Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sunday Inquiries: #2

Right before the rough turn the plot is destined to take in Steve McQueen's newest film Shame, Sissy Sullivan comforts her brother:

We're not bad people. We just come from a bad place.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:20-23
Three years prior to his decision to write and direct Shame, first-director Steve McQueen took on the story of Bobby Sands, leader of a prisoner strike. He was a member of the British Parliament, yet sent to prison for his activity in IRA related protests. He pioneered a hunger strike in prison, making five demands. Wikipedia lists those demands as:
  1. the right not to wear a prison uniform;
  2. the right not to do prison work;
  3. the right of free association with other prisoners, and to organize educational and recreational pursuits;
  4. the right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
  5. full restoration of remission lost through the protest.
Sands and two other men lost their lives over those five points. They seem reasonable to me. They don't seem ridiculous, and they don't seem like they were worth the lives of the three men it took to gather the attention of British legislation.

When did men become so cruel to one another? When did Bobby Sands' life become so worthy of disregard. It took him sixty-six days of fasting to die.

Why are we so evil as a people? Why do we hate with such zeal? Why do feel such wretched pains inflicted?

It seems we were, from the beginning, fit (or destined) to bear evil in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. The first man born from a woman, Cain, became a murderer. That's not a good way to start.

So why has God let us (let us be conditioned) become what we are -- sick-minded sinners, through and through? generation after generation... the sins of the Father expanded and re-imagined by sons and grandsons.

There was a time when God was fed up with us, when he seemed through with us.

The story of Noah and the flood is back-dropped by a rage of sin and violence.

Genesis 6:5 
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, 
and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 

But the text goes on to speak of the mind of God -- and that's where I get confused.

And the Lord was sorry he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 
So the Lord said, 
"I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, 
man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, 
for I am sorry that I have made them." 
Genesis 6:6-7

How can God have regret? Didn't he know what he was doing when he created Adam? Didn't he see this coming? He let the serpent walk around in the Garden. I don't understand... how can God be regretful of what he's done?

How does God experience emotion? -- particularly regret?

And if He did feel this regret somehow, this low sense for having created such an abominable race, why did He not start over? Why not make all things new without sacrificing Himself?

I reckon the question comes down to:  

Is this the world that really brings You the most glory, Lord? Wouldn't it have been better if you created a people that wouldn't move You to regret? 

We groan. 

Richard Wurmbrand spent a better part of his life in Soviet-run Ukrainian gulags due to his unrepentant faith in Christ Jesus. The nightmares he tells in several of his books are nearly unimaginable. Reading his memories, we can see the great depth of human depravity exercising its most talented machinations of imagination for the torment of the soul.

One story remains with me. In Wurmbrand's book, In God's Underground, he speaks of a country priest who is vigorously tortured for months on end. By the end of it, this beaten man tells Wurmbrand, "I have suffered more than Christ." I can't imagine the horrors a man, indwelled by the Holy Spirit of promise, must have suffered in order to say such words.

Just a few verses later in Romans Chapter Eight, Paul dares to write these words:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to His purpose. Verse 24

All things work together for good... really? How? How do we say that to the man tortured in the gulag beyond any reason? How do we say that when You Yourself have been sorry for creating us?

My question is an age-old variant on the anthem of Why do bad things happen to good people? But, in knowing the usual answers, I re-state it this way:

If You regretted what You had done, 
why did You persevere with us? 


How much longer must we groan?
Please, make all things new again. Please.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, 
For the Lord our God 
the Almighty reigns. 
Let us rejoice and exult 
and give him the glory, 
for the marriage of the Lamb has come, 
and his Bride had made herself ready; 
it was granted her to clothe herself 
with fine linen, bright and pure" ---
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 
Revelation 19:6-8



    All this pain..
    I wonder if I'll ever find my way.
    I wonder if my life could really change, at all.
    All this earth..
    Could all that is lost ever be found?
    Could a garden come up from this ground, at all?

    You make beautiful things,
    You make beautiful things out of dust.
    You make beautiful things,
    You make beautiful things out of us.

    [verse 2:]
    All around,
    Hope is springin up from this old ground.
    Out of chaos, life is being found in You.

    You make me new,
    You are making me new.
    You make me new,
    You are making me new. (making me new.)

    1. I really like how she sang the bridge. Very careful and pretty. It also made me think of this Eisley song: