Monday, September 7, 2009

Fundamental Assumptions Part 1: The God Who Salvages

I wrote this as part of an ongoing writing project with my wife called The Theology of the Tweak. It's been sadly neglected due to our familial addition, but I'd like to get it going again.


The hard part about our Tweak Theology is that it has so many self-referencing assumptions that it's hard to articulate where the starting point is. It's basically turtles all the way down. But there are a few bedrock beliefs that I think can stand on their own before we get into the meat of it.

The very first is that our God is a God who salvages. Joe Boyd told me last year that Wall-E was the most spiritual movie made in 2008, and I couldn't agree more.

Look, we Christians have created all kinds of baggage around the word "saved." It's not really meaningful to us. Does the word mean remotely the same thing when saying "I got saved this weekend" and "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance?" Obviously not. Forget the comparison of spiritual life and car insurance... aside from that, the word is still being used in totally different ways. Try this on for size, though:

Salvage: to rescue or save especially from wreckage or ruin

Catch that? Synonym for "save" is "salvage" when referring to "rescuing from wreckage or ruin." That's a pretty good explanation of what it means to enter a relationship with God... what if instead of saying "I'm saved" we instead said "I'm salvaged?" I don't know if our egos could handle it ("I don't need salvaging!") but it would be a lot more theologically accurate.

But WAIT! There's MORE!

I'm not going to spend a ton of time defending this (it's a blog post, and it's already too long) unless somebody objects, in which case I'll dive in and tackle it more thoroughly. But here it is:

God's goal is to save the world. I don't mean that just in the soteriological sense, but also in the practical. God's desire is BOTH to offer salvation (saving relationship, eternal life, etc) to every individual, AND to salvage our relationships, our culture, our work, our institutions, and our planet. These things are broken, usually as a result of our own brokenness. God is a fixer by nature, and each broken thing he desires to fix. I'm positing that half on Scripture and half by extrapolating from his character. If you have a great verse I should know please stick it in the comments.

But that's a quick writeup on one of my most basic understandings about life, God, and theology. It's not one that everyone shares (at the very least, it's fair to say that every 5-pointer has already written me off as a heretic) but this is the absolute bedrock of my understanding of God.

Fundamental Assumption #1: God is a Salvager by both nature and choice. It's a fundamental character trait to fix what is broken, which means that His goal is not only to redeem individuals from their brokenness but also to redeem the world: both nature's beauty and human society are fit recipients of his attention.

Or, more simply:

Our God is a God who salvages.


Micah said...

I should mention that my Vineyard friends will find this all to be somewhat familiar, since this was our teaching series last year for Christmas.

Adam said...

Might I suggest Romans 8:18-25?

Micah said...

Good call! That should have been a no-brainer.

I realized while writing this that although I've seen this idea all through to Bible, I've never really tried to categorize it before.

David said...

The flip side of this is that breaking stuff is terribly ungodly. I think of Revelations something-or-other: 'The time has come for destroying those who destroy the earth.'

I like the salvage idea because it is the very opposite of the magical quick fix. You expect to get hit with a hammer, a la John Donne: "... break, blow, burn and make me new"

Micah said...

Oh, I like that a lot. "Breaking stuff is ungodly." I'm gonna ponder that for weeks.

Micah said...

And it's Rev 11:17-18, David.

Which David is it? Henderda?

David said...

What gave me away?


Micah said...

A well-grounded respect for Creation!