Friday, November 11, 2005

"Tikkun Olam" the Healing or Repairing of the World

I learned something new today, while reading Kenneth Turan's review of the film "Bee Season" in the L.A. Times. First off, I can't wait to see the film - it sounds like an excellent adaptation of the book.

Turan references the strong Jewish influence in the story when he closes his review with the following statement,
" 'Bee Season' can't fully be understood apart from its particularly Jewish central concept of tikkun olam, the healing or repairing of the world. The notion that it is a universal responsibility to fix what has been shattered, to attempt to restore what has been damaged, drives this story in tandem with the need all of its characters have, each in his or her own way, to seek transcendence by searching for a personal vision of God."

I understand so little of Jewish culture, and want to know more, as it is so important to understanding the history of faith and Christ's life. My first response to tikkun olam was that in the new covenant, we don't have the weight or guilt I associate with the responsibilty fixing what has been shattered. However, I think Christians sometimes give up too much personal responsibility in our understanding (or lack thereof) of God's sovereignty.

It's difficult for me to find that balance, not to take on the weight of the world's problems on my very shaky shoulders, yet accept my own responsibility to live as Christ would.

Another good quote, from his essay "The Body and the Earth," Wendell Berry writes that "No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one’s partiality."


Isaac said...

Great review of the review...I can actually understand about half of what you said! Keep it up...I'm looking to be inspired and I can tell your blog will be a creative inspiration, so live up to that!!!

Love your first two links!!! A larger font and some form of animation around the first two links may also be of benefit to your bloggers!

Christopher said...

Sarah and I were talking about this last night. We both feel very strongly that Christ calls us to be restorative people in the world (knocking down poverty, injustice, protecting the environment, etc). . .just as the Jewish concept does. . . .but that of course we do it out of love for God rather than a sense of duty that earns us salvation. It would be interesting to read someone like Tony Campolo to see what his new covenant biblical justification is for the concept of tikkun olam.