Again, please note, almost 100% of this is straight from NT Wright. I just copied some of the major thoughts, quotes, etc that comprised this chapter. Hope it helps and makes you want to read the whole thing. We are having a great time discussing the book. Here is the introduction.
Simply Christian – Chapter 1
Putting the World to Rights: The Cry for Justice
“We glimpse for a moment, a world at one, a world put to rights, a world where things work out, where societies function fairly and efficiently, where we not only know what we out to do but we actually do it. And then we wake up and come back to reality….”
What are we hearing when we dream this dream? Is it only a dream? Is it just a fantasy?
“We all know there is something called justice, but we can’t quite get to it.”
Things go wrong. Countries go to war. It slips through our fingers.
Things do go well, but when you think its safe to relax, it all goes wrong again….
“How does it happen that, on the one hand, we all share not just a sense that there is such a thing as justice, but a passion for it, a deep longing that things should be put to rights, a sense of out-of-jointness that goes on nagging and gnawing and sometimes screaming at us – and yet, on the other hand, after millennia of human struggle and searching and love and longing and hatred and hope and fussing and philosophizing, we still can’t seem to get much closer to it than people did in the most ancient societies we can discover?” (page. 6)
“It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in macroeconomics to know that if the rich are getting richer by the minute, and the poor poorer, there is something badly wrong.” (page 8)
Why is it like this? Can this be changed? Does it have to be this way? Can we be rescued?
Isn’t it odd that we should want the world to be put to rights but we can’t do it?
Three ways to answer this:
1) It’s only a dream.
2) The dream is a different world altogether. We escape to it. The world now has little hope.
3) The reason we dream these dreams is that there is someone speaking to us who very much cares about our present world and our present selves, and who has made us and this world for a purpose which will indeed involve justice, things being put to rights, ourselves being put to rights, the world being rescued at last. (page 9)
The main religions believe that the reason we think we hear a voice is because we have. It wasn’t a dream. There are ways of getting back in touch with the voice and making what it says come true. In real life. In our real live. (p.10)
Christians believe that Jesus Christ embodies this reality and what happened to him set him motion the Creator’s plan to rescue the world and put it to rights. This is about us, because we are involved in this.
Jesus sorrowed with the world the way it was. CF: John 11:32-37
The Christian faith endorses the passion for justice which every human being knows, the longing to see things put to rights. And it claims that Jesus, God himself has shared this passion and put it into effect, so that in the end all tears may be dried and the world may be filled with justice and joy. (p.12)
Christians are taught to pray, God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s passion for justice must become ours too. When Christians use their belief in Jesus as a way of escaping from that demand and challenge, they are abandoning a central element in their own faith. That way danger lies.