Tuesday, November 27, 2012
In his recent blog entry, Steve Bell commented:I certainly resonate with Randy's concern, but the inherent tension is precisely the point. Exactly what kind of King is it who, volunteering obscurity, condescends (with passion) to walk among the lowly, sharing their burdens and humiliations, and ultimately bearing them away in his own death? What kind of kingdom is it where the lofty are brought down and the lowly lifted up? It is a rather odd, counterintuitive sort of kingly glory is it not ? – the sort that can only be found perhaps in "the delightful deceits of fables." But I'll take those deceits any day over the relentlessly measured, flat, atomized facts of a pitiless universe. Facts and Truth are not always the same thing.
And so… I will contribute a song alongside Malcolm's sonnet because I truly love, believe and trust this story.
As usual, Steve's comments sparked my own thinking. Rather than pour all this into his blog, I'll post it here -
" the inherent tension is precisely the point. Exactly what kind of King is it who, volunteering obscurity, condescends (with passion) to walk among the lowly,"
Unhappily, this tension seems to be largely lost today in so many ways. We pay lip service to service, and humility and the manger, then move on to demand that the surrounding society kowtow to our demands for "keeping Christmas," (Don"t shop from merchants who don't greet you correctly! Keep Christ in Christmas by getting up into anyone's grill who dares use the greeting Happy Holidays... etc..) We toss a few extra bucks at a charity to get that warm glow of reassurance that we are "good people," then elbow our way into the Boxing Day Sales lineup to get the latest large screen tv (Man, they had such good deals last year -- I'll show you mine if you show me yours!! - yes I am chief among sinners in all these areas much of the time)... So, I have become very leery of the Power and Glory-Loving 'stuff' as well. It plays way too easily to my human weaknesses for being On Top.
Facts and Truth are not always the same thing. ... I truly love, believe and trust this story.
Here's where critics of faith and gospel get it wrong, as do people of faith as well when we fear the attacks of the former. They/we think that if the historicity of the events is cast into doubt, then the faith is destroyed. They fail to understand that the power of the events is not in the facts or historicity, but in the ephemeral meanings interwoven throughout! The power of story is the story. The idea. The concept. The belief that Truth is Ultimately Good. That Truth is ultimately sentient, loving and concerned about all of us all around - and we should be too. These concepts and beliefs change lives, give hope, produce freedom. And ultimately peace. On all levels.
Joy to the World!
Thursday, May 24, 2012
John 9:14 (AMP)
Now it was on the Sabbath day that Jesus mixed the mud and opened the man's eyes.
I've often wondered why Jesus resorted to this mixing of mud to heal a man's sight. Jesus cures others without using devices like this. Verse 19 makes the point that it happened on the Sabbath and I think this is an important clue.
Jesus seems to be adding emphasis to the fact that he is "doing work" on the Sabbath. As usual, it is Jesus who decides precisely when and how he will challenge the religious powers who are withholding God's blessings rather than extending them to the people in need.
It seems to work, judging from the reaction in verse 16.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Thursday, April 12, 2012
We can choose to center
On correct doctrines, or love
If we focus on correct doctrines
We will see nothing but our differences
And we will become a church
Of divisions, rancor and even hate
If however, we focus on love
We will become a unified church
That will change the world
Friday, April 6, 2012
Friday thoughts on crucifixion, wrath and justice...
It is human hatred, violence, and sinfulness
That is purged by Jesus' stripes.
God 'forsakes' Jesus into the hands of man! -
"Do to him as you will... break him if you can..."
This is not a need for vengeance by God
Nor the blood lust of God being appeased
But rather the sinful bloodlust of humans
Which is finally satiated. *
Walking on water was the easier part
Taking darkness out of every heart
Into His own this is alone
Keeping vigil (Lyric by Jim Croegaert)
So Jesus dies with "father forgive them" on his lips
Defeating Satan in that instance.
Had Satan managed to turn God's love for us,
Away from us, through Jesus Christ
Then we humans would have ceased to exist and
Satan would have won his quest to destroy us.**
So Satan cries out (ala Mel Gibson's movie) in defeat! not victory....
And human bloodlust is absorbed into the heart of God.
And God prevails in that Jesus loves us unto death!
And our story goes on.... our future is secured.
note* - We see and experience this human blood lust in every human cry for justice that looks more like revenge. I spit out angry thoughts against someone who offends me. And I would in my moment of justifiable, self-righteous rage vent emotional damage towards that person, because I am a sinner. Yet even I have some limits. For example, if someone offended me by cutting me off in traffic, and then suddenly a vigilante appeared and began acting out my anger in physical violence upon the offender, I would very quickly become shocked and horrified and intervene to stop the beating. "Too much! Too much!" I would cry. ... Even my blood lust over most offences, can be satiated.
Yet there is an even greater cry for justice caused by even more horrendous crimes. This is expressed in a song by Steve Bell: Somebody's Gotta Pay For This, wherein he describes his own dream of vengeance against the men who violated a young girl... but as Steve says, "No one (human being) has enough to lose to pay for all these crimes." And then Steve encounters Jesus hanging on a cross and is told "Kill him!" The idea being that Jesus alone has "enough to lose - a perfect sinless life" to pay for all the crimes of humanity - and so Steve's bloodlust is gone, replaced only by a deep sadness - (sadness for his own broken state and the brokenness of all humanity...)
In the crucifixion, Jesus takes this ultimate punishment symbolically upon himself for every human crime, and says to us - "I took that beating for that person - now you can feel vindicated by me - and move on to forgive him and seek his well-being, rather than his destruction.
note** - Satan must know he can't destroy God but still he does seek to thwart him. Satan hates the human race. Why? Is it because he knows that we will one day rule over him and all angels? ... Was this the realization that turned Lucifer against God?