Novelist Peter De Vries recalled his religious upbringing thus:
“We went to church five times a week, three times on Sunday; I wasn’t allowed to play ball on Sunday. We were force-fed a lot of doctrine. The two main beliefs were in the total depravity of man and the divine grace of God. I only believe in one of them now.”
Tantalisingly, that’s where the interview ends, and we are left wondering “which one?”
The introspection that so often dominates the Lenten journey may have us entertaining the idea that he chose “the total depravity of man.” Mainline media fixation on the worst of current affairs and some of our own experiences of deprivation, disappointment and suffering may feed our perceptions and lead us spiralling down into the pit of despair.
If we are walking the Lenten journey purposefully and hopefully, however, we will, while aware of human idiosyncrasies and limits, be aware of the “divine grace of God,” for we are an Easter people and know how the story transcends the road to Calvary and beyond, even while we walk it.
A bit of googling (and perhaps some knowledge of his writing) answers the question about which side of the line Peter De Vries falls.
Our Lenten challenge right now, however, is to answer which side of the line do I habitually fall?