Even in eternity, we will always have more to learn about our beautiful, glorious infinite God. May and I are currently taking Bible classes online, required Cru training. We are loving it! May is taking apologetics, and my class focuses on God's character and the Holy Spirit. It's pure gold. Two of the most insightful chapters in May's reading were from Tim Keller's The Reason for God, where he discusses the problem of sin and the true story of the cross. It's impossible to distill down to a few sentences, but sin is essentially seeking our identity apart from God; we 'deify' other things. This brings about dire personal, social and cosmic consequences. To explain the cross, Keller dives into the essence of forgiveness, how humanly speaking it costs us something to forgive someone, we suffer as we absorb the debt. On the cross God does visibly and cosmically what every human being must do to forgive someone. On the cross God offers his own lifeblood to defeat evil and and accomplish his loving desire to forgive others. God didn't send a surrogate to absorb the debt, he suffered himself.
Dan's class has also been wonderfully insightful, delving into the essence of the Trinity. Although it helps our finite minds to try to characterize the different roles the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have, I find beauty in the blurring of the lines. For example, the Son has the primary role in salvation, accomplishing it through his incarnation, death and resurrection. But the Father plans it and draws people (John 6:44) and holds us firmly in his hand (John 10:29). The Spirit applies our salvation, giving us spiritual birth (John 3:8), and sealing us (Ephesians 1:13). God is always working together in relationship, inviting us into the eternal love the Father and Son and Holy Spirit have for each other.
We are currently in Montana and enjoying reconnecting with family and friends and churches. And, for the first time in twenty two years we're in a time zone where we can actually watch the World Series! Sometimes people ask us if we feel the effects of reverse culture shock. May made an interesting observation as we were walking the other day. She said, "It's like we're standing still and everything around us is moving on." So we experience an odd combination of familiarity and disconnectedness. Our cultural and contextual references are depleting. One silly example is how restaurant menus have become vague - i.e. Chipotle - and tough to decipher. If you go there often, you already understand what the options are, but we're confused. We don't look like it because we're speaking English, but we are cultural outsiders in a way.