Monday, March 27, 2017

Worldview


A long time ago, I worked for a couple of carpenters. One of my jobs was to construct frames for pouring concrete. Every time we needed a slab, I had to first build a sturdy frame, complete with strong wire to keep the sides from bulging and then lay in reinforcing rebar. When the concrete truck came, I held my breath until I was assured that the frame would hold. It always did. As soon as the concrete set, I tore down my handiwork and snipped the snag-ends of wire.

Such a frame works as a metaphor for integrity. If our “frame” or worldview is sound (well-constructed, reinforced and wired up snugly) what is poured in will adhere and set satisfactorily. In other words, integrity means having a strong framework to hold true to who we are. Without such a framework, we would be scooping up splattered and meandering ideas, never satisfied with the results. For me, the Christian worldview—that God made us and has an eternal purpose for our existence—is the only satisfactory one. Without it, I would be scooping up splattered and meandering ideas. We see a lot of scooping in contemporary thought. Many newspaper editorials come to mind as well as the pontification of other media gasbags.

Like Daniel of old, we live in an alien kingdom where people are put off by our worldview. If we can have discussions on a level above twitter and texting, we often find that even the scoopers have a Christian worldview imbedded so deeply as to be invisible—to them at least. It takes a lot of faith to be an atheist—faith in your own reasoning power.

Daniel did not want to eat the food of Babylon because he suspected it had been sacrificed to idols, so he worked it out that he and his friends ate only vegetables. His three friends did not want to bow down to the huge idol Nebuchadnezzar had erected because their worldview told them to bow only to the Hebrew God. They were thrown into a furnace for not bowing but came out smelling sweet. The Chaldeans worked it out with Darius to issue an irrevocable law that people could only pray to him, knowing full well that Daniel prayed openly every day facing Jerusalem. For this, he was thrown to the lions but came out unscathed. His accusers were then thrown in and they were not so fortunate.

Similarly, our Christian worldview means that we stick to our guns. But it means more than that. We should love God, love our neighbor, teach others about our faith, obey the commands of Jesus based on love, take care of the poor, widows and orphans. Micah 6:8 tells what God requires: Be merciful, love justice, walk humbly with your God. Do no harm by any word or deed; do good wherever there is need; remain attentive to the Bible; stay in love with God. This later is not easy—for me it requires fellowshipping with likeminded believers in the context of church.

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