A Few Words for Lent – Day 4

(just getting to type out Saturday’s post, which was handwritten…out of situational necessity not romantic nostalgia)

Anthony Weston wrote a little book about building arguments. It is assigned by professors and teachers to help students learn to craft readable research papers. But, more than just a reference tool for students, Weston’s preface to this slim volume presents a profound purpose. He says,

“We do not want…to come out of critical thinking courses knowing only how to shoot down (or just at) selected fallacies. Critical thinking can be practiced in a far more constructive spirit.”

Too often we get overly jazzed about being able to dismantle all of the people and ideologies with whom we disagree.

How wonderful.

And frustrating.

Weston here gets at one of the most significant parts of Christianity, as far as I’m concerned: our obsession with creation as opposed to destruction.

It was the work of the Empire to destroy. It was the work of the Empire to break bodies, spill blood and fill crosses – with both innocent and guilty alike. But despite the best efforts of the Empire to destroy, we find out that it is the work of Jesus to build, to create, to assemble, to sow and to make new.

We should ask ourselves every evening: did I build something today or did I tear things down? In moments of honest reflection we might be surprised by our self-assessments. We might find that we are more like the Empire than the Kingdom. And if we do, then there is always the next morning to resolved to become constructors and leave the work of destruction for the less eternally minded.

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