A while back I had one of those profound spiritual experiences were somewhere in your soul you manage to answer the question, “okay it’s the end of the world, how are you going to spend what time you have left?” I was quite surprised to have answered that question so quickly, so clearly. I’m going to spend my remaining time falling madly in love with Jesus Christ, reading poetry, and contemplating the nature of romance.
And God said, do it now, don’t wait.
It’s a bit startling actually, I am a practical person, so if you tell me it’s the end of the world I am liable to start digging a bunker, stocking up on spam and ammo, and making sure we have potable water. Never in a million years would I have thought my answer would be to fall in love and read poetry. I have since come to the conclusion that is actually incredibly sensible. Who wants to spend the rest of their life living underground shooting at people who come to steal your canned spam?
I’m now five years into it and quite delighted to have had this adventure. There have been some fascinating rabbit holes along the way. I fell into a patch of Calvinists, (don’t worry I was wearing hip waders and goggles,) and there were these tulips, this five point star, and some Dutchmen, and it’s all very confusing….
Just for the record, there are no actual tulips in the bible, some sparrows, some lilies, even a talking donkey, but no tulips. Ah, but the Dutch are world famous for their tulips. “Tulips” is actually an acronym from the reformation and other great theological debates, the first “T”in tulips having to do with total depravity. The total depravity of mankind.
I totally believe in the total depravity of mankind. That’s what the bunker and the ammo is for. Anyone who doubts the total depravity of mankind has not recently watched a presidential debate. The total depravity of mankind has come home to roost and is now blasting from our TV sets. If we were all on a plane and crashed into a mountain range, we’d be eating each other in a matter of days.
You may wonder what cannibalism, spam, and tulips have to do with love, and why I would be so delightfully celebrating the total depravity of mankind. It’s because, “I thought you were perfect and so I loved you. Then I learned you were imperfect and I loved you even more.” When we think we are good, when we cannot even see our own flaws, we cannot really know what love even is. We think we are loved for superficial things, because we are useful or attractive or we have a lot of money.
Until we can recognize our own unloveliness, our own depravity, we can never fully recognize our need for a Redeemer, and we can never understand the sacrifice, the price that was paid on our behalf.
To truly know love, one must become unlovely, like the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. He could never know true love until he became so ugly, that only true love could save him.
That’s how it works in faith, too.
Depravity is an interesting word, it means immoral, wicked, but it is actually rooted in the word, deception, as in totally deceived. We are depraved, as in we have no idea who we are, whose we really are. Deceived. The father of all lies deals in depravity, deception, and one of the greatest deceptions of all being this idea that we people are just innately good. We are loved because we are so cute, so smart. We don’t need a Redeemer, we recycle, stay away from gluten, we try to be good people, and anyone who doesn’t is just misunderstood or a victim of circumstances, or needs some more job training or something.
We tend to see ourselves as we wish to be, not as we really are.