Wednesday, April 12, 2006


In talking about what God's gifts oblige of us, Volf speaks of a posture of receptivity. We are receivers of God's gifts and receivers only, we don't bring anything to the table, and we don't have any favors to return. We practice being receivers and receivers only by relating to God in faith.

This seems funny to say that we are obliged to receive; Volf explains it this way:

To want to earn benefits from God or to receive them as payback gifts is to say three wrong things at once: (1) God is a negotiator God; (2) we can give something to God in exchange for something we want; and (3) we are agents independent of God who can relate to God any way we find to our liking. None of these things is true, however. God is not a negotiator but a pure giver. We can give nothing to God but have received everything from God. Finally, we are not independent of God but are living on a given breath. To fail to recognize these three things is to live blindly and to claim God's gifts as our own achievements. To recognize these truths is to understand ourselves as who we truly are, fundamentally receivers.

Faith is then the way we as receivers relate appropriately to God as a giver. Faith is empty hands open for God to fill. Faith makes us beggars, and to be a beggar and not an achiever is shameful in our day and age. Faith thus underscores our inability rather than our power. It thus celebrates what we most properly are -- God's empowered creatures.

Faith is the first part of the bridge from self-centeredness to generosity.

The question that I have been mulling over is this: How does this notion of faith mesh with the narrative (subjective genitive) reading of Pistis Christou?

My initial reaction is pretty well, but I will have a think about it.

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