Sunday, May 10, 2009

Theology of Loneliness

"The Voice of Life in Me, cannot reach the ear of life in you; but let us talk that we may not feel lonely."-Khalil Gibran, Sand and Foam

I am convinced that no experience or emotion more closely resembles hell. C.S. Lewis described the existence of darkness, as attributed to the removal of all light, such an analogy would trickle into a proper understanding of hell. Being as the removal of God and his mercy leaving behind his flawless justice. But this would lead us further to speculate that his removal along with all forms of his Goodness (save his justice) would also remove any all forms of uplifting and hope fostering community. Thus a certainty it is safe to attribute to God's wrath is the prescence of loneliness. 

Now loneliness must be distinguished from isolation. These are in no way related. Perhaps the clearest indication of this is Western Civilization. Thomas Friedman wrote a work named "The World is Flat" , in this book Friedman discusses at length the globalization that continues to take place within our world. Simply put our world becomes more and more connected by ever increasing technological developments, yet within a simply national context suicide rates are higher in the USA than any other nation on the globe, ambien and sleep medicines are higher in the states than they are in any other nation in the world. Amidst the cell phones, parties, internet networking  (Facebook), television shows, movies, ipods, and densely populated metroplexes americans are lonely.

"the soul of man...hath in it a raging and inextinguishable thirst!"- Henry Scougal 17th century theologian
Inside of man is a longing that cries out to be answered. There is a violent and reoccurring need to be known, to be apart of, and most importantly to be fulfilled. However, sin has crept in and impaired our vision of God as the supreme fulfillment of this need, incapacitating us from seeing and savoring him as beautiful (2 Cor. 3), or has simply placated our thirst for him by the hardening our hearts.(Heb. 3:13)

Loneliness is the inability to experience the presence and nearness of God. This often takes place by the hand of doubt fostered by the presence of a sinful nature. This nature, by virtue of itself hinders you from beholding the Lamb in all his beauty. Thus this nature gives birth to sin, sin birth to doubt, and doubt produces a lack of trust in the promise of God's nearness, his proximity to his people, and his grace that sustains us and comforts us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16,Isaiah 41, 45) . It is not however, to say that "distrust" would then be  the ultimate grounds for loneliness. Meaning that there exists no scale where distrust would prove the pinnacle location of loneliness and great trust as beyond the grips of loneliness. 
We must clarify that the ignorance of faith and its purposes would not be "distrust"(an extreme inability to trust God), but  "no trust" (no faith, one outside of the Lords covenant). This "no trust" however, does not necessarily breed a more intense form of loneliness, but does well to produce a loneliness that generally plays itself out in a form of worship of some idea, ambition, dream, or desire for worldly gain. And so the premise still stands that loneliness is birthed from the cataract that sin provides, disabling our vision of God and his presence in a world where his attributes have been clearly portrayed. (Romans 1)

1 comment:

  1. Question: Two men, check. Two churches is a little confusing, maybe a little explanation there? Two cultures- okay, probably world and christian, I guess but maybe a little explanation there too. Ya'll are reading some great books by the way-- Mark Driscoll's getting a lot of flack on the language issue and speaking so overtly about very touchy subjects, thoughts? Piper is supposed to go on the record about this soon, I believe. I also suggest Spurgeon's Soulwinner book if you want some more.