a vestige of thought...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The phrase 'a vestige of thought' is meant to indicate that the things I write here are not my best work. They are wisps of ideas that hit me throughout the day (or week, or month) that I feel the desire to write about and post for whatever 'audience' stumbles across this site to read. The title is sort of my excuse if what I write doesn't make perfect sense. In other words, my thought in these posts is 'disappearing' or 'no longer exists.'
I can't claim credit for the phrase either. It's actually from a poem by Christina Rossetti, one of my favorite poets:
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
So there you have it. That is why my blog is called "a vestige of thought..." The end.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
A Thought on Holiness
In my philosophy class, we have spent a good chunk of time discussing 'evil' as a distortion of 'goodness." Words such as [dys]function, [im]proper, and [dis]honesty seem to indicate this, and we talked about how it implies a perfect standard. I couldn't help thinking, though, that this seemed too simple. After all, could we argue the opposite if our English vocabulary were different, and 'good' prefixes negated the 'bad' meaning of a word. But I came to realize that maybe the issue is bigger than that. Maybe 'good' and 'bad' have the same relationship as 'hot' and 'cold.' Maybe 'evil,' as we think of it, does not exist, exactly. Maybe 'evil' is a lack of 'goodness,' or--as we like to say around Asbury--'holiness.'
At first this seemed backward to me because we as Christians spend so much time trying to rid our lives of sin, as though holiness were a lack of sin and could not exist on its own. But God existed in perfect holiness long before sin entered into existence. As a result, holiness must be our starting point, not the other way around. Maybe we Christians are going about things the wrong way. Rather than working to rid our lives of sin, maybe we should fill our lives with holiness. You can't gain light by getting rid of darkness. You have to add light, and the darkness will vanish. If sin is actually a lack of holiness, as darkness is absence of light, then adding holiness will remove sin with a success that human attempts to vanquish something that does not "exist" can never attain.
The question that logically follows is, 'How, exactly, does one add holiness to his or her life?' I'm not exactly sure. I can give the Sunday School answer: read the Bible, pray, spend time in fellowship with people who encourage you to be Christ-like. That's so cliche. An answer that I like better, despite the fact that it is more vague, is to seek more of God's grace, which is sufficient for all our needs (2 Cor 12:9) and more of His Spirit, which transforms us (2 Cor 3:18). James 4:2 says that we don't have because we don't ask God for them. Let's ask him.
Perhaps, then, this second answer is the same as the first.