Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts on the #BostonMarathon Tragedy

The blue headings in this post are used to show solidarity for the running community in light of the Boston Marathon Tragedy.

Wearing my Princess Half race shirt to work to...
Wearing my Princess Half race shirt to work today. Solidarity. #BostonMarathon #UnitedRunners #runnerd #tumblphoto #NotIntimidated via cjime008

Not what I expected

I followed the hashtag #BostonMarathon yesterday on Twitter. Just the day before, I figured that I'd read an article or two after the fact and be done with it. You know the drill, ESPN would probably be my source for news.

But I got sucked in. I watched the elite runners "loping along at a 5 min/mi pace." And I was hooked. I had to read tweets from the event. I refreshed Twitter every 5 minutes or so. Then it happened.

I saw my first tweet of tragic events, it was posted "35 seconds ago." I refreshed again and more tweets started coming through on the topic. Refresh again, the news was three minutes old. CNN didn't even have breaking news on it yet. In fact, it took upwards of 10 minutes for standard news sources to put together articles which, honestly, contained no more information than a tweet.

This is a Theology Blog

I am a runner. I am a Christian. The scope of this blog may overlap with running because that is part of who I am, it is focused on Theological principles as I perceive them in my own life.

A running friend posted an image on Instagram that quoted the following verse:
Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. --1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT
She asked the rhetorical question: "Why someone would...do something so heinous[?]" That immediately made me think of 1 Corinthians 13 and that passage regarding Faith, Hope and Love. My comment on her image was as follows:
"It goes back to 1 Cor. 13... People with no genuine faith, hope or love."
Without genuine faith, hope and love, there is nothing left to fill mankind but pure evil.


C.S. Lewis (and I quote this a lot) in his work Mere Christianity defined Faith in a way that has radically changed my perspective. He said that faith is the art of holding on to reason once accepted to be true. This is not some weird religious brainwashing technique. Genuine faith must be based on reason. If faith is not genuinely grounded in reality, then disaster ensues.

For instance, I can have faith in the premise that birds fly because of their feathers and if I glue feathers on my arms I will be able to fly. Clearly, if I were to stand on the roof of my three-story condo and jump off, I had better hope there's a paramedic passing by. I will not fly no matter how hard I believe.

Faith in God's ultimate plan for justice keeps the Christian from taking matters into their own hands. I do not need to shape the future, that is God's job. I don't need to make a statement through acts of violence. I believe that he is Sovereign and will see his plan through to the end.

That brings us to...


Again, C.S. Lewis clarifies that hope is not intended in this context to mean something I wish would happen, it means something I know will happen shortly. Christians describe this hope as something tangible that we have. It is not uncommon to hear prayers claim that we HAVE this hope. That is not a figure of speech.

I suppose it may be best to correlate the term "hope" here with the term "plan." Certain things are planned for the believer, and we are scheduled to attain these blessings. Consider investments, we put money into a retirement account with the hope of one day getting it back plus interest. That is how the Christian views hope, only with the God of the entire universe backing it up.

With this hope of eternal glory in our future, we cope with the present. We know that in this life the rain falls equally on the just and unjust, but things will be made right. Justice will be served.


And now we come upon the most important of the trio: love. One day God's sovereignty will be realized and faith will be needed no more. One day God's judgement and blessings will be revealed and our hope will be fulfilled. Love is an attribute of God and is therefore eternal.

A Christian who is not characterized by love is not characterized by Christ. That begs the question, What right to they have to claim to be a Christian? By this I do not mean random outbursts of anger, all men are flawed and will act out in an unloving manner from time to time. By this I refer to the kind of behavior that becomes part of one's nature: Suzy Q is 5'2", brunette with brown eyes and only thinks about herself. You may know those kinds of people.

Love is social. The opposite of love is not necessarily hate when love is viewed as a practice. Consider: Love must be practiced on someone. That's why the two greatest commandments in the Bible are: 1) Love the Lord, your God and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. Your love for yourself is assumed to be there already, but love for self should never hinder your love for others. Selfishness, then, becomes the enemy of genuine love.

Truly, anyone who commits such a heinous crime is devoid of genuine love for others and crippled by selfish ambition.

Closing Statements

I, in no way, wish to capitalize on a horrific tragedy to get clicks on my stupid blog. In addition, I don't want to offer any kind of hokey "Jesus is the Answer" cliche statements as if they were a Christian Incantation to make everything better. It doesn't work that way. My heart is crushed by this tragedy. I feel pain as my wife follows her Girls Gone Sporty Twitter friends who were on location.

My head understands that this world is full of sin and dark people who do not love Jesus. But there are a host of Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Jainists, Atheists, etc. who would never have considered doing something like this. Christians have no monopoly on morality. I am not saying that.

However, I believe there is a common grace where non-believers are not completely corrupted by sin. They are not at the point where they are devoid of Faith, Hope and Love even if they do not claim the God of Faith, Hope and Love as their own. Is this enough? I cannot remain true to scripture and say yes. Clearly, the only path to salvation is through Christ according to verses like Acts 16:31. At that point, we no longer speak of Morality, we are now talking Theology (the study of the nature of God).

I have said none of this flippantly, I truly struggle with these travesties.

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Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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