Balance

My view of God is unbalanced. I hope yours is as well.

Balanced views belong to scientists, to statisticians, to people who know everything while knowing nothing at all.

For example, how does a scientist or a statistician see New York City?

Population: 8,274,527
Land area: 790 km2
Average elevation: 10m
Gross metropolitan product: $1.13 trillion
Homicide rate: 0.00007.3 per capita
Average commute time: 38.4 minutes
Annual precipitation: 117cm

And so on and so forth… With enough of this sort of data, you would have a very balanced view of New York. You would really know the city, wouldn’t you?

Well, no. Of course you wouldn’t. Your head could be swollen with all those facts and you would have no idea what it feels like to walk down 34th Street on a busy morning and stare up at the Empire State Building disappearing in the fog. Or how you might feel walking through Central Park or East Flatbush at 3 in the morning. Or the sights and sounds and smells of Coney Island on a hot summer day, or Time’s Square on New Year’s Eve.

Those experiences would not give you a balanced view of New York, but definitely a more memorable one. Would you rather hear about New York from someone who had spent a summer, or maybe a lifetime there? Or from a statistician?

Knowing God is a little like knowing New York City. Nobody really knows God, but the unbalanced perspective of one who has experienced him, who has tasted and touched in some little way, is far more fascinating to me than the systematic theology books I’ve read.

That’s why I say God is kind. That is simply the glimpse that I have had of him. This miserable pharisee of crusty heart and cynical mind, smitten by the inexplicably sweet affection and mercy of the Father of the universe, can only say softly, with dazed wonder… “He is kind.”

It is good that I tell about his kindness too much. It is good that I don’t try to balance it with an analysis of his justice or his wrath. I don’t know much about those things. They are just ideas in my head, not realities in my heart. Someone else will have to help you understand that side of God. All I know is this…

He is kind.

3 thoughts on “Balance”

  1. Kind is a familiar word, but it is an abstract concept. Show me kindness. Show me God’s kindness. Tell me the story of the good Samaritan. Was he kind? Is God kinder than that.

    The truth is you know way more than “God is kind”. You have tasted and touched it.

    The lepers outside the camp. Found the enemy destroyed. They were eating there hearts content while their neighbors were still in fear. There heart were troubled over it. They said “what is wrong with us. We are having the time of our lives while our brothers are cowering in terror. Lets go tell them.” These were the same who were afraid to touch them. Is that kidness? Or is it God encouraging us to tell the great news? Probably both.

  2. Steve, I think I have not been able to expand beyond that word in the last 6 years. I have been urged toward other things of God, I have tried to get a bigger picture of him, but I quickly am overwhelmed. Actually, I am overwhelmed just plumbing the depths of his kindness.

  3. Jim, I think you missed my point.

    Kind is just a word. It is simply a label. Labels are good and bad. They give us something to grab hold of and quickly convey a concept. But they also short cut the thinking, feeling, and experiencing process. It is the nature of language.

    I know you know exactly what you mean. The trick is helping others (me) touch it. Make it come alive. Like the velveteen rabbit.

    More pictures that may mean kind to you.

    1. Mother bird lifts her chick from the nest and drops it out so it can learn to fly.
    2. Mother cat licks her kitten. Cleans her. Teaches her to clean herself.
    3. Father lets his son join the Marines. Simply because the son has a dream.
    4. The Father who allows his son to cry in his arms. No word and no questions asked. It is going to be OK.

    Help me/us understand why you chose the word kind. More importantly make kindness come alive.

    Fundamentally your post was about balance. I like to think of it as perspective. If you have a clear view of God’s kindness from your perspective, please continue. Put the depths of his kindness into pictures and into words.

    The more tangible you can make it. The more you and we will understand and know intimately.

    Certainly God’s kindness is new every morning.

    I grow weary. I fail to see. Thank you for not counting it a burden to remind us.

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