Saturday, August 1, 2009

RECORDING HISTORY - Good, Bad, or Neutral?

I hope that as many people as possible take time to record the "history" of their lives and the communities around them, particularly within the church. One of the reasons that multiple records are valuable to (church) historians is that no two people see or record the same event in the same way. We know this to be true about the four Gospels, for example, even as the apostles wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

It is also interesting to see that the same event can be reported as inherently good, bad, or neutral in its value to individuals, society, or the church. Before I started writing In the Footsteps of Phoebe, and old friend asked me, "What are your presuppositions?" I was rather taken aback, and stated that I simply planned to report historical events, rather than color them with my own presuppositions. Now that the project is finished, I understand what my friend meant. All of history, when reported, is seen as either good, bad, or neutral - and years down the road whatever is painted as neutral will be reassigned to good or bad in light of its long-term effect in a continued history. And so we are sometimes caught saying things like, "the jury is still out on that decision."

Of course, years down the road, not everyone will agree about whether today's current events have had a positive or negative effect on our lives - particularly in relation to our faith and the and our goal to be true to God's Word and to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations.

We should be praying fervently for God's guidance now, that the history we live and influence lands on the side called "good;" that someday when they is reported in newer history books, our decisions and actions as individuals and as "church" will be viewed as well-informed, wise, and God-pleasing.

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