" 'It is true that sin is cause of all this pain, but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.' These words were said very tenderly, showing no manner of blame to me nor to any that shall be saved. Then it would be a great unkindness to blame or wonder at God because of my sin, since he does not blame me for sin." (Chapter 27)

If I'm slowing down with my posts on Julian of Norwich, there are two reasons. First, wedding plans are taking over a bit of my life, and that plus some other obligations are keeping my mind from focusing as well as I would like. Second, I'm hitting some stuff that's tougher to chew on.

Take the passage above: "God does not blame me for sin." How does that square with "being accountable" for my actions? And if I'm not blamed, or meant to feel shame, then won't I just do anything that I feel like, whether or not it's good for me?

These questions remind me of some that are circling now with the recent discussions concerning Christian universalism (the doctrine that all will ultimately be saved, and hell will one day be emptied). If God saves everyone, then what's the point of evangelism? And perhaps even more pertinent, what's the point of living a "godly" life?

I recently stumbled upon a blog ((here) by Roger Olson, professor of theology at Baylor University, who, although not a universalist, has this to say:

HOWEVER…What I would like to ask people who get so worked up about universalism is this: What difference would it make in your life if suddenly God revealed to you in a way you couldn’t deny that he is going to save everyone?

I have posed that question to students for almost 30 years and one response has been common and very enlightening.  Many say “I would think it unfair for God to save people who didn’t have to give up all that I have given up to be saved and I would stop witnessing and supporting missions and striving to live a holy life.”  (Of course, this is a paraphrase.  No one student ever said it exactly that way; it’s more of a composite of common comments and class consensuses out of discussion of the question.)

What does this reveal?  It suggests to me that people who respond that way have not yet experienced the joy of knowing Jesus Christ and the abundant life he gives.  I’m not saying they’re not saved; I’m just saying they are missing out on an important aspect of being saved.

Is salvation drudgery?  Would God be any more unfair to save everyone than to save me?  If you know the joy and peace that comes from being saved and having a relationship with Jesus, why wouldn’t you want everyone to know about that now–in this life?

As I continue to work my way through Julian's writings, I ask myself this question: "Can a God who loves me deeply, who sees me standing, who attaches no blame, be strong enough to pull me toward becoming like Him? Or do I need threats or cajoling to enter into His life of love? And if so, why?