Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ten Resolutions for staying alive to God in Nature

A dear lady in my church pushed a book through my letter box and told me I MUST read it. She said to keep it as she has bought five copies to give away to others. It is one of the most gripping pieces of theology I have read in a while.

Did I mention that the fly-fishing season has started? A friend sent me an email this week saying he had won a days fishing on the Test (possibly the finest trout river in the land and perhaps the world) in a raffle and did I want it. The answer was obviously yes.

To celebrate my joy I share with you the Resolutions of Clyde Kilby, Literature Professor at Wheaton, about enjoying nature taken from the Pleasure of God (Footnote from The Pleasures of God, Page 95):

 1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.
2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death, when he said: “There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendour, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.”
3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.
4. I shall not turn my life into a thin straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.
5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.
6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence.
7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the “child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.”
8. I shall follow Darwin’s advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.
9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, “fulfill the moment as the moment.” I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.
10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.


Anita @ Dreaming Beneath the Spires said...

Love these. It's actually Clyde Kilby, Piper's old teacher at Wheaton.

David Cooke said...

Bless you Anita

Typed John not Clyde so happily amended thanks. I googled the resolutions to save me typing them out and did indeed gratefully find them at Desiring God.

Anonymous said...

Barth would turn in his grave if he could read this post - God known in creation - NEIN ;)

So pleased your chim gave you his trout fishing prize - God is good


David Cooke said...

My dear chum.

Much blessed by the prospect of a day on the Test.

Of course we know God through revelation according to dear old KB but we, as believers, can surely appreciate and praise God in light of his creation? He rejoices in it and we should too (Ps 104:31)

These are perhaps though different things.