It’s a simple distinction.
When a panel of judges selects one competitor to be the champion, the others don’t benefit from the selection. They go home losers. (Cue Queen music…)
But when a nation elects a new leader, the entire nation benefits. He or she passes legislation that they elected him to pass, etc.
The biblical doctrine of election is no different. Israel in general, and Christ in particular, are God’s Beloved, not in the sense of being (randomly or otherwise) ‘selected’ out to win a prize that benefits nobody else, but so that the nations of the earth would be blessed through them (Genesis 12:1-3). Never in the Bible is it said that Israel was chosen so that she could have exclusive rights to God and salvation. On the contrary, she was chosen to pass on blessing and salvation – in all its forms – to all.
It is like a fire or police squad, or a hospital staff. They are not self-serving teams, simply to make sexy firemen calendars, etc. They have a mission and a calling to serve their community. A doctor tells her smoking patient to change his ways not because “I’m a doctor and you can’t be”, not because “I am perfect in all ways”, but because she is a good and caring doctor. That’s enough metaphor for one post. :)
If I had to provide a name for my infantile photography style, it would have to be unnatural realism.
‘Realism’ in the sense that I find myself growing intolerant of hyper-edited shots that look nothing at all like the world. Over-highlighted, over (or under) exposed and saturated, shadows removed, etc. All to just make it more ‘exciting’. I find myself gravitating to the normal, the mundane, the ‘boring’. I try to capture the wonder of the everyday that we so often skip over so quickly because of our… wait, my busy schedule.
And ‘unnatural’, because I think all photography, like all art, is a startlingly unnatural thing, in the sense that nature doesn’t care what it looks like. Nature doesn’t say “ooh, this will make a good shot, get this angle…” To mash C.S. Lewis and Richard Dawkins into one assessment, Nature is a blind, pitiless, indifferent and dumb witch. Imagine (if you dare) every single angle and distance/zoom combination you could take of a given object in the world. Now imagine every object in the world – the ones that get attention (i.e. Auckland Skytower), and the ones that don’t (i.e. a simple blade of grass by your sidewalk). Take it into movies/film. How boring would a 100 minutes of raw footage from a still camera in my back yard be? The point? We cannot overstate how selective we are in what we choose to record, and how we choose to the post-process it. Insanely unnatural.
Anyway, those are some thoughts that have been rattling around my brain whilst I carry my camera around.
God was (for most of our western egalitarian sensitivities) scandalously ‘narrow’ or ‘choosy’ or ‘particular’ in his way of saving his creation. He saves his creation by uniting to and thus transforming it. He did not unite to all created nature in general (this or that star, or planet, or soil or rocks, trees, etc.: the sun would have been perhaps a good marketing move, as many humans have seen the sun as divine anyway), but to human nature in particular. He did not unite to all humans of all traditions, all races, all places, all times, all genders, all vocations, etc., but to a Jewish, male, bearded, 1st century Palestinian carpenter. Lewis says it best: “The world which would not know Him as being everywhere was saved by His becoming local.” (Somewhere in his book, Miracles, and probably less-than-exactly quoted)
In and through the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and Spirit of this scandalously particular Man, God is (paradoxically) available to and for humans of all traditions, races, places, times, genders, and vocations in general.
No, not the recent U.S. election… rather the biblical doctrine of election.
(This will be a quick one) Continue reading on election