We have all read in scientific books, and indeed in all romances, the story of the man who has forgotten his name. This man walks about the streets and can see and appreciate everything; only he cannot remember who he is. Well, every man is that man in the story. Every man has forgotten who he is.
This quote from G. K. Chesterton opens the first chapter of Leaving Egypt: Finding God in the Wilderness Places by Chuck DeGroat. I started it this morning, and several points have already hit me -- hard. I think this is going to be a wild ride!
Instead of adding my own commentary, I'll simply let them find their own target:
- "Identity erodes as ordinary people lose themselves in their personal Egypts. If you stick around Egypt, you lose your true story, and sooner or later, you'll come to believe you are a design flaw" (DeGroat, page 22).
- "Are we not all slaves?. . . As free as we might imagine ourselves, each of us continues to wrestle with the 'old self' (Colossians 3:9), parts of us that have never left the slavery of Egypt for the flourishing we are made for" (DeGroat, page 15).
- Another quote from Henri Nouwen followed Chesterton's: "But now I realize that the real sin is to deny God's first love for me, to ignore my original goodness. Because without claiming that first love and that original goodness for myself, I lose touch with my true self and embark on a destructive search among the wrong people and in the wrong places for what can only be found in the house of my Father."
- DeGroat went on to explain this quote in light of Calvin's "total depravity" doctrine. We are all a mess. "But Calvinists also believe that God made the world --and us-- good, in fact very good (Genesis 1:31). We can only grasp the doctrine of original sin if we first grasp original goodness" (page 20).
- He explains Nouwen's quote: "Sin's real devastation is in it's strange capacity to erase our memories, to cause us to forget our noble origins" (page 20).
As I was reading this morning, this song from Jason Gray sprung to mind. Doesn't it fit perfectly with the thoughts from this first chapter?