School started back up this week and with it some routines. After K2 gets on the bus I usually head off for a walk. This week I’ve been catching up with some of the podcasts from The GodComplex Radio. Carol Howard Merritt and Bruce Reyes-Chow are two PCUSA pastors on opposite coasts who have put together some amazing interviews with an incredible folks. If you haven’t listened to it – go check them out now. I’m trying to re-work my Monday schedule so that I can listen live and engage in the online conversations that happen.
Yesterday I listened to the Calvin episode with Dr. Stephen Ray. Listening to him speak made me want to sit in on one of his classes or read one of his books. If you haven’t read Calvin’s Institutes or have even seen them here is what you need to know: Calvin’s Institutes are dense, thick, at times confusing, challenging – and printed in two volumes. On thin paper. With a really small font.
So when Dr. Ray was asked to summarize Calvin’s work he said this:
The sum of Calvin’s Institutes is this: either you trust God or you don’t.
Wow. I’m pretty certain I would have failed my ordination exams if I had given that answer but he is so on target. I can think of countless conversations with good, faithful folks who struggle with Calvin’s understanding of predestination and the sovereignty of God. It is hard to not make it all about us and what we must do in response to God’s gift of grace. Or that we have to somehow initiate our own salvation.
Ray’s words make me think of that image that God grabs hold of us long before we grab hold of God and that ultimately, whether we grab hold doesn’t matter.
Thanks Dr. Ray. I think I’ll pull out Calvin’s work and do some reading.
Either you trust God or you don’t. I’ll be pondering that for awhile.