Monday, August 18, 2008

"The evil in your heart"

Driving up I-95 yesterday I hit weekend traffic north of Richmond. Averaging about 40 mph, the highway was clogged. I grow incredibly impatient in such situations. I turned to the AM dial to see if this was just volume related, or whether there was a wreck ahead. I couldn't find any traffic information, but I heard something as I surfed past a Christian station where a preacher was holding forth. I heard an Indian accent poking through American intonation. Normally, I'd have clicked right on, but this intrigued me, so I stopped and listened to the last five minutes of this particular talk. The speaker was relating a story of a conversation with a well-established entrepreneur, who had asked to talk with him. This businessman could not believe, and kept coming back to the the problem of evil in the world -- so much suffering, so much injustice and so on. The speaker tried coming at this from various philosophical angles, and this went on for a while. A colleague who was with him, interrupted their discussion, turned to the businessman and said, "What about the evil that is in your heart?"

This was the main theme of the talk. The only real way to combat the evil "out there" is to combat the evil inside.

For some reason, this really struck me -- highlighting my own continuing struggle with temptation and sin, my need for God's grace, and my own call to continue to grow in holiness. I think it was Chesterton who said something along the lines that religion was the cure for evil, the evil in man's heart. And Fr. Hecker (the founder of the Paulists), learned early on, as he was becoming a Christian, that his efforts to promote workers' rights and justice at Tammany Hall in New York would ultimately only work if he first was converted himself, and worked on transforming mens' souls.

This is not to say that one only looks inwards, and that Christians aren't called to work to transform society around them. Obviously not. It's not an either/or, though. However, Christians cannot neglect interior conversion -- for it was to heal our souls from sin that Our Lord came.

The evangelist on the radio was of course Ravi Zacharias. I'd never heard him at all, though I've encountered his books once in a while in the religion aisle at B&N. I don't know much else about him or his ministry. This one sounds rather interesting right now -- "Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend"
Respected apologist Ravi Zacharias was once sharing his faith with a Hindu when the man asked: "If the Christian faith is truly supernatural, why is it not more evident in the lives of so many Christians I know?" The question hit hard, and this book is an answer. Its purpose is to equip Christians everywhere to simultaneously defend the faith and be transformed by it into people of compassion

3 comments:

Sherry W said...

G.

Ravi is an famous evangelical elder statesman (i heard him talk before I was Catholic) and evangelist. He is very solid (by evangelical standards)

His most famous recent initiative was this presentation in the Mormon Tabernacle last year.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5799634011915096131&ei=FpapSICDEKDAqwP_4pzeCQ&q=Ravi+Zacharias

Sherry W said...

G:

Ravi is a very well known, solid, mainstream, and respected evangelist and evangelical statesman. I heard him speak back in my Protestant days.

He holds huge evangelistic events all over the world and has done some very edgy things - like address the Mormon leadership in the Mormon Tabernacle last year.

He is Indian but from the west Indies if I remember correctly.

Mac said...

He's from Chennai but emigrated with his parents to Canada as a youth.

The Ontario Bible College, where he studied, was on Spadina Road, just up from the bed and breakfast we stayed in.

A pity he hasn't managed to shuck off some of its hangups: I'd be inclined to admire him if he didn't spend time attempting (not very successfully) to rebut the theory of evolution.