Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Monday, October 09, 2006

From Mecca to Calvary

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In his article, "From Mecca to Calvary," Thabiti M. Anyabwile recounts his spiritual journey from nominal Christianity to zealous Islam to agnosticism and back to the Cross. I highly recommend the whole article, but I found this portion of Thabiti's story particularly compelling. Speaking of a life devoted to Islam, he writes:

This was my life for the remainder of undergraduate school and a year or so after graduation. But gradually, almost imperceptibly at first, I noticed that I was growing more and more hollow. Cold really. The zeal once fueled by anger began to wane. Once I adjusted to all the rituals and outward observances of Islam, I then grew more aware of my interior life.

Awareness of the emptiness of my own heart grew crystal clear for me after a water cooler conversation with some co-workers.

We were engrossed in a conversation about people we admired and respected. Folks were listing the usual suspects: mothers, fathers, great leaders and so on. But surprisingly, one of my co-workers said, with all seriousness, "I can't think of a more righteous person than Thabiti." I tried to pooh-pooh her statement with some light, dismissive response of my own. But she countered, "I'm dead serious. Of all the men I know, you are easily the most righteous. You don't curse. You don't drink. You treat your wife so well." And on she went.

While she was correct in her observations — I didn't curse or drink any more, and I tried to treat my wife Kristie well — her conclusion was extremely flawed. What she observed was outward behavior; what she couldn't see was my heart. But I could, and the thing was as brittle, dry and empty as it could be. The label "righteous" fell into all of that deep emptiness, rattling occasionally as it plummeted and banged against the hull of my heart. One thing I knew: I was not righteous, not in any essential sense.

This article reminds me of the words found in Romans 1:18-21:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Praise be to a God who rescues people from futile thinking and foolish hearts!


At 8:34 PM, Blogger Mike Theemling said...

Indeed. A very good article.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Deanna Regina said...

i just downloaded a chbc podcast of thabiti preaching on psalm 119 via's super solid; a must listen


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