One of my favorite words is “solipsism.” Actually, one of my favorite words is “solipsistic,” something about the way it just slinks off the tongue with all those s-sounds. I learned the word a couple year ago, reading a Washington Post article. Since one day I want to grow up and be a writer, I quickly put it into my notebook of words with the definition and a sentence or two putting it to use.
But more importantly, I like the word because I think it’s quite an appropriate one-word summary of our culture. We’re solipsistic for the most part. Solipsism is the philosophy of life for so many.
Dave Jorge (HT), worship pastor here at FBC Grand Cayman, sent me this op ed from the Washington Post. The author is decrying solipsistic tendencies of personal websites. It’s an entertaining read. And my brother and co-laborer in the gospel, Dave, asks if it won’t be long before this article’s lament is true of Christian blogs. A good question!
I don’t know the answer, but I’m pretty convinced that solipsism and “Christian” do not belong together in the same sentence, much less the same person. If solipsism is the idea that the self is all that matters, then certainly one can’t consistently maintain that he/she is a biblical Christian while at the same time being solipsistic in outlook. We’re a peculiar people who claim that Jesus is all that matters. Our greatest heroes could write “I resolved to know nothing… except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). We are those who “want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:10-11). Not much room for solipsism there!
And how is this for a statement of the Christian life: “they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Rev. 12:11) and “joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions” (Heb. 10:34). Kinda cuts right through the preoccupation we have with this life and severs Christ from any philosophy that makes life all about us.
And yet, I do tend too often to view the universe from the center of the self rather than the center of the Cross and the throne of glory! I am aware that in my impatience, frustrations, anger, murmurring and complaining, and all-too-frequent tendency to think I’m right… that I am in those ways solipsistic. Perhaps not in the obvious ways that the editorial writer laments… but in the quieter, more subtle ways of a mind that speaks to itself too often and listens to the voice of God in the Scripture too little… in those slithering, slippery ways that silhouette indwelling sin.
May this blog and all Christian blogs never become electronic playhouses with funny mirrors for gazing at the odd shapes of our egos and personalities and thoughts. God forbid it. But may the Christian blogosphere be a place where all are called to “Behold our God, the Lamb that takes aways the sins of the world, the Risen and Reigning Savior who is King of kings and Lord of lords!”
Resolved, Write more about Jesus on this blog.