Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mongo Theology

Reading Toph Beach's adventures in RobBellLand, and addressing the question of predestination with our limited, finite little brains reminded me of several conversations I've had over the years of my walk, following Jesus Christ. So many of us struggle with the oxymoronic puzzle of how to reconcile our free will (and all of the difficulties that come with it), and our Lord's sovereign will and plan for each and every one of us. How do we make this work? How do we understand?

I'm often drawn to one of my favorite characters in a fine, biblical film released back in 1974 (whew!) by that esteemed theological producer, Mel Brooks. I refer of course to "Blazing Saddles." There is a sage character in the film who, sometime after punching a horse in the nose, utters the incredibly insightful and profound pronouncement, "Mongo merely small pawn in great game of life."

Small pawn indeed. In our exercise of free will and our dominion over the world around us, we often mistake ourselves for knights, bishops, or even kings and queens. I think it's important to remember that, although we are each loved, esteemed, and valued more than we can ever possibly comprehend or appreciate... we're all just pawns of the Father who created us... we serve at His bidding, at His pleasure, and at His will. We move, breathe, think, and exist because of His grace. To believe in our own importance and ability is supreme arrogance.

That is not to belittle or underestimate the value of His gift of free will and choice for us. Indeed, we'd be incapable of loving our God if not for that gift. It is, of course, a double-edged sword, for with the ability to love comes the ability to reject... and each of us has felt the pain of rejection as well. I guess I believe that it's not nearly so important for us to reconcile or unravel this mystery, so much as to embrace and understand His phenomenal love for us, and to understand how a pawn can play a strategic and tactical part in His grand plan... being alert to his words and available to be moved in accord with His will.