For Day 4 and 5 of the WordPress Finding Everyday Inspiration Challenge
Struggling has hope of success, but forsaking the struggle does not
– John Piper
John Piper is perhaps most famous for his espousal of Christian Hedonism, the idea that ‘God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him’. One of the essential tenets of this is that we are designed to, and should indeed, desire God not only on the level of mental assent but also at a deeper heart, emotional level. The reality of most people of faith is that our hearts and heart connections to God wax and wane, the strength of our feelings never really existing continuously in that Christian Hedonist space.
It is in a reflection on fifteen years since publishing that book that the quote above comes. This is both a source of hope and concern, hope because the struggle is proof that some life is still left in my faith, but also concern that they might just be the final thrashings of a thing recently dead thing. Food for thought!
One of my earliest memories of doing stuff with my mother is of a newspaper cutout, sheets of paper and her sitting beside me encouraging me to apply whatever iota of critical thinking I could summon to whatever was the task of the day, usually some Close Up essay competition or the other. I don’t recall us ever submitting any of those, the discipline of wrestling thoughts into semi-coherent arguments perhaps being the point of the entire exercise. That sense of writing as a vehicle for thinking aloud about a subject is one that has stayed with me over the years.
I would like to say that this search for (small t) truth at the nexus of a subject is what motivates me to write but that would be bending the truth somewhat. That is partly the truth of course, but it is the sense of being curator of my own little corner of the internet, and the probability – however increasingly minuscule in this world of SEO and algorithms – that makes me write publicly. I have known the delights of minds connecting over a turn of phrase deliciously delivered and also the angst from forlorn pages which have seemingly disappeared into the great void of the internet. Be that as it may, that is a drug, the lingering memories of a past hit drawing me to write again and again in hope.