Acts of (miraculous) power, but Jesus is different. He never said, Did you see what I just did? [healing a sick person] Wasn't that like... totally awesome-super-hardcore-amazing? So here's a question...
What did Jesus marvel at?
Several years ago, when The Passion of the Christ was making headlines, I realized that N. T. Wright has spoiled every Jesus film. Once you’ve read Wright, you realize that none of the movies get Jesus right. Pharisees and scribes are reduced stock villains with caricatured Jewish features. Pilate has to make an appearance, and Herod, but we are given no sense that first-century Israel was the powder keg that it actually was.He goes on to talk about how Wright stole Christmas too, here
No film ever gives us what Wright says we should be looking for: a “crucifiable” Jesus, a Jesus who does something so provocative to make the Jews murderously hostile. In the movies, Jesus is a hippy peace-child, a delicate flower of a man, a dew-eyed first-century Jewish Gandhi. Why would anyone want to hurt Him? Maybe because He’s so annoyingly precious; but that’s not the story of the gospels.
Religion helps people cope with many things. It helps them deal with death. And I believe in marriage - I doubt the institution of marriage would have existed without religion. To some extent, religion has upheld essential morals and modes of behaviour. There are some really important values in all religions.I can't speak for other religions, but when it comes to Christianity, Le Bon speaks better, perhaps, than he gives himself credit.
However, I think human beings go through different stages. As a child you have someone looking after you. And then you start to break away from that, and eventually you achieve a degree of independence from your parents. Maybe humanity neeeded a parent and that was the part that religion played. Maybe we're at a stage now where we are growing up and ready to achieve a greater degree of independence.
The scientific creation story has majesty, power and beauty. and is infused with a powerful message capable of lifting our spirits in a way that its multitudinous supernatural counterparts are incapable of matching. It teaches us that we are the products of 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution and the mechanism by which meaning entered the universe, if only for a fleeting moment in time. Because the universe means something to me, and the fact that we are all agglomerations of quarks and electrons in a complex and fragile pattern that can perceive the beauty of the universe with visceral wonder, is, I think, a thought worth raising a glass to this Christmas.On the other hand, Glen Scrivener writes:
In the beginning was the life and love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Before there was a universe there wasn’t nothing, there wasn’t chaos and there wasn’t a lonely god. Our origins are not darkness but entirely light.Read on here.
But when this God creates, the equation changes. Suddenly there is something else other than God. The Father, Son and Spirit are radically relativised! They are not everything. God ‘makes room’ if you like for something else to be alongside. In fact, for something else to be drawn in.
|Photo from King-Magic.com|
I was at an academic conference on the theme 'The Communication of God'. A Jewish philosopher was speaking to us about the promise of online communication; he was passionate and committed and fairly persuasive. (I was already involved back then in running an experimental online theology discussion group, and so I was ready to be convinced.)Read the article (3mins max) in full here.
At the end, however, someone stood up and commented, 'As a Jew, this will work for you - you believe in the power of word, of text. For those of us who are Christians, who believe the Word became flesh, textual interactions will never be enough.'
“We don’t need to minimize the intimacy God offers us in order to protect our respect and awe for God, we just need to remember who our Father is!”and then go here.
One must face the fact that all talk of his [God's] love for men, and his service being perfect freedom is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself - creatures, whose life, on it's miniature scale, will be qualitatively like his own, not because he has absorbed them, but because their wills freely conform to his. We want cattle who finally become food, He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled. He is full and flows over.For context and post in full, click here.
Noël, if we live another twenty years (till I am eighty-two and you are eighty), the marriage will be sixty years old. And judging from what I see in the Bible and my memory, it will have been a momentary marriage. But it has been so much more than momentary. It is a parable of permanence written from eternity about the greatest story that ever was. The parable is about Christ and his church. It has been a great honor to take this stage with you. What exalted roles we have been given to play! Someday I will take your hand, and stand on this stage, and make one last bow. The parable will be over, and the everlasting Reality will begin.
Believers are united to Christ in God by the Spirit. This action is a unilateral action by God, in which those who were dead are made alive... When one speaks of union, it must be clear that the human person is merely receptive, being the object of God's gracious action. This is the state and condition of all true saints.
Communion with God is distinct from union. Those who are united to Christ are called to respond to God's loving embrace. While union with Christ is not something that does ebb and flow, one's experience of communion with Christ can fluctuate. This is an important theological and experiential distinction, for it protects the biblical truth that we are saved by radical and free divine grace. Furthermore, this distinction also protects the truth that the children of God have a relationship with their Lord, and that there are things they can do that either help or hinder it.
"God created the world for his Son, that he might prepare a spouse or bride for him to bestow his love upon; so that the mutual joys between this bride and bridegroom are the end of creation" (Works, 13, p. 372; Misc. no. 271).
"This spouse of the Son of God, the bride, the Lamb's wife, the completeness of him who filleth all in all, that for which all the universe was made. Heaven and earth were created that the Son of God might be complete in a spouse." (Misc. no. 103).
There’s a widespread instinct that the higher a church’s liturgy, the more apt a church is to be full of lukewarm nominal believers. Mainline liturgical churches like the ELCA, ECUSA, PCUSA are, it is argued, full of people who know nothing of the Bible and little of Jesus, and they have high liturgical traditions.The rest of the article is here.
Of course, correlation does not prove causation. And there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Anyone who thinks only high church traditions are afflicted with nominal believers should spend some time in the Bible Belt, where there’s a low-church nominal Baptist everywhere you look, a Baptist who stepped into a revival meeting 25 years ago and got himself saved.
Give us grace, Almighty Father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address thee with our Hearts, as with our lips. Thou art every where present, from Thee no secret can be hid. May the knowledge of this, teach us to fix our Thoughts on Thee, with Reverence and Devotion that we pray not in vain.
The Devil once seemed to be religious from fear of torment. Luke 8:28, 'When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Son of the most High? I beseech thee, torment me not!' Here is external worship. The devil is religious; he prays: he prays in humble posture; he falls down before Christ, he lies prostrate, he prays earnestly, he cries with a loud voice; he uses humble expressions - 'I beseech thee, torment me not' - he uses respectful, honourable, adoring expressions - 'Jesus thou Son of God Most High. Nothing was wanting [lacking] but love.We imitate the devil when we sing loud, pray loud, lift our hands, yet have no love for Christ, his Father and his Church.
One must face the fact that all talk of his [God's] love for men, and his service being perfect freedom is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself - creatures, whose life, on it's miniature scale, will be qualitatively like his own, not because he has absorbed them, but because their wills freely conform to his. We want cattle who finally become food, He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled. He is full and flows over.
Jesus did, of course, have extended prayer times and experienced physically harsh settings, yet he didn’t promote such things.Read the whole thing here.
His own devotion was, of course, robust: he once spent more than a month in the wilderness being tempted by Satan; he also spent full nights in prayer; and he often hiked long distances and slept in rough settings. Yet asceticism wasn’t a take-home lesson for his disciples. Even the followers of John the Baptist asked why Jesus didn’t insist on some fasting.
|Moving home and some!|
|Jesus, the Lion from the tribe of Judah (Rev.5:5) crushes|
the serpent, the accuser of God's people (Rev.12:10).
The simple fact is that for 2000 years, the Holy Spirit moved the church to have men and women sitting separately during divine worship. This is because in heaven there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage. There is neither male nor female, bond nor free, child nor parent. Hence, ascended worship, taking place seated in the heavenlies, involves an affirmation of God’s Family and a setting aside of the earthly family. As a matter of fact, if you want God to give you a healthy family, let Him take it apart and put it back together each week, for that is how God always glorifies and empowers His people (Hebrews 6:12-13, Genesis 2:23-24).He goes on:
"This evangelical generation changed the world, or major parts of it at least: they broke the international economic system of the day because it was unjust; they reformed prisons, factories, poor laws, and anything else they could think of; they saw major revivals, and huge numbers of conversions; when it came to gender politics, they taught men to be gentle, and women to be active in ministry."
God likes to move stuff. Motion is life and beauty and productivity. Stillness is stagnation, decay and death.
As we saw in Bible Matrix, the work of God in Man is not merely there and back again. Nature abounds with cyclical motions, from atomic spin to the "circle of life" to the rotation of galaxies or the identical cycles of the movements of a clock.
God is three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.The Heresies:
Each person is fully God; there is one God