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But He turned and rebuked them and said, you do not know of what spirit you are. (MKJV)
I have been greatly engrossed in some reflections on the Christian worldview among other things for sometime now. I share a piece of some of the thoughts I have been cogitating. Perhaps, just as always I intend to provoke thoughts along matters which matter and affect the daily lives of every human being.
A worldview is a fascinating enigma, a lens through which all other essence of life may be seen and by which all decision are made with reference to. Congruence of thoughts provide the foundation for a person’s worldview. Congruence in thought patterns defines a person’s worldview.
Yet, among the many thought I have been dealing with, the inconsistencies and dissociation within people’s worldviews are astounding. We are gradually boxing ourselves into a corner where we tell ourselves we don’t have to be consistent with a worldview. I have for instance met in the past month persons who in one breath honour the principles of honesty and diligence yet in another breath will cheat as long as it was convenient. It appears people are comfortable with the sweetener in the cake and yet dislike the bitter almonds. The irony although is that, it takes this blend among other things to make a good almond cake.
The common ground I have found notwithstanding is the fact that, people tend to have a position of, whatever feels right and adds more money to their account, sound a reasonable plea, irrespective of how inconsistent it may be with their references. Greed and selfishness is more of a universal worldview now and Christendom in no exception now.
It is in this regard I share the remarkable position that the Christian must learn. The obvious thing that comes to mind right now is Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “I like your Christ, I do not likely your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”. The story of Jesus in the records according to Luke chapter nine, beginning fifty two tells the story of Jesus sending some of His messengers ahead of Him to a village among the Samaritans. The people of Samaria in expressing their will rejected the whole crew, of which Jesus was one. In the midst of such rejection, worldviews were brought to bear. The messengers requested that they called down fire to destroy them. A position not very different from what many will have had and still do have in many similar circumstance.
This is where the beauty of Jesus always wins, He rebukes them and alludes to lack of knowledge of the Spirit they bear. Beneficence and charity, the Spirit that makes the difference with the Christ and the Christian! This is the Lesson the Christian must learn.
Altruism, the practise and importantly principle of concern for other people, this is the worldview I share, inviting you to think about it. I know there are debates of whether true altruism is possible. We may each find our own debating ground, but there is no doubt that, Charity is the legacy of Christ and the position the Christian is called to embrace. If I were pushed to the wall to select one message I have found consistent with Jesus’ teaching and his recurring theme, Beneficence and Altruism out a heart for God and humanity will pass for my bet.
C.S Lewis in his book, The Four Loves, does a perfect exploration of this lost virtue through a thought experiment. I will save the details for another day but let me conclude with the categorisation Lewis found and published in his book:
Lewis begins with what he calls the humblest and most diffused of loves, one known as affection. The Greeks call it Storge. This act of beneficence is a product of a relation or familiarity, especially among family. One he explains as “gives itself no airs… People can be proud of being in love, or of friendship. Affection, is modest- even furtive and shame-faced” This is common among all human, and one we share even with animals. When we literally say blood is thicker than water, we speak concerning Storge. Ending on affection, let me quote Lewis, a man who could say it better, “The especial glory of Affection is that it can unite those who most emphatically, even comically, are not; people who, if they had not found themselves put down by fate in the same household or community, would have had nothing to do with each other.”
The second, he calls Friendship. Known as Philia and he defines it as “the least natural of loves; the least instinctive, organic, biological, gregarious and necessary. It has least commerce with our nerves; there is nothing throaty about it, nothing that quickens the pulse or turns you red and pale.” In this day and age where friendship is a click of button away, the real meaning is becoming as virtual as the medium. Friendship is begotten when mere companions of two or more of people discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which are uniquely shared by them. It is a bond of interests. The case of David and Jonathan have always been a memory of true friends. I end with Lewis’ bold assertion on friendship for you to think about, “Few people in modern society appreciate true friendship because few have experienced it”
Eros is the third category C.S Lewis found. This he refers to state popularly known as “being in love”. This he clearly distinguishes from what is entirely sexual and sex-driven. This sensual baseline he calls Venus and clearly differentiates it from Eros. Eros is an emotional connection, like the other loves but more striking because of its strength, sweetness, terror and high ports. One known to be as strong as death and a wonder among humanity. One exemplified in a true marriage context. Call it romantic as Shakespeare’s screenplays tell it for Romeo and Juliet. Many may doubt Eros and even assume it as demonic, but the truth is, it holds as one of the strongest expression of Love and have its place in the beauty of God’s purpose.
Charity was Lewis final category. Agape is who God is (I John 4:8). Charity is patient, kind, envies not, boasts not, not proud, does not dishonour, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices with truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always persevere. Agape loves on regardless of circumstances. Charity is the highest form of love, the real lesson for the Christian.
It may be easy showing benevolence and love for your child, mother or anybody you share a family relation with, yet much easier it may be for someone you have found shared interests and calls a friend. When someone is emotionally attached, expression of love is gracefully dispensed and with splendour, but all these other worldviews share. The exalted nature for the Christian is to Love your enemy and to feed those who despise you. A calling unto Agape, a worldview seen perfectly through God’s lens of love and shared freely with all mankind.