‘Cheer up, you’re worse than you think,’ Rev. Timothy Keller says with a smile. He’s explaining that humans are more weak, more fallen, more warped than they ‘ever dare admit or even believe.’ Then comes the good news: At the same time people are ‘more loved in Christ and more accepted than they could ever imagine or hope.’
Tim Keller is my kind of guy. I’ve come to understand how bad I am. I’ve also come to understand that even for the lowest in society there is hope.
I love Keller’s assessment of all of us regarding to our idolatry.
‘Everyone has a God, everyone has a way of salvation, we just don’t use the term,’ he says. ‘St. Augustine would say: What makes you what you really are is what you love the most.’ Mr. Keller adds that he likes ‘to show secular people that they’re not quite as unreligious as they think. They’re putting their hopes in something, and they’re living for it.’ For ambitious, driven New Yorkers, it’s often a career, he says. ‘I try to tell people: The only reason you’re laying yourself out like this is because you’re not really just working. This is very much your religion.’
If there’s no God, he says in sermons, then everything you do at work will be forgotten, and nothing you can do in your career will earn lasting significance. But if Christianity is true, then ‘every good endeavor,’ he likes to say, no matter how small, ‘can matter forever.’ One tough part for people, he says, is coming under ‘God’s authority,’ because ‘you have to find your identity in Christ, and not in just fulling yourself,’ That ‘completely collides with what the culture is telling people.’
Every other religion has a founder that says: ‘I’ll show you the way to God.’ Only Christianity of all the major world religions has a founder that says: ‘I’m God, come to find you.’ If that’s right, he has to be the superior way to find God. If it’s wrong, he says, then it’s an inferior religion. Not a lot of wiggle room there, even on Christmas.
Good thoughts and wisdom Mr. Keller.