Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Great Madness

I was trying to create an account that would allow me to use the electronic health record I needed for school. The online form was asking me to input a middle initial. Anyone who knows me even just a little better than the guy who rings up my groceries at the store knows that I do not have a middle initial. My name is Nathan Costiuc - I don't need a middle name to separate me from all of the other zero Nathan Costiuc's on the planet. So I left that portion blank, just as I always do in these types of situations (although if I had a middle name, I'd want it to be something with a 'Q'. How cool would that be?)

I got stuck. There was some sort of problem with the account. I called the company up and asked them what the beef was. The gentleman on the phone told me that I had to put in a middle initial. I was clear with the fact that I had none. He insisted. I lied on the form. Are you happy, Mr. Customer Service?

Think with me here: this little box that was asking for my middle initial was probably doing so to authenticate my individuality. Its purpose was to make sure that it was legitimately me filling out this form. The irony of this situation is that, in being forced to fill it out so I could use the software, it made me falsify information and put down something that was not accurate to the reality of who I was. The form that was asking for the real me forced me to be a fake me.

"Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against me." (Hosea 7)
Sometimes, irony oversteps its bounds and becomes something else. When the reality of the ridiculousness of a situation becomes overwhelming, irony leaps over itself and becomes madness. This is easily seen in a quote from Voltaire, who said, "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." The reader who peruses this statement immediately becomes overwhelmed with frustration as he questions how such a thing could be true. Coupling the irony of this quote with the frustration over its truth, it gets pushed into the realm of madness.

In Hosea, God is addressing the people of Israel, who are repeatedly and consistently rejecting the covenant God made with them, choosing to worship gods made with their own hands instead of the Almighty Creator. This is where we find the quoted passage. This is where we find God saying, "You have used the very hands that I made and gave strength to build your idols."

Here we find The Great Madness: if God didn't give us the air we breathe and a mind to think, we wouldn't be able to sin against Him as we do. Rather, we use the life He keeps on giving us to show our ungratefulness for the life He keeps on giving us by sinning against Him. This is not only irony. This is Madness.

Brothers and sisters, this is God we're talking about. And we've sinned altogether too much against Him. I've sinned altogether too much against Him. We not only participate in this irony, but we rejoice to be a part of The Great Madness.

Brothers and sisters, this cannot be so.

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