Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Eating dirt

I have been listening to Pope Benedict's book, Jesus of Nazareth on audio book available from Audible.com. They have a special to try them for 14 days. I got my one book, but didn't think it was worth the try so I canceled. Then they offered a one year membership for $10 and another free book. So I jumped at that and got this book.

The reader of Jesus of Nazareth is quite good. And this just in, the Pope knows a little bit about the Bible. In fact he comes across as rather scholarly.

One part hit me as I was listening. I bookmarked the spot and turned off the reading so I could think about it further. Benedict is talking about the temptations of Jesus, in particular the first temptation to turn stones into bread. He goes off into why wouldn't God just solve world hunger if He is such a good and merciful God. Why wouldn't He just continue providing manna for his people? Good question and one often leveled at Christians and specifically his Church.

In his answer to the question, he quotes Alfred Delp, "Bread is important, freedom is more important, but most important of all is unbroken fidelity and faithful adoration."

This really stirred my mind. And if I can put all my thoughts together, may be an article of considerable length sometime. I pondered as I was driving and hopefully can bring it all back together.

Today though, I ask, why is freedom more important than bread? Without the proper order as Pope Benedict relates, the result is not justice, but ruin. God cannot be set aside. But in my thoughts, why ruin? Why couldn't God provide for all our needs? The short answer is, because of our human nature.

The longer answer is freedom would be sacrificed. Our freedom to choose right is what makes us, how should I say it, worthy of God's love. Not worthy as in He owes us the love, but worthy as in worth loving to the extent of dying for us. If we could not choose, what value would our obedience be? If someone, some entity, provided all our food, would we not become dependent on them? Would not we become virtually slaves? This is evident in the U.S. foreign aid policies. To receive aid, countries must comply with our demands. And then when they are dependent and the demands become unacceptable, are they free to choose? Hardly.

This doesn't even touch on the idea whether we would be satisfied with what is provided. It didn't take the Israelites long to grumble about free food every day. "Fresh bread is great, but what about some chicken?"

So as I develop more of this, I will keep you posted.

1 comment:

Ebeth said...

This is right where I am in the book. I like that Benedict is so eloquent in describing us as being more concerned with "power and bread."