I am so psyched right now. 😀
Between the post title and my first sentence you’re probably like, There is something seriously wrong with this girl.
I would probably agree with you. There might just be something wrong with the way my brain is wired, but we can debate that later. What I know right now is the introduction to Aristotle I just got from one of my professors made me super, super excited.
Let me just first explain this class. The honors students at the university I attend are all required to take what’s called a civilization sequence. There’s American civ, European civ, History of Science in Europe, etc. Mine is Classical World, so this semester we’ve buried ourselves in ancient Greece and next semester we’ll be exploring ancient Rome. I thought it would be a good idea since Greek and Roman philosophy, thought, etc. are the basis for much of current Western ideas and philosophy. I’m an English major and history minor, so ancient ideas are incredibly important to be familiar with. I doubt I could stress to you enough quite how important.
But I digress. (As usual…)
We learned about Aristotle’s life, a little about his philosophy in regards to the pre-Socratic philosophers, and the format of his essays.
Important fact #1 is just a word, a word used to help describe one of Aristotle’s four causes. The word is telos, and there is no exact English translation, but it essentially means “culmination, completion, fulfillment.”
I got excited the minute I heard fulfillment. I’ll explain this in a minute.
Important fact #2 is that Aristotle, in referring to ethics, didn’t ask, “What is my duty?” or “What should I do?” like most philosophers. He instead asked, “What does it take to live a flourishing life?”
I started writing this post in my mind that very second. (haha)
So, Aristotle, what does it take to live a flourishing life?
I met someone once who has the answer to that question. As much as I think I’m going to like Aristotle’s philosophy, this person would put Aristotle to shame. He turns philosophy upside down, in fact. He makes the first last and the last first, says the rich are poor and vice versa, tells us in losing the life we have now we’ll find life that lasts forever. He turned water into wine, raised a man from the dead, and welcomed little children when his disciples turned them away. In love and as example, he gave his own life away on a cursed cross one Friday night in antiquity.
His name is Jesus.
So simple, yet so complex.
I don’t understand this Jesus. I don’t understand this crazy love that made Him die for me. I’ve never done or been anything to make me think I’m worth the price this precious, perfect Jesus paid for me.
And yet, He says I am. This absolute complexity compels me forward. Who is this Jesus, this Savior that, despite the complexity of His love, says it’s really quite simple: “Believe on Me.”
How can something so simple be yet so complex? How can it be so difficult to trust, to follow this compulsion?
I never said it was easy, daughter.
The image is simple. Before me stands Jesus, arms spread open, love in His eyes, drawing me forward, offering me life. The minute I stop to think about it, it makes no sense, because this crazy love is complex. But before me He stands, welcoming me without reservation. “Come as you are,” and I go.
And He takes me, as I am.
What amazes me further is that He doesn’t just stop. He is the potter, constantly working out this corrupted flesh to live life more abundantly. He works until the promised day of completion.
The promised day of telos.
Do you see why I got excited? The very minute I heard the word “fulfillment” as a way to help translate the Greek word telos I knew it meant something in this journey of faith in Jesus. One day, Jesus will take this broken self and make it perfect. He will perform a work of telos in me. And one day, He will do the same for humanity, when the chains of sin finally fall off us all and Jesus deals Satan the decisive final blow.
And in the meantime, while I wait for telos, I live that flourishing life Aristotle asked about by following Jesus, one step at a time.