According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Monday, June 13, 2011

Angelic Help

by Mason Slater
posted June 6, 2011

[Quickly I breathed], "No not here!" It was 3:00am, I was on my way home from work, and my car had just died. For the past few miles of highway it had been acting up, and as I stopped at the red light at the top of the exit ramp it lost any ability to move - later I found out the transmission had failed.

The exit had two lanes, so even though I couldn't even move off to the side, other cars could get around me. I flipped on my four-way emergency lights, and sat there trying to figure out what I was going to do.

No cell phone (it was a few years ago), no idea why my car wouldn’t move, and frightened that some inattentive driver was going to rear-end me.

Suddenly lights shone bright in my mirror. I stuck my hand out the window to wave them around, but then their four-ways came on and a woman in her mid thirties knocked on my window.

She asked if I needed help and I explained my predicament. “Alright,” she replied “well first we have to get you out of this intersection. If you can still brake and steer I can push you with my car into that parking lot down the road.”

A few terrifying minutes later we had made it into the parking lot, and we got out to survey the damage. My car looked fine, but her's was a bit scraped up in front.

I thanked her profusely, and asked for her contact information so I could repay her for the repairs I knew her car was going to need. She refused. When I insisted she said it was okay and that she would just tell her husband it was like that when she came out of work.

After letting me use her cell phone to arrange for a ride, she drove off.

Over the next few days, almost every time I told that story I got the same response, “God sent an angel to help you.”

I was reminded of that night recently, when a friend was telling a similar story. He and his wife were broken down in the middle of the Appalachians when a man stopped to help them, drove a half hour each way to get a part to fix their car, and instead of letting them pay him back he left them with $100 to “get something to eat.”
My freind's response, “It must have been an angel, no one would do all that.”

Now, I believe in angels. They might not be a very central part of my faith, but the Bible talks about them and I have no reason to discount their existence.

But in situations like these, I’ve become convinced that most of the time angels are a cop-out.

Maybe we can’t imagine driving an hour out of our way, or scraping up our car, all for a stranger. Since we can’t imagine doing it ourselves, we don’t want to admit there are people far kinder and more generous than us, and we attribute it to angels.

Maybe we have such a low view of people, such a strong doctrine of the fall and human depravity, that we have no room for people who do these acts of love with no thought of gain for themselves. Angels then become an easy explanation to how anyone could do such a thing. They can't, only angels do.

Or, maybe, in those moments we are faced with the realization that the proper response to what was done for us is to pay it forward, to do the same for others, and that’s hard. Saying, “it was an angel” releases us from that responsibility.

It could be that the woman who helped me that night was an angel, but I don’t think so. I think it was just someone who took pity on a stranded driver at 3:00am, banged up her car to help him, and refused to consider repayment.

And, in many ways, that is far more powerful an idea than the suggestion that I encountered an angel.

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