Rachel Held Evans is a young author whose first book will be coming out next year. She has a blog and I thought this post was illuminating with respect to our culture. She talks about loving the process of constructing her faith at the expense of inhabiting her newly constructed faith.
“Process” is very popular culturally. We have a cultural bias that disparages destination. We know this by the way we use the word “settled”. To “settle” is to compromise, to opt for a “lesser than”, to reject another sacrosanct cultural value of “choice”.
So much of this is deeply embedded in our image of the noble individual on a fulfilling journey to self-realization and self-expression. To say “he settled for her” is to disparage them both. He failed to fully actualize the self-expression cultural narrative to “be all he can be” by choosing a destination too early which in this case was a “she” who was “less than” what he could have aspired to.
Now there is of course truth to this. I don’t want my kids to “settle” too quickly. I want them to go out into the world and accomplish and compete and achieve and discover and all of those great things. Process is important and it will continue even after they put us in the ground (or in the furnace), yet destination is also important.
Kierkegaard’s essay “Sickness Unto Death” nails this dynamic. In Revelation 14:11 and Revelation 14:13 contrast the worshipers of the beast and the worshipers of the lamb. There is no rest for the worshipers of the beast, there is only process.
Rest is a foundational Biblical theme right from Genesis 1. Ever since the expulsion from the garden no rest can be found. In Exodus 33:14 God promises that his presence will go with the people into the land and he will give them rest. Jesus promises nothing less from his yoke in Matthew 11:28.
Process is good and perhaps will never fully end given the fact that our destination is one of culture making. Yet process at the expense of a destination of Sabbath rest isn’t what we’re after either.