Abundant Life: A Message from Executive Director Chris Purnell


Chris Purnell

I’m a fiend for New Year’s Resolutions. For as long as I can remember, I’ve set them, and forgotten them, then remembered them again in July, then forgotten them again, then sprinted to the finish in the last month of the year to the exasperation of family and friends during the “most wonderful time of the year.”

“Pipe down, Grandma! I’m finishing a book so I can hit my goal for the year. Golly.”

As everyone knows, resolutions are borderline worthless. I say “borderline” because the sheer act of sitting down and thinking about stuff that you want to accomplish, while of trifling value, is still something. It’s almost like we’re born to decide and then fail to carry through with what we’ve sworn a blood-oath to carry out. We’re “giddy things,” we humans.

But look beyond the humor, look beyond the “human, all too human” side of resolutions and you’ll see something that is precious and thick. We long for something transcendent. We hope for some final resolution of all of our worn-down hopes and teary-eyed dreams. That resolution to lose 15 pounds may be a longing for a new body, one that will never be corrupted or see decay. That resolution to read 12 books may be a longing for a renewed mind that is perceptive and wise. That resolution to treat people better (Lord, help us) may be a longing for people to live in peace with each other, for us to not learn war anymore (Isaiah 2:4).

C.S. Lewis wrote that “it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (“The Weight of Glory,” emphasis added)

Our resolutions, in all of their too concrete/too ambiguous, SMART/dumb, shoot-for-the-stars/be-reasonable wonder, are too weak. We were not created to be milquetoasts, but magnificent. At the Clinic, this is what we speak to ourselves and to our clients. The life that Christ offers is the answer to all of the questions that the human heart can ask. We need to preach that to ourselves as we encounter the outer reaches of human depravity and injustice. We need to preach that to ourselves as we encounter the best that life has to offer.

Paul said that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (II Corinthians 5:17) May we, as we press into a new year, embrace the life that is found in Christ and see that as the final resolution to all of the joys that we experience in this world.

Until justice and peace embrace,

Chris Purnell e-sig Black 2015




Abundant Life