know-jesus

Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace. We’ve all seen the bumper sticker. Nice, easy slogan. Maybe we believe it, maybe we don’t. But one thing I’m sure of is that even if we do believe it, we are only talking about our own personal, inner peace. The wars that go on inside our own minds. Maybe, just maybe, we can apply him to our peace within our own friends and family groups, to offering forgiveness and healing our relationships nearest and dearest to us. So, our own inner peace in Christ can be applied to healing relationships and making amends in our own personal life. But, we in no way apply knowing Jesus to knowing peace on anything other than a personal level.

private-mental-health
In our secular age, we have grossly reduced the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have privatized the gospel to make peace nothing more than a matter of private mental health. Private mental health and a way to go to heaven when we die.  But…this is NOT the original apostolic gospel preached and taught in the Bible.
Read what the apostle Paul concerning the accomplishments of Christ in his letter to the Ephesians.

new-humanity
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” Ephesians‬ ‭2:14-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬. The emphasis here is NOT a private, inner peace. It is a peace between groups of people who have had a long period of bitter animosity.

peace1
Jesus is our peace, Jesus makes peace, and He proclaims peace to those near and far. We modern Christians have simply submitted to the secular view that God, if He exists, should be kept behind closed doors. We have basically fully submitted to the secular idea that God is a private entity. We’ve accepted that our religious views should simply be another part of our own private individualism. We’ve capitulated to the idea that God has no place in the public realm. We’ve agreed to a division of the sacred and the secular. We declare Jesus is Lord, but only in matters of our own private spirituality. Jesus is the light of the world, but that is really just the tail light of the 747 taking us to heaven. Matters of global conflict are left to those truly qualified to handle such matters, namely our secular governments.

daily-bread
But this is a betrayal of the original apostolic gospel. Christian forgiveness is not just a private matter between one sinner and God. Forgiveness goes horizontal as well as vertical. “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:11-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬. We ask God to forgive us while we promise to forgive others. Forgiveness is God’s way of achieving peace. Justice alone can never produce peace. The peace the Bible is talking about is not just a temporary cease fire but a reconciliation of enemies, reconciliation of relationships.

12_9-compassion
Christians should be the leading authorities on peace. But of course, we have to actually practice peace and live peace before we can claim any authority on the subject. But this is how we can take our place as the light of the world and sons and daughters of God – by proclaiming and practicing a gospel based on peace and forgiveness.

reconciliation231
Paul says Jesus purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Does this sound like a private matter to you? Jesus is Lord, not secretary of afterlife affairs. He led the way, lived the life we are supposed to be living, and offered forgiveness as we hung him from a tree. He forgave us our sins right there, assumed His throne right there, came into His glory right there on the cross. He both forgave us and reconciled us to Himself, declared us right with Himself. Not just so we can go to heaven when we die, but so we would we can follow His way, learn to live and give forgiveness to one another, reconcile ourselves to each other, so we can be the one humanity we were made to be.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…

John Lewis

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40 thoughts on “Know Jesus, Know Peace

  1. John,

    Good words here.

    Jesus/Faith/the whole of Christianity… this is NOT JUST a matter of private personal piety. It is the LIFE to be had in God’s creation. But we modern people seem to have reduced it all down to “mental health” as you say (a good observation btw).

    PEACE… is our THIS WORDLY business, not something for us to reduce to private, personal piety/mental health, but something we BRING to God’s creation from God himself. And that is public.

    I wonder… What drives this reductionism?

    I also read a fascinating post by an Iraq war vet about PEACE last year (actually year before last) hat totally jazzed me. Seems like it might be worth linking for others to visit.

    Check it out here:

    https://theunlikelyevangelist.com/2015/12/06/peacemaking-is-a-dangerous-business-reflections-on-the-worst-day-of-my-life/

    Hope it blesses you and your readers….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We like to tell ourselves that Jesus came to die. But if Jesus came to die…then why is He alive? Why was He resurrected? And…why did the angel warn Joseph and Mary about Herod’s death squad? Why not just let the boy die if that was His purpose?

      Because – Jesus was not born to die anymore than you or I were born to die. Jesus was born to live. He was born to live the life He led, to preach the sermon in the mount. He was born to SHOW US how to live. To show us what it looks like to live out the commands of God in a human life. To show us the path, then to call us to FOLLOW HIM on that path.

      We have reduced His gospel because we WANT to separate His life and teaching from our salvation. So we gave a gospel that’s all about going to heaven when we die, and nothing about how we live here and now. A gospel that doesn’t challenge us. A gospel that doesn’t make us question how we are living. A gospel that makes Jesus secretary of afterlife affairs, we will be lord of our own lives, thank you very much!!

      And then…of course, the father did raise him from the dead!! Proving, indeed that he was the son of God!! Also – VALIDATING THE PERFECT SINLESS LIFE HE LED. VALIDATING THE OUTRAGEOUS FORGIVENESS HE OFFERED ON THE CROSS!! Validating the choice to tell Peter to stand down in the garden instead of fighting for His rights.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Jesus was not born to die anymore than you or I were born to die. Jesus was born to live. He was born to live …”

        Was his death just a divine accident? Are you so sure he did not come to die??? Peter tried to talk Jesus out of that mission, and Jesus told Satan to get behind him… (Mark 8:31-33).

        “…To show us the path, then to call us to FOLLOW HIM on that path.”

        But exactly what is that path? Is it not the path of one carrying a cross and following? And while Luke’s Jesus would have you take up a cross “daily” Mark’s Jesus has us on a one-way trip.

        Just look what he teaches the disciples on the heels of that exchange with Peter/Satan…

        34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his [t]life will lose it, but whoever loses his [u]life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.””

        And with the exception of St. John, all of his disciples died for the Kingdom Come and MOST of them on crosses.

        I would not wish to REDUCE this cross-carrying/dying mission to JUST a death either. For you are right to point out that he isn’t STILL dead. But passing through death appears to be crucial to the LIFE God/Jesus made us for…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good words brother. I would say that Jesus came to die just like we all came to die. To be born into a broken sinful world is to be born into mortality. I say He was not born to die in that He was not simply born to be hung on a cross. He was born to LIVE. He was born to preach His sermons, especially His Magnus opus, the sermon on the mount. He was born to teach his parables, to live His sinless life. I think that we minimize his temptations just like we minimize his teachings. He want to minimize his HUMANITY because it leaves the door open for us to keep living the same old way and still claim our ticket to heaven. Because to me, to say Jesus was born to die minimizes his humanity. I am fascinated by the HUMANITY of Christ. I am struck by the FULLY HUMAN messiah. We all love the DIVINITY of Christ, it gives us a way out. To be sinful, to live in our sins, to stay in our garbage dumps is just a part of BEING HUMAN. But the humanity of Christ challenges that. To say Jesus was born to die MINIMIZES that humanity, and allows us to kind of brush past his life and teaching.

          But He did not come to avoid conflict either. I don’t have all the answers, but Jesus telling Peter to “get behind me Satan” WAS him choosing the cross. And it was a choice. He DID KNOW his destination. He sweated blood the night before because He knew it was coming. He prayed to the father to take it from him. He was tempted to call down legions of angels, to become the next Judah Maccabaeus, to be Jesus the great.

          But he chose the cross. He chose FORGIVENESS. To take up the cross and follow Jesus means to be willing to follow his path of crazy, radical forgiveness right up to the point of your own death. The path of Jesus is the path of forgiveness, not vengeance. The path of praying for your enemies, even as they kill you, and not calling down 12 legions of angels from heaven.

          And it’s not a cheap forgiveness. It was the forgiveness for all the rage, all the anger, all the hostility of the world, which we put into Him on the cross. All of which He took to the grave, recycled in death and brought back to us with the words ‘Peace be with you.”

          To sum it all up, I just think that saying Jesus came to die just completely sells the humanity of Christ short. I am fascinated by his humanity. It challenges us, challenges everything we know. It challenges us for who we are. It challenges us for what we think we can be. It challenges us all the way to what it means to be human.

          And we don’t like to be challenged.

          I read the post you referred me to earlier, some very powerful stuff right there. I think we all have something you learn from that guy.

          Tried to watch the video, but can’t get it to play right, I’ll watch when I can get to some decent wifi.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I am thinking this needs more unpacking. If you are game, I am. If not, I wouldn’t want to burn up your cite with my wasted breath.

            I suspect there are things here tangled up in rhetoric, semantics, pithy phrases etc on the one hand and complex theology, gritty crucifixion, and personal anxieties on the other.

            Your post warns against reductionism – esp. reducing faith to private issues of mental health. You are right to say that stuff. AT THE SAME TIME, as you have since made clear (if I read you right), managing that reductionism does not mean that faith has nothing to say to mental health or personal piety. It certainly does. But you cant reduce to that.

            To say that Jesus did not come to die sounds to me like his cross must have been a divine accident. Dying on the cross was central to everything, in my view. He was quite purposeful about it. Without it what do we have?

            I pointed out to a lady yesterday on another blog that when Jesus was in Gethsemane praying and keeping watch while his friends fell asleep, he was watching the mob with swords and torches making their way down the zigzag switchbacks of the Temple Mount descending into the Kidron Valley long before they began making their way up the Mount of Olives to the rest stop called Gethsemane. The zigzags down and the climb up the other side would have slowed their approach. The wait and watch itself was agonizing as the mob moved so slowly yet surely.

            AND Jesus could have run! He would have escaped if he had. We know this because King David ran from Absalom by the same route AND stopped to rest at the same spot! When David saw his pursuers coming, he upped and ran AND got away! This Son of David is choosing to stay and face his death! This is no accident… no mistake… not even plan B, C, or D. It is plan A, and it is like no other.

            Somehow for your ears the phrase “Jesus came to die” minimizes his humanity – if I understand you correctly. But I must say, it does no such thing for me. I would say the opposite actually. I would say it demonstrates his humanity. But you don’t see it that way.

            Now..

            Let me re-listen to that phrase: Jesus came to die!

            I can see how the phrase might seem rather reductionist in nature. Jesus did not come simply to die, and that be the end of it. He did not command us to take up crosses and follow in some suicide cult. He is not Jim Jones or Heaven’s Gate. This is not a death cult! And the phrase “Jesus came to die” lifted out of context, or somehow not carrying the theological freight it SHOULD be carrying would not designate Jesus as any different than those yo-yos. So, yeah… if that is the light in which the phrase is received, then I would be quick to unpack it more.

            But in all your response, you hitch his humanity to parables, sermons, to be sinless with temptation, and to offer forgiveness while distancing his humanity from his death. But I would challenge you to consider his death in more depth. Those sermons and parables and the facing of temptations were all aimed at his death which was his purpose, and even St Paul would say that every time you take communion you proclaim is death until he comes! (I Cor. 11:26). Again, this is not an accident or plan B… it is the bullseye he was aiming at all along, and the thing Peter was resisting! The same Peter who had the things of “man” (humanity?) in mind and not the things of God.

            I think that Jesus’s vocation was to be crowned King of the Jews. It was Saul’s, David’s, Herod’s and every other messianic pretender that came along since Judas Maccabee up until bar Kochba. But NONE of them sought this vocation via death on a cross (or by any other means). Jesus, on the other hand, did. And SO there are two ways of seeing this crucial event: An execution of a common criminal OR The Coronation of THE TRUE KING! And sure enough, like Joseph vis-à-vis his brothers saying what they meant for evil, God meant for good, this execution is actually the lifting-up/enthronement of the TRULY HUMAN ONE – the one St Paul also calls “LAST ADAM”.

            I hope I am highlighting Jesus’s humanity IN his death, the death he CAME TO DIE, which also is the prophetic moment that God comes to be crowned King of Israel.

            I could say more and exhaust the idea, but you are a bright guy. I bet you see what I am saying. If you do, and if I am right, then we have more unpacking to do… untangling of rhetoric, semantics, theology, and so forth. For I never thought you were denying Jesus divinity or humanity or any kind of heresy. But I would actually vigorously defend the notion that Jesus came to die. But I would do so with sensitivity to issues of reductionisms…

            X

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks Bro. I think I will continue. I also think you are right, we are differentiating semantics here.

              But…I will have to revisit later tonight, or more likely tomorrow. On to baseball practice and other Daddy duties…

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Definitely do Daddy duties! I get that!!! God some of my own here tonight, although none involving sports (thank goodness… I don’t like sports).

                I look forward to anymore response you have later, but I really want to get back to the question I asked in my first response: “What drives the reductionism?”

                At the point when I asked that, I was talking specifically about the reducing of matters of faith to private piety and mental health. I think your observation there is dead on. Insightful. Most folk don’t come to that observation really. But you did, and you shared it.

                You made a reply to it, alright, but I have other ideas about what drives it. Ideas I think you resonate with, if whether you have seen it or not.

                What drives the reductionism?

                In a word: Empire.

                But particularly the Post Enlightenment Empire.

                Eversince Galileo (and really before, but he makes a good starting point for discussion) looked through his telescope, withdrew his eye, and stated that the world is round and revolves around the Sun, science and church have been in conflict. Who orders this world and how? Is it Empire driven by science (not to mention politics, finance/markets, and military)? Or God?

                And the church has always been quick to say – God. But while the church gave God this lip service, they also drove cars, used light bulbs, sent their kids to war, bought and sold property, voted and so forth, but back to the science… the church benefited GREATLY from all the science right along with the rest of the culture. The only thing was that the church kept insisting that God was in charge and ordered the world and SOMETIMES ordered it with miracles and such – things science could not see, touch, taste, smell, or hear.

                Meanwhile science grew undeniable powerful. I bet you use internet… no? How are we communicating right now? Where did it come from? Science or God? (And don’t start giving me lame providence answers…. In the marketplace of ideas, your Atheist friends aren’t impressed, and really neither am I). No. The correct answer is Science! Got cancer? Where you gonna go with that? Pray? Yeah, I know you will, but then you are gonna run to your doctor who is a SCIENTIST. (I know, it is possible your doc is a believer too, but there is no way she is NOT a scientist.) Where is the consistency here?

                And be careful about arguing too loosely. The Scopes Monkey Trials made a mockery of the faith! And really, in the dark of the night when you pray to a God you cannot see, touch, taste, smell or hear in any empirical sense, you are paying a mortgage, car loan for a car you drive, watching a TV and using a computer under lightbulbs that SCIENCE gave you while you vainly try to give credit for this stuff to God. And actually, you look and feel just a little foolish for this (if not a LOT) and your faith winds up being based more in how well and deep you are in denial of this shame than in your relationship with God.

                Okay, YOU, just MIGHT, be the exception to this, but face it. The picture I paint here is the real experience of the VAST MAJORITY of believers in the Empire. They are trying to have it both ways. It doesn’t really work, but of course despite ourselves we wont dare put that in the brochures.

                But actually more and more people are twisting off from the faith. More every day. Your average Fundamentalist and Evangelical regularly laments how this “used to be a Christian nation…” But the Christians are fewer and farther between now than ever. And look at Europe. They are way farther down this path than Americans. The church there is hardly a shell… Empty cathedrals prized for their art and architecture far more than the God they were built to honor. That is the path our culture is on too, and we conservative types dread it. But it is because we Christians have actually given our real allegiance to Empire and saved only our lip service for Jesus. And actually, even the lip service is on a banana peel here. When was the last time you asked a man in the checkout line if he is a Christian? Did you witness to him? How about at the baseball game? Did you even greet that person and look them in the eye? (I posted just before Christmas on “eye contact” at the mall. Almost no one shared it with me!)

                So, if this is what our real life really consists of as believers, what do you do with faith? You reduce it! And you make Christianity into a Pie-in-the-Sky, other-worldly, spirituality. And one of the closest forms of science that even comes close to relating or giving oxygen to your faith is Mental Health science!

                Yeah, the Empire will let you have all the OTHER WORLDLY faith you want! It might raze you a bit for the inconsistency, but at the end of the day the Empire does not fear that God or you for having that faith. You still pay your taxes, buy your bread at the marketplace, vote, send your kids to war, and go to empire doctors when you feel sick. You have given your heart to god (not God) and your but to Uncle Sam (or the bank).

                And thus Empire drives the reductionism.

                Sad, don’t you think? The church used to plant a flag (figuratively speaking) in the earth, the creation, seeing the whole thing as the Promised Land – see the last few words of Matthew’s Gospel… “Behold, I am with you to the end of the age/earth” But somewhere along the way, the church quietly gave up God’s reign on earth as it is in heaven and began clinging to heaven as if that was of God.

                NOW go back and talk to me about providence. I think you will find new POWER for the argument that was lacking before…

                X

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                1. You say science, I might say it’s more secularism. But really…what science has done us simply given us the power to actually believe we are God. But – what is science? Kepler (and I might be attributing to the wrong guy) once said that science is simply thinking God’s thoughts after Him. The church got all a-feared of science…which really comes down to our own lack of faith. The more we learn now, the more scientists are themselves coming to faith – or at the very least acknowledging that their was clearly a grand designer. In short – we have nothing to fear from science. The more we learn about the world through science…the more we learn about the God who created it.

                  My son is currently an aerospace engineering major at university of Maryland in college park. He just got an A+ in both differential equations and his first actual aerospace class. He was raised going to Sunday school, and like many 19 year olds has fallen away some. He believes, but certainly doesn’t think it really matters. But I did have a conversation with him about all the laws, formulas, calculations, etc he is learning. If we live in a random universe that came from nothing, points to nothing, and created by nothing….then he could never learn all he is learning. There would be no laws of physics. No calculus to learn. No law of gravity.

                  Our universe was created to such exact specifications….you can look it up, just in general. If any part of it had been off by 10 to th 50th power of one percent…we wouldn’t be here. I’m really talking about something I don’t fully understand here….but I’m going to tell you that the existence of science itself is on,y possible with God.

                  It has Steve stage for the demise of Christianity in much of the civilized world. It’s all the technology and philosopy…self help, my help, your help…we have basically convinced ourselves that we are God.

                  And yes…the empire doesn’t care what we think of the afterlife. The empire didn’t care what Jesus thought of the afterlife. Or his apostles. Thy we all killed god the declaration that Jesus is Lord. Jesus as killed for being king of the Jews. It’s ironic that he was crowned at his execution. Herod anted to kill the baby Jesus because the Magi figured out the king of the Jews had been born in Bethlehem. Because of the threat all the two year olds in the area had to die. Because of the threat.

                  We too will begin to see persecution…when the empire perceives us as a threat to its power. Christianity was coopted by empire under Constantine back about the fourth century. That’s part of the problem…we’ve basically been “chaplains to the empire”. That’s a big part where the reductionism came in. Jesus is in charge of afterlife, we are in charge here. So…long term in the plans if the kingdom of God….we have to be separated from the empire. We have to be the alternative. We have to be a threat…

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                  1. Your words: “…we’ve basically been “chaplains to the empire”. That’s a big part where the reductionism came in. Jesus is in charge of afterlife, we are in charge here.”

                    Very nearly sums up my point.

                    As for “science”… I use the term pretty much for convenience, not with surgical accuracy. Kinda like when I say EMPIRE, I don’t really reduce it to USA, though for convenience sake I might use USA as my example. EMPIRE is actually bigger than our nation, but there is no doubt USA occupies the penthouse in the Tower.

                    However, I would not describe science as thinking God’s thoughts after him. No doubt Einstein and some cronies even in the last century viewed their engagement with Science as a means of understanding God’s creation and even serving God. No doubt there are scientist holding similar views today. My Doctor is a believer! But the whole Enlightenment Program, of which science is one of the main facets, was about marginalizing God. The founding fathers of this nation were Deists who found what they thought was the appropriation of Constantinian world order for the modern era. And though they gave God lip service (its on our money even still) they purposefully set out to separate church and state (a phrase given us by T. Jefferson) as the ideal.

                    Privatized religion and faith. Let science have the public sphere. And science has no allegiance to God; some scientists do, but the science itself does not.

                    Science is a way of KNOWING. Its about knowledge, and thus power. But it is not knowledge of LOVE or via LOVE. It stands, as best it can, disinterested with LOVE. But God is LOVE, and you cannot know him without LOVE.

                    The whole creation by design/designer argument makes sense alright, but it can only take us so far really. It does not actually give you God. I merely makes room for “God” – supposedly. But actually, even though the odds are beyond astronomical, it is actually possible for all the randomness of the cosmos to fall into just enough order to give us what we see, touch, taste, smell, and hear. And all the design argument does is give equal opportunity to “God” in the marketplace of ideas.

                    That AND point out that it takes FAITH, a really dark faith at that, to believe in Big Bang, Evolution, and such origins. It calls the bluff on that stuff. Those who believe such are taking it on faith, actually. They lie when the say they don’t. And that argument of design thus calls out that lie.

                    But it does not actually give you God. God is had when we LOVE him. And his creation is ordered in a Reign of LOVE – when it actually is truly ordered. And that we also take on faith.

                    Science is too impersonal, too subject to the whims of broken politics to really be of God. Consider the metric system. A RULE – a measure. It measures everything against the earth itself. It breaks down these measurements in multiples and divisions of 10.

                    Pit this against the English rule which measures everything against the KING’s body. The King is a human! It seems so arbitrary, even to those of us who use IT primarily and metric when we must. But God put the man in the creation to RULE over the earth, not the other way round! This is not an endorsement of King George or any English monarchs, but at least it has the “human” rule right! And as arbitrary as it seems, at least its not pagan!

                    Food for thought really.

                    I do not mean to hijack your post. Just enjoy THINKING stuff through. I am in NO sharp disagreement with you, brother. But I am in favor of sharpening the irons…

                    Good post. Good discussion…

                    Keep it up.

                    X

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                    1. Yes…very good discussion.

                      I would still say that, regardless of the motivation of those trying to learn about the (physical) laws God laid down, science is still merely thinking god’s thoughts after Him. The scientists belief or disbelief is irrelevant to that. My belief or disbelief in any truth is irrelevant to the truthfulness of it. If it’s the truth, it is true – my belief notwithstanding.

                      But – we found know that faith us belief in things that are as yet unseen. All the science in the world will never “prove” God. It will always be a leap if faith.
                      And you are correct in pointing out the “faith” of evolutionists. They still believe their religion vehemently despite the scientific method, which is also part of their religion, giving no credence to their theory. Yet it continues, and will continue, to be taught as fact to our children. So much for separation of church and state.

                      And yes…I will say again that we Christians have nothing to fear from science. They have discovered nothing yet that points to anything other than intelligent design. Nothing that points toward anything other than, “In the beginning, God…”

                      Liked by 1 person

            2. Yeah…I think we really are in agreement here.

              First of all, thank you for sharing your bible knowledge. I never knew or considered that the Garden where Jesus was praying was the same Garden David hid from his enemies in.

              I will say…without the cross we have nothing. More specifically, without the resurrection, we have nothing. Paul himself made this point, without the resurrection of Jesus we are to be pitied above all. I believe that Jesus was crowned king on the Roman cross. It is the throne of Christ. It is where he came into his glory. It is the glory of God. It’s where we learn that Jesus did not come to save us from an angry God, but to reveal God as our savior. It is where the ugliest torture device in the world became a thing of beauty, the most artistically recreated thing in the world.

              But – I think that to ignore what happened between the manger and the cross is reducing the humanity of Christ. This is where I say that Jesus was not “born to die”. He was born to live, to show us how to live, not just decree from on high. He was born to lead us into eternal LIFE. Which does not necessarily mean we are just going to be jetted of to heaven. Eventually – heaven will be joined with earth. The kingdom of God has been enacted, we are marching toward the end when what we call heaven will descend from the clouds and we will be rejoined with god the father in everlasting life. Or…something like that. The awaited second coming…

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  2. Good post. A lot to think about. My new faith is very personal to me… and really does have to do with mental health I think. BUT… I do believe there is a place and time that I’ll be used for bigger things. When I am ready. When HE feels I’m ready. I always say I need to know more, to understand more… but I think that’s erroneous thinking maybe. I need to TRUST, that He will give me what I need when it’s needed, and stop thinking I’m in charge of that. I have so much to learn!! Or unlearn. 🙂 and yes… He is much bigger than our one on one relationship, which keeps us individualized. Wow… like I said, a lot for me to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t get me wrong – He DOES offer us individual salvation. We will see Him in heaven when we die. He cares about every hair on your head. He loves you just where you are and as you are.

      BUT – He’s not going to let you stay there. You are called to FOLLOW. Where that leads you – we have no idea. But we must be willing to follow where ever He leads us.

      Thanks so much for reading and responding!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. John, an excellent and challenging post for our increasing violent world. Where is the church speaking out against the violence? Where are the Christians heading out to help those in need. I am ashamed. I have stayed in my comfortable house.

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    1. Rick, I’m glad I am challenging the church in my posts. That, I suppose, has become some of what I am trying to do these days. I think the church in general, and most Christians individually (myself included…or especially) need to be challenged on what we claim we believe and what we live.
      However…I really in no way am trying to shame anyone. I’m hoping to challenge and motivate, yes, but certainly not shame. I am pretty certain, just knowing you through wordpress, that you are no more inside your comfortable house than the rest of Christian America. You know that Jesus loves you just as you are, there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. No shame or blame intended, but hopefully a little motivation and inspiration.

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  4. This was wonderful. I really enjoyed the statement about Jesus not being the secretary of afterlife affairs. lol! As I recently heard a Pastor remind us…The Kingdom of Heaven is coming to us…it is now…it says that it will be descending out of the heavens…we need to be ready for that by following what Jesus taught us!

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  5. Science is a form of KNOWING. It denies faith (a political move really) when and where it can. Or it takes its knowing from the creation rather than the Creator – even if the scientist is a believer. Trust me on this, in the Age to Come, this form of KNOWING will be vastly inferior to any sense of value it has in the Age that is Passing Away.

    Knowing is about THE TRUTH or untruth. Truth, contrary to what a lot of believers say, is RELATIVE. This makes a lot of MODERN, Science believing/practicing Christians nervous because they are accustomed to that phrase being used to mean ANYTHING GOES. But it actually does not mean that… not necessarily. It can in the hands of some, but not when I use it. TRUTH is RELATIVE alright, but it is relative to God!

    Science posits that there is unchangeable truth OUT THERE and we should find it, exploit it, trust it, all the while NOT trusting it but verifying it with every untrusting measure it can conjure up and then blowing along whatever political wind come along. It holds the promise of making it’s practitioner MASTER over creation by means of the principalities and powers that choose to reveal themselves in that lens.

    I think my Doctor who is a believer is living with a lot of stuff “in tension” and he doesn’t know what to do with it in the final analysis. Glad he uses the power he has and the skills science has given him for godly healing, but of course Jesus did a lot of healing with no reference to science whatsoever, and that I submit, is the greater power, but one my doctor does not possess… thus the tension.

    I make no case against the power of science. It is really powerful and in fact powers much of my home and even this communication with you. It is truly powerful, but it is also pumping porn into my home (foster kid got around the parental controls recently). It has NO allegiance to God. But like Pharaoh’s magicians throwing their staffs and turning to snakes was real power (I cannot explain that one) so the LOVE, the relative love – the LOVE we must be in relation with — the TRUTH of God that is only had in LOVE of God, thus relative to HIM, is a staff-turned-to-snake that eats the other snakes!

    I think the tension my doc lives in is schizophrenic really. He is torn by it. Better than suffering cancer, we think, but not the same as the healing Jesus brings, The present evil age will pass away like a swallowed up snake by the Age to Come, and that will be the TRUTH of which we who obtain it LOVE and find ourselves in RELATION to. (and btw, that is NOT anything-goes…)

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    1. Sometimes you do go over my head, and I take my hat off to you. I am still a simple man with simple pleasures, and maybe I just see the world through a simple lens.

      I will say this – our scientists can discover nothing – no law, no truth, no relative truth – which God did not put there for them to find. They can discover nothing, have discovered nothing, and will beverage discover anything about the world which God did not place there for us to discover. So yes – science may have out this iPad in my hand…etc etc, but every principle, every power, every discovery along the way has been empowered by the god who created it all. And yes – He did give us power and dominion, even the command, to subdue the earth and everything in it.

      Science itself neither confirms or denies faith. It is apolitical. Now the scientist, or whom ever it may be keeping the scientist employed…they may well use their discoveries any way they wish.

      I stand by the fact that we do not have to fear science. Let science discover what it may. Sure, there may be a 1 in 10 to the 53rd power (or something like that) that Jesus is just one random guy who randomly fulfilled the multitude of prophecies which he fulfilled. There may be a 1 in 10 to the 47th power that the universe randomly lined up just the way it is. But even that does not wash away the fact that something still has 0 chance of coming from nothing.

      We don’t need to argue. We don’t need to protest. Just as the tide us turning against abortion the less we do and say about it, so the scientific tide will turn toward the existence of God. Then all that will be left is…what is God like?

      The kingdom of a God is unfolding. There is a movement in the world right now. God is on the move, as we say. No scientist, slightest chance, will hold back the truth from its ultimate revealing. Which is really the classical definition of Armageddon BTW…. the disclosure, the revealing, the manifestation, the revealing. Not the end of the world…but I’m guessing you know that already…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really doubt I am over your head. You are the one citing the 47th power here, not me. However, you do seem to have a commitment to science that you are not questioning, at least in my view. You could go after that fact that I am using this computer to communicate with you. WhY am I doing that? Do I have a commitment to the science behind it or not? Press me hard enough there and I will run out of clear answers, no doubt.

        Let me ask you: What do you think of the principalities and powers? What/who are they?

        This is one of those questions that is going to beg for reductionism again, I think. But IN PART they are the powers of science and of the elements science studies. So what exactly is the difference between science and the witchcraft one of the ladies in my Bible study came out of? She too went out and studied the earth/cosmos – by other measurements alright, but – the same created stuff science seeks to KNOW its Knowledge by in the end. And that is an expression of idolatry – worshipping the creation in place of the creator, worth-shipping the creation in place of the Creator, assigning value to the creation which belongs to the Creator. So at that level, what is the difference between science and witchcraft? For my lady friend studied the moon and tidal waves and found connections to the cosmic webwork of creation that empowered her by “dark arts” to cast spells and harm someone or make another fall in love etc. And science is employed to do those very things too… all the time!

        I am saying, I think, that LOVE of God is a vastly superior form of Knowledge that, when it comes to fruition, puts humanity in rule over the creation with dominion and rule as a vice-regent of the Creator. But that is done/achieved in WORSHIP of the Creator… something science is actually blind to.

        You said this in your latest response: “Now the scientist, or whom ever it may be keeping the scientist employed…they may well use their discoveries any way they wish.”

        I would say there is NO “may use their…” about it. Every last one of these scientists strive to not be biased – the very antithesis of good science – but they are part of the creation they try to be objective about. That is an impossible ideal. And in the end, every last scientist there ever was or will be has and will come to skewed knowledge of the creation because of it.

        Yes it has power. Enough to keep us distracted from worship and true knowledge in which there is no lie. And once it places, or even promised to place, its power in that scientists hands she becomes intoxicated by the powers and principalities, distracted from worship of God, and “master” of the universe. Science is PROUD not humble. It cannot be humble. IT ALWAYS has this backdoor effect on its practitioners 100% of the time with no remainder left over. It might be less for some than others, but it has effect whether small or great on them all. AND on its enthusiasts.

        In the age to come, we will paint the sunset on the sky… but that will not come from science. It will come through humble worship of God, and those who practice it will look at science as exceedingly week and ineffectual.

        Am I making better sense yet?

        Thanx for responding…

        X

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        1. Just to let you know..,you probably over estimate me a great deal. I am a dog chasing a rabbit. Believe me…I have no commitment to science other than enjoying what the scientists give us.

          I do believe some of your theology is currently over my head. Or at least over my head here and now. I am currently at work and operating on about three hours sleep last night. So…hopefully I will reread with a better nights sleep tonight and better be able to digest our discussion today.

          I am committed to writing, and hopefully finishing a devotion on powerlessness for my cr leaders meeting tonight. I am committed to cr. I am committed to writing this blog to the best of my ability, which I hope is growing daily. Thanks in part to discussions like this with those who currently posses a greater understanding than I.

          But…no commitment to science.

          I do remember facts and figures pretty well, the ones I quoted I read somewhere months again, don’t ask me where.

          I know nothing about witchcraft. I will learn nothing about witchcraft. As such, I have no answers on differences between witchcraft and science.

          I really don’t have a commitment to science. I’m saying, that as a Christian I don’t fear science. I believe the.bible, and much more than that I believe in Jesus Christ. Scientists can try as they might, they will not disprove anything He ever said or did. The more they try, the more they will find his truth.

          Which, I guess, is always relative to Him.

          I think sometimes we get frustrated when non Christians don’t act or believe the same things we do. It annoys us when they proclaim their beliefs more strongly than we proclaim our truths. Doesn’t change the truth.

          And yes, God is Love, and Love never fails. Two spiritual truths we can take to our grave.

          And thank you for the discussion.

          Like

        2. And sorry…forgot to answer about principalities and powers. My working understanding is that these would be the powers that be in society…i.e., president, congress, government, here in USA the financial institutions, big corporations, big money. BIG RELIGION. All those with POWER and CONTROL in society. But also…the SPIRITS at work behind them…so I would say thus could include the scientists etc you are referring yo as well. The elusive “Illuminati”. And know…I don’t know who they are, and don’t really have an opinion on whether they actually exist…

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          1. John,

            Don’t sell yourself short, man! Yes, this stuff is deep. Deeper than your average Sunday school class. No. It’s not rocket surgery!

            I hear ya, though. Esp about juggling work and blog etc. Too much clamoring for attention to give this the best attention. I get that.

            And then there is the very real possibility that I am just plain wrong and misleading too.

            (Personally, I think that is a long shot, but it is a VERY REAL possibility.)

            This discussion is the outgrowth of a question I asked about what drives the reductionism of private, personal piety. Don’t let that get lost in the bunny chase. Everything I have had to say was intended to serve my thesis on that question.

            I could have just said Christians follow culture instead of lead it, and that would have been correct. But it would not have really got into the nitty gritty of it. And I don’t think you can live in the USA, certainly not being born in it – white, middle-class too – and not swallow science like a snake swallowing a rat. Science is a real big power player in our culture, and it is not of God and does not serve God. I don’t think it is neutral either, but you seem to think it either is or actually serves God. I think it serves it’s practitioners and their employers – EMPIRE. The USA developed THE BOMB and for 50 years set the pace for the globe! Not one ounce of that was cross-carrying or following Jesus, but it sure got bathed in conservative, “Christian” politics. Meanwhile the same Christians, though finding their bread buttered by Empire and Science also found their faith in conflict with the scientific explanations of cosmic origins and with other values this power/these powers promoted. Thus their trust was reshaped into Pie-in-the-sky/other-worldly agendas of salvation and going to heaven when we die, because Empire and Science obviously have this world ordered, but cant touch that one.

            But maybe I am wrong.

            I just don’t like punting. And I have given a LOT of thought to this stuff, read a few books that helped, and had my pie-in-the-sky faith destroyed when I was in school. This is God’s world. He orders it. His word, his Son, even though creation points to him, show us his heart and his real self…. his real world order. And there is not one ounce of science in the Bible, but there is everything we need to be his vice-regents in ordering the world he made good for us to live in.

            Yet somehow American Christians by-n-large have no idea how any of that might be true.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. When I said I’m a dog chasing a rabbit…I was referring yo my tendency to get excited over things that are new to me…like some of that “sciences” info I was half-quoting.

              But…maybe you’re most,y right on the science thing. We describe as being mostly against God, and just about knowing. We did get kicked out of the garden for eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, didn’t we?

              So maybe…even though these laws and immutable truths were out there by God…we were never to acquire all the knowledge we have now. We tell ourselves how much better off we are, but are we really?? Are we closer to God, or farther away? Are our relationships getting better, or getting worse? Are we drawing nearer to the ideal of peace on earth, or farther away?

              Maybe it’s really about us simply putting ourselves in the position of God. Somewhere in Genesis, I think at Babel, it says we will be like Gods. Maybe our deteriorating human condition is a result of all of our knowledge. It is certainly as result of science that we WILL eventually murder each other by the millions. Maybe after that…the remnant will finally turn to Christ.

              It doesn’t have to come to that…but we probably will not humble ourselves until it does.

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              1. There are different kinds of knowledge. Scientific knowledge is but one of several. Think of intuition. That too is knowledge. It is very mysterious, but not the most dependable, but it is knowledge. Science is dependable, or at least it tends to be, AND it is proud! but not very mysterious. Yet it is very powerful.

                But then there is LOVE, also a kind of knowledge. But true love, not some feigned parody, is also powerful, dependable, and mysterious. It is also humble. And science is blind to it. Love is really totally in the blind spot zone of science. Science can study effects of LOVE but not love. It cannot measure love in a lab. If I ask you how you KNOW your mom loves you, you will not give scientific data, we cannot reproduce the experiment in a lab and get the same results, but you do know whether your mother loves you or not.

                At some level, the question is which knowledge is more powerful. Those who rule the world with scientific knowledge raise flags up flag poles, bomb their enemies – vaporizing them – and they MIGHT cure your AIDS but they will charge you a lot of money on the one hand, and cure your ill so as to take away the consequences of your bad behaviors – AS PART OF THEIR WORLD ORDERING AGENDA.

                Stack that up against One who rules the world in utter humility, loves his enemies, cures your ills with a touch or command offering healing as a matter of faith rather than financial gain, and takes the consequences of your bad behavior himself and offering you LIFE instead!

                Science cannot cope with that. Believers in the last 2 or 3 centuries have lived in the tension of ordering the world according to science while claiming to stand for LOVE, but they cant both order the same world with the same people. Private personal piety with the idea that we might as well order this world with this impersonal knowledge to our comfort as best we can while looking to escape this evil cosmos and this evil flesh by going to heaven when we die and hoping we can have all the LOVE and JOY of heavenly order THERE instead of here has been the ever-increasing Christian agenda AS A WAY OF COPING with the tension.

                Love as a world order! Wow! What an idea! Casting mountains into the sea, stopping the sun in the sky, walking on water, witnessing flowers bloom along your path! All of these and more are biblical ideals for world order in the Age to Come. Science cant touch this stuff. Which world order are you living for???

                Of course it is easy to ask such a question in a vacuum, but we don’t live in a vacuum. I have NEVER seen a single Christian cast a mountain into the sea EVER! NOT ONCE!!! Jesus said we could even with the slightest faith, but in 2000 years of Christian history, there is not even one recorded case of it!!! What’s up with that???

                I don’t have easy answers for that. I only hope I have a fraction of the tiny mustard seed faith. I hope against hope that LOVE orders our world someday. And I must say, the day it does… science will be a joke! A funny byword. Probably forgotten in an instant. So incredibly inferior as to be laughable! So much pride over something so small. So much trust in this knowledge that kills so many people with an ideal of empowering us and comforting us. But due to be a joke in the end.

                Meanwhile, we got Christians thinking they need to abandon Jesus’ humanity and God’s creation as a matter of faith. But you and I think they need to be claiming both as so much Promised Land! We gotta trust God with it. FAITH!

                X

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I’ve seen mountains thrown into the sea!! Pretty sure Jesus wasn’t being literal there. But overcoming alcoholism, gambling addiction, and sexual addiction, and saving my family in the process seemed an unconquerable mountain. Truly the gift of SALVATION through Jesus Christ. A mountain tossed into the sea with the tiniest mustard seed of faith.

                  Just saying.

                  Good words brother, appreciate you!!

                  Like

                  1. Why not literal there?

                    I believe a lot of stuff is figurative/symbolic and not literal, but why not that one?

                    I don’t believe Daniel was a real historical person, Job for that matter either, but I do believe Jesus was born of a virgin, died and rose again. I am capable of seeing both in scripture, but there are reasons for taking these things either way. What’s yours?

                    (another bunny trail, but I am curious…)

                    Appreciate you too bro…

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Have you spoken to a mountain??

                      Sometimes we need new eyes…I do see mountains moved all around. About to head to Friday night celebrate recovery, so gotta go. But, without stopping to actually read the text, I guess maybe one day it will be literal, the coup de gras…The drop the mic moment. Actually…that was the resurrection wasn’t it. Maybe that was part of the second temptation of Christ, the spectacle. Maybe I just don’t have enough faith. But…that would be God proving himself, wouldn’t it?

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