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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

reverently overwhelmed

I acknowledge that God, by his grace and mercy, is making headway in helping
me to see with greater clarity that in his Son, Jesus, I have a reliable and completely trustworthy advocate who not only can teach me what it means to live and be fully human, but also what it means to love deeply and be loved unconditionally. Some may question, "You mean you haven't understood this about God until just now?"
My response: Maybe in theory I understood but my understanding
did not reach into the deepest part of who I am. It's sinking in now and to no surprise, I’m finding it both scary and satisfying. (torchie)

scary and satisfying? perhaps that's why we often read about fearing God... because the implications of calling him 'Lord' go so far beyond anything our flimsy little minds can truly comprehend that this holy fear is the only appropriate response.

didn't somebody once say 'we fear what we don't understand' only to have everyone else turn it into a cliche?

okay, call it reverently overwhelmed...
or better yet, just refer to it has having gained some perspective.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

SocietyVs Quote of the Week

"We must start to deal with our own hate, or after a while we might find out the saddest thing - that's all we have left to build from"

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i would rather be surprised by the ongoing fallenness of a friend
than be lied to anyday.


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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

torchie's top 10 belief system balderdashes

my friend torchie does not have a blog of his own but he sent me this note the other day. i've been threatening to post his stuff for months. i'm finally making good on my threat... (jb)

I fed my heart today by reading 1 Corinthians 15.1-34, worshipping with
Delirious, and just a few minutes ago, MSNing with an accountability partner. That was an unexpected treat and very encouraging conversation that reminded me once again that Jesus is great beyond description.

My readings of late have been helping me to think about, and hopefully apply to my life, how to live the power, or reality, of Jesus' resurrection.

I wondered St Paul meant by the statement in 15.2, "Hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain."

I prayed for nearly 2.5 hours over this little line as I thought about
(ya, I was surprised too).

Let me give you the highlights.

1. It means believing that certain actions or behaviour will merit God's favour. Verse 1 clearly indicates that resurrection reality hinges upon understanding that God's favour is something to be "received."

2. It means believing anything that robs Jesus of his divinity or of his humanity. Take away Jesus' humanity and his defeat of death (and our defeat of death too) becomes irrelevant since humans are all subject to death. Take away Jesus' divinity and the resurrection becomes an impossibility.

3. It means believing that sin is nothing more than little indiscretions. Speaking from experience, minimizing sinful thoughts and behaviour often unleashes a series of inestimably serious consequences. St Paul said "Stop sinning" (v.34) for a very good reason.

4. It means underestimating the importance of Jesus' resurrection to our lives. St Paul states in v.14 that his life and ministry would be useless if Jesus had not risen from the dead. I couldn't help wonder how many things done in Christ's name are useless because they are "done" without recognition of the living presence of Christ.

5. It means believing paid, "professional Christians" (clergy) are the ones who are responsible for the articulation and witness of the gospel in our city and beyond.

6. It means believing that faith can be practiced in isolation from the community of faith. I am not pointing fingers at the monastic movement here but rather the idea that one does not need to practice the disciplines of accountability, confession, receiving service, and 360-thinking. St
Paul reminds his readers (v.5) that following his resurrection, Jesus sought out Peter and the Twelve and then others. The Risen Christ often manifests himself in places where his followers are gathered.

7. It means withholding forgiveness. Again, v.5 is a reminder that by example, Jesus sought out those who had forsaken, or wronged, him. And in the seeking, forgiveness and reconciliation are implied.

8. It means trusting in sources that are antithetical to Jesus' teachings from Holy Scripture. St Paul warns his readers about those who were raising doubts in their minds about the resurrection of Jesus. "Don't be misled," St Paul says. "Bad company corrupts good character." This is a tough one especially when it is someone we like who is leading us into theological oblivion.

9. It means having a purely subjective belief system that is not open to scrutiny. This does tie in to point #6. Verse 12 gave me the impression St Paul was in the habit of asking people questions. I gather, too, that he was okay with being asked questions about his beliefs. I feel openness to the scrutiny of those who love us is one of the most important, albeit difficult at times, activities in the life of faith.

10. It means trusting more in oneself than god and for believing divine invitations to adventure are too risky to get involved in. Again, the Apostle amazes and inspires me: “Why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I die every day…just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (v.31) Once again I am confronted with this matter of trusting in God. St Paul was able to face “wild beasts” not because he was an adrenaline junkie or simply just unlucky, but because he trusted in the Risen Christ. The assurance of Jesus being alive compelled St Paul and gave him the assurance to be daring in living his life in service to God. This daring faith does not come at a little price. It requires from me a daily death to self; a dying of my proclivity to play God whilst, at other times, to play it safe.

Hmmm. I think I should not have stopped praying!