The Stolen Bicycle

There is a whole thesis to unpack about the mysterious place that a Christian finds themselves. On the one hand there is an ever loving God keen to show and give his love fully, a love which without the freedom to choose we wouldn’t understand. In fact, the freedom to choose is itself a gift of love. On the other hand there is this sense that our capacity to act in accordance with our desires towards loving God is hampered by various factors. Therefore a dependence on his provision and guidance is also necessary. How far then does the pre-emptive love of God stretch and how much choice to we really have. Omnipotent everywhere or potent in some areas? It is on this dilemma that my question rests.

As I continue to contemplate Addiction and Grace while studying Gerald G. May’s text, this idea of responsibility, irresponsibility, and choice seems to be the fog to wade through. The idea of sin as a choice emerges from the same root as that of sin as a sickness. When does the indictment stop accounting for socio-economic factors, or psychological and physiological dysfunctionality? How far into the soul are these dysfunctionalities weaved? Most importantly are these dysfunctionalities – the capacity to countermand – the bedrock of our freedom? And if so, what is the purpose of Grace?

See, I firmly believe in freedom, but also firmly in brokenness – our inability to wisely use our freedom. Sin to me is as much a complex mix of both a sickness and a choice just as I am a complex mix of mind, body, and soul. (As you would probably come to see in most of my works, I fray from dichotomy. Nothing is as affixed).  This all makes the idea of teaching this at church this sunday quite daunting (I’m writing the talk this week).  The quote below is my starting point.

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked for forgiveness

Emo Philips


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