theological reflections at the intersection of (my) perception with reality
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Take a Trip Down "The Road"
I don't read as much fiction as I used to, but I was recently sucked in by Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It's a haunting, moving and thought-provoking portrayal of a world without God which has reached its end. It's the apocalypse for atheists, a reminder that one doesn't need Hal Lindsey to imagine what a world after this world would be like, where the spring of life is hidden beneath the shadow of night, and where death and hopelessness cover the earth like the Spirit of creation inverted. When one awakens from the dark dreamy world of "The Road," and remembers that the future does not lie outside of God, hope springs up again. But a glimpse of this bleaker future makes John's apocalypse shine that much brighter.
The Road isn't all black and dreary. The light that shines forth from the narrative comes from the beauty of a father and son whose grip on hope is bound up with their hold on each other: each is the "other's world entire." Their relation to each other is primal and true, precisely because all else is stripped away. In a desolate place, beauty and truth and goodness can still be, not so much found, but made--forged, as from scalding iron. They fix their faith onto each other and in so doing, stay true to the promise. In spite of all else, as death crowds in around them, they stick to the pact to be "the good guys," believing that there are others out there like them.
I'm a theology professor at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN. I teach about Kierkegaard and postmodernity, theology and contemporary culture, the doctrine of salvation, theological perspectives on evil and suffering, and contemporary issues in the person and work of Christ. I enjoying cracking the mysteries of "Lost" with my beautiful wife, Sara.