Today I’m beginning a new feature at this blog: the Blogopticon, which surveys a number of top (and also some lesser-known) blogs in search of the most interesting blog entry on that particular day. So you can come here and find some of the most edifying, inspiring or challenging reflections being made on the internet that day by believers (and perhaps some non-believers).
Today’s selection comes from The Church and Postmodern Culture, a blog known for innovative and highly intelligent reflections on Christian thought, life and culture. The entry concerns the relationship between grace and desire:
More speculating this week on how tightly a proper understanding of grace is or ought to be tied to a theistic conception of God.1. It is commonplace to associate our need for grace with the problem of desire. This, I think, is entirely correct. We won’t properly understand the one without the other.
2. However, it is also commonplace to frame our need for grace in terms of a tension between the frustration of our desires and the fulfillment of our desires. Here, the problem is understood to be the ways in which the fulfillment of our desires is perpetually frustrated. Often, we’re unable to get what we want. And – even worse! – we discover that when we’re lucky enough to get exactly what we want, it still didn’t lead to the satisfaction of desire. Not only is not getting what we want frustrating, getting what we want is also deeply frustrating!
3. When the human problem is understood to be the frustration of desire, then grace is understood as an answer to the problem of desire because it offers us access to the one object that can in fact permanently and completely fulfill our desires: God.
Read the rest. As Miller writes later, “I would propose that our need for grace is related to the problem of desire in an entirely different way. Grace has neither to do with the fulfillment of desire nor the frustration of desire. Grace has to do with our wrongly relating to desire in terms of its fulfillment/frustration.”