Last Friday, at about 10:00 pm I was sleepy as I had had just 5 hours of sleep each day during the week. But then I really wanted to read Francis Schaeffer’s “Death in the City”. So I went to the 24/7 Starbucks near Galleria. I got myself a venti Mocha and sat down in a cozy corner armchair. I was all set for my date with Francis Schaeffer.
In “Death in the City”, I was enthralled by how Schaffer built the case that without the orthodox God being ‘there’, the existence of human personality is superfluous. This implied that the Christian message wasn’t just a message of love, joy and peace but one of ‘affirmation’ of the significance and the essence of human personality – striking the right balance between exalting and at the same time reigning-in the spirit of ‘human individualism’ and freedom.
This realization that the gospel is such an emphatic affirmation of (borrowing Schaeffer’s phrase) ‘the manishness of man’, was like fire burning within me. Without the orthodox God who is ‘there’ and who gives man the dignity of free choice and then ‘partners’ with man as the Sovereign co-creator of human history, man gets reduced to a clog in a gigantic machine. He becomes insignificant – a small ‘blip’ in the vastness of ‘space-time’ continuum, if he does not realize that he has in him the ‘image of God’, and so is capable of affecting the course of history, within space-time, using the ability of ‘free choice’ bestowed upon him by the God. The denial of this orthodox gospel-truth and rebellion against the God who is ‘there’, causes man to lose sight of the ‘image of God’ in him and is the cause for the disillusionment of the post-modern man who, in vain, having lost the ‘image of God’ in him, is scavenging the ‘material’ world for meaning and direction in his toils and for significance in the essence of his personality.
The message of the orthodox gospel to this post modern man searching for significance and meaning, it so help him realize that the essence of his personality is the ‘image of God’ in him. The good news will help him realize that even in his fallen confused state, the God who is ‘there’ gives the framework for finding meaning and direction in man’s aspirations for wonder and creativity. The orthodox gospel also paves way for the fallen man to be redeemed back to finding his essence ‘in the image of God’ as co-creator in space-time human history. Having found his true image/nature, this redemption becomes the means for man, to the find the greatest sense of meaning, significance and wonder through a relationship with the ‘supreme Lover’ who is ‘there’. Love joy and peace being the byproducts of this supreme relationship.
So there I was at Starbucks at 1:30 am, ‘fired-up’, with all these revelations consuming my mind, trying to make sense of this ‘rush of reason’. I was absolutely overwhelmed in the realization of how the orthodox gospel affirms the ‘manishness of man’ and how could provide for the lost post-modern man a means to see the essence of ‘personality’ that God has so specially imbued in him. I wanted to ‘cool-down’ and assimilate all of these thoughts that were clogging my mind so I took a brief walk outside Starbucks.
In the calm of the night, as I walked closer to the edge of the road, I heard a distinct hissing sound, the sound of the water sprinklers. I stood and ‘stared’ at the pretty flowers right in the middle of Post oaks gleaming in the darkness of the night. Behind me, was the distant chatter of people at Starbucks. They were probably 10 feet away from me, but it seemed that I was in an entirely different universe, mesmerized by the little white, yellow, red, cream, orange, violet, indigo, blue and pink flowers that were ‘there’ for me to see, amidst the beauty of the night.
It was awesome to be reveling at the beauty of the flowers and the depth in Francis Schaeffer’s “Death of the City” that were‘there’, co-created by man and the sovergin God who is ‘there’, so that I would be ‘fired-up’ about life and be grateful to the Sovereign.