I spent a few hours with my Band of Brothers tonight. Our discourse floated around from jobs to sports camps to the expenses and emotions associated with a daughter's wedding. But somehow we kept coming back to the topic: “How does the beauty of the gospel become visible to the common man?” The talk wandered again, this time to an upcoming vacation at the beach, and a request was made for reading recommendations. A few recommendation were thrown out with a case being made for each. The potential reading list included classics by Lewis and Tozier as well as some newer options by John Piper and Donald Miller. We get excited about learning something new that opens a whole new world of understanding. The books we often read are on topics we know next to nothing about. Take Tozier for example. The observation was made that if you were to highlight the statements you wish to remember in one of his books, you would quickly run out of ink and find it rather easier to isolate the lines on the page NOT highlighted. Tozier is a fountain of such uncommonly good thinking. What kind of genius is he to so fully and thoroughly be able to comment on the immutability of God and how a society suffers for lack of knowledge on the topic?
I am tempted to envy this clarity of thought and the eloquence with which it is shared. As I peruse the pages of these gifted thinkers, as a man, I wonder if I should not be more capable as a communicator and thinker myself. I can feel a bit diminished, to be brutally honest.
I consider myself to be a reasonably smart man with an insightful heart. I have read the Bible and led others in discussions I thought worthwhile, and yet I cannot fathom to understand the immutability of God well enough to write on it for four pages without repeating myself. I daresay I could barely write a paragraph on the subject. I can become disappointed in myself, wishing I had more to offer the world. (These thoughts are always behind the scenes, like voices inside my head reminding me always that I offer a “lesser contribution” to society than men smart or persuasive enough to become published.)
But then Jones made an observation that struck me as quite good. “If God made engineers to see life and the world through the language of equations and formulas that most of the world does not understand, doesn’t it make sense that He would do the same in theology?" This was encouraging to me, to think that oddball engineers have been covertly positioned by a master planner to help provide the masses of society with a roof over their head and sanitation. Civil engineers do not make up the bulk of society, but the bulk of society does, in fact rely on them to stay dry and warm in winter.
I thank God for C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozier and Donald Miller. I marvel at their minds and the portal into the heart and character of God they provide. I am that common man who thinks mostly common thoughts, and so I find comfort in knowing that Tozier is simply a well placed engineer of theology, making the great God accessible to the masses. And that includes me.
The giftedness God gives a man to explain the mysteries of His nature and being are evidence of His love for those who cannot.