must content ourselves with relative and particular judgements. It’s interesting that both of these views devalue God and human alike. In the story of the elephant the people are blind and stupid (for lack of a better word) and the elephant is silent. This makes a false assumption about the human faculty to know and God’s ability to make Himself known.
None of us can perceive God in His entirety; in that way we are indeed blind and limited. But what if God was able to reveal Himself in a knowable way? Thus the question from the Heidelberg Catechism this week is, “but why are you called a Christian?” You see last week we discussed our belief in God the Father Almighty. Yet other beliefs and religions affirm a similar belief. Muslims and Jews believe in one God and many people now-a-days hold to spiritual belief in “something.” What sets Christians apart is their belief in God the Father as further defined and made knowable by His Son, Jesus. This is a radical belief, which as Paul says is, “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” The Apostle John writes that, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” It is in Jesus, as equally God and man, that we can know God. It is through Jesus that God’s intent to redeem humanity is made known and available, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” God speaks through Jesus and we see through Jesus; He is the Light which reveals that God is not mute and human beings are not blind.