Soft Soap and Wishful Thinking

Today is Monday (I think), October 8, 2018.

Day 22,124

“The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, 1841-1935, The Quotations Page

The word of the day is librate, “to remain poised or balanced.”

We had a wonderful day, yesterday. We didn’t do a whole lot. Sat on the deck, from time to time, reading or whatever. C went down on the beach and sat, and played in the water some. I might do that today. We brought a canopy to put down there. Maybe we’ll take it down there today.

We went into town for a late breakfast (brunch?). We were going to go to the Sunflower Cafe, but it was so crowded that there wasn’t any parking for blocks. So we decided to try them on a weekday morning. We went to IHOP instead. And it was delicious. We went to a few other places, then stopped at Sonic for drinks before going back to the house. By this time it was about 2:00 PM.

We hung out at the house for a while (that was actually when C went down to the beach), then went back in for dinner. We went to a place we have driven by dozens of times but never stopped at, called The Gumbo Diner. Oh, my, what we have been missing!!! We will definitely be back there again, maybe for breakfast one morning.

By the time we got back to the house, it was dark, and the wind was blowing pretty hard. I don’t remember it blowing that hard last time, but both nights, so far, after the sun went down, the wind picked up. I went out on the deck several times just to listen.

The Brewers swept the Rockies to advance to the NLCS. They shut out the Rockies 6-0 yesterday. The stats say that they have won eleven consecutive games.

The Braves managed to beat the Dodgers, 6-5, so they will have game four in Atlanta today.

The Astros will play the Indians in Cleveland today. They lead that series 2-0.

The Red Sox will face the Yankees today in New York. That series is tied 1-1. For some reason, Cora has Eovaldi starting instead of Porcello. I don’t think I agree with that decision. But he’s the coach, not me.

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6

(From The Business of Heaven, C.S. Lewis)
At the Back of the Moral Law – a Person

“Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness. It is after you have realized that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power – it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk. When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor. When you have realized that our position is nearly desperate you will begin to understand what the Christians are talking about. They offer an explanation of how we got into our present state of both hating goodness and loving it. They offer an explanation of how God can be this impersonal mind at the back of the Moral Law and yet also a Person. They tell you how the demands of this law, which you and I cannot meet, have been met on our behalf, how God Himself becomes a man to save man from the disapproval of God. . . . I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay. In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth – only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”

It is for this reason that I deeply believe that, if I am trying to talk to someone about the Gospel, and they have no interest whatsoever, I simply walk away. There is no point in badgering them with it. Sure, I can pray that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes and their hearts to the truth, but I cannot do that by continuing to throw verses at them.

It is also for this reason that I have never liked the “invitation” in worship gatherings. The incessant manipulation to try to get people to walk down the aisle and “accept Jesus as their Savior.” Too many times I have seen people come down the aisle, almost skipping, to “accept Christ.” The preacher notches his belt, and the membership roll gets another name, which will never be taken off, because once you’re on a Baptist church roll, it practically takes death to remove you, and sometimes not even that.

Yes, there is a little bit of sarcasm and cynicism there. But I agree with Mr. Lewis’s words. We cannot possible grasp the forgiveness that is offered us in Christ without first grasping the total hopelessness of our circumstances before God.

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth – only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”

God save us from soft soap.

Father, help us to know that dismay that leads us to forgiveness and, ultimately, comfort. Even those of us who have known You for years need to be reminded, from time to time, of our hopelessness without You. Teach us more and more, that we might lead others to a healthy relationship with You in Christ Jesus.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.