Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Liberation Theology

It’s one of the most liberating statements of theology I’ve ever read.

“…what God cares about is not exactly our own actions,” C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity. "What he cares about is that we should be creatures of a certain kind of quality – the kind of creatures He intended us to be – creatures related to Him in a certain way.” And the relationship starts, Lewis says, when we discover our bankruptcy.

In other words, we have nothing to offer God. There is nothing we can do, nothing that we can accomplish, that will earn His favor.

But he loves us anyway, almost in spite of ourselves. He loves us because he made us.

We get a glimpse – a mere glimpse – when we raise children. We love our children, often in spite of their behavior (particularly when they become teenagers) (I speak from experience). There are things our children do that please us, but that’s not why we love them. We love them because they are part of us, and they are made in our image. We don’t achieve the ideal of unconditional love that God embodies, but we do love our children, and it has nothing to do with their achievements, what they do, the honors and accolades they earn. Those things might make us proud of them, but they’re not why we love them.

Recognizing our “bankruptcy” (which, by the way is a good and telling word that Lewis uses) essentially sets us free. It’s  liberating idea, and it’s different from every other religion on the planet.

What it means is this: you don’t have to have a big name, or have done something, or achieved some pinnacle of success. In God’s eyes, all those human achievements and measurements are worthless.

What does matter is you. He wants your heart. He wants you committed to Him – and leave the heavy lifting to Him. He doesn’t care if you’re reach or poor, or whether you have some fabulous IQ or something less than a fabulous IQ. The fact that you’re a CEO or won the best salesman of the year award or sweep floors is of no consequence.

Or we can try to keep God’s laws or be the perfect Christian. He’s not impressed. There’s not much
God can do with people who think they’re perfect and have it all figured out. But when you come to Him knowing your bankrupt, there’s all kinds of things He can do.

That’s real liberation theology.

We’ve been discussing Mere Christianity, hosted by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. To see more posts on this chapter on faith, please visit Jason's site, Connecting to Impact.


Anonymous said...

Yes, that's real liberation theology. Thanks for the thought that propels me into today!

Louise Gallagher said...

Every day, after 'the bad man' was arrested, I would walk in the park with Ellie, my pooch, and survey the devestation of my life. The burden was overwhelming, and so, I would look up, up above the tall towering pines and ask God to carry the burden so that I could do one thing, take one step to repair my life.

And He was there, (had been all through that living hell - I just hadn't called on Him) shouldering the load so that I could soldier on.

Beautiful post Glynn.


Mystic_Mom said...

wonderful post, will be sharing and reading again. Thank you! Bright blessings, Shanyn (Strawberry Roan)

Anonymous said...

I was pretty shocked when I read those statements from Lewis because I have been with God in a place where I was saying exactly that, "I'm bankrupt." It feels like the end, but God shows what He can do with our broken offering. I don't remember who said it but I'm reminded of the quote, "man's extremity is God's opportunity." Thanks Glynn.

Helen said...

He loves us in spite of us... I have felt loved by HIm in spite of myself many times. Great post, Glynn.

Unknown said...


By His measure and standard we are all bankrupt... our best is less than His worst.

But amazingly...

By His measure and standard we are loved and of immeasurable worth to Him... not because of who we are, but because of who He is.

S. Etole said...

I was wondering what was coming when I read the title of your post!

lynnmosher said...

Amen, Glynn! When I'm empty, He is my Refill! Great post!

Anonymous said...

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

psalm 103

H. Gillham said...

I like your posts on that book.

I have nothing to add, but I look forward to these almost as much as when you write nostalgically.