Thoughts, Post-Graduation

Postgrad_CardThis card arrived in the mail a few days back. In part, it marks the successful completion of my degree. The card also brings to mind a number of thoughts about the journey, thoughts that have since distracted me, in a good way, from my proposed trilogy-in-sum of Barth’s CD.1.2.

It is a reminder of the many moments where I was tempted to give up. Asking myself ‘what’s the point?’ or simply finding myself being addressed by a feeling of inadequacy and inferiority. Feelings, often compounded by darker echoes from my not-so-easy upbringing.

From what I’ve learnt, the mountains before us sometimes are hard to climb. The effort, almost seems to require too much of us. Throughout my degree I witnessed this through the limitations of distance from resources, irrational bouts of mild panic, insecurity about direction, and some forms of active discouragement from some family members.

There are people who tend to revel in the negative experiences of others. Not looking for life, but to squeeze hope out of those trying their best to live it. This type of opposition is seemingly impossible to overcome, because you cannot demand people understand or support you. For it to be genuine, that kind of understanding and support can only ever be a gift.

When it is given we are required to identify this grace and respond to it. Even when we don’t know what it looks like, we a required to enquire about its authenticity.The hardest part is that it has to be received by us.

Even if we struggle to take such encouragement, empowerment or acknowledgement seriously.

Even when a “pat on the back” becomes difficult to accept because we see through the shattered lens of the past, our response must always be aligned towards the responsible conduct of inquiry and thanksgiving. For me that has come to mean being embedded in the knowledge that it is not in what others determine I am, but the who, that in Jesus Christ, God says I am.

This involves the truth about God’s grace, one that Christians must hear and then speak to the world: that God, in His coming to humanity in a ‘free decision for humanity’ (Karl Barth), we are freed and being freed ‘from that which biology/society/psychology {Darwin/Marx/Freud} has supposedly defined/determined for us’ (James Cone, God of the oppressed).

In spite of the appearance of hopelessness there is a hope that draws our attention to the renewing of minds (Romans.12:2), newness of life (Romans.6:4) and the promises of God, who keeps His word (2.Thess.3:3-5) and who in Christ, through the Holy Spirit, also revealed  Himself as a trustworthy keeper of our hearts,(read as meaning our mind, body and soul)

I have been blessed to study under enough teachers who owned their convictions, understood the oppression of inflexibility and worked with me to move beyond the destructive noise of self-defeat.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to study and for the strength to complete it.

May Christians continue to make it known that when we

know the “why” for our existence, we will be able to bear almost any “how.” [i]

[i] Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning Kindle Ed. Beacon Press. Loc. 1054-1055 (paraphrasing Frederich Nietzsche)


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