Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category

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The New Pharisiasm

December 22, 2008

I was always fascinated by the pharisees.  When I learned that they had created a whole model of living that had the weight of scripture with extrascriptural practices I could see why Jesus, the inspirer of scripture, was so mad at them.  Neil Cole says we’re doing the same thing now.

Along the same line, the church has laid down what it considers healthy constraints to safeguard the righteous standards of God’s people. Directives are given such as: go to church (read a religious event on Sundays or in some cases Saturdays), don’t listen to secular music, stay away from R-rated movies, and abstain from all alcohol. These are not bad ideas for some people and may even be wise suggestions given the right context. Unfortunately, what begins as suggestion soon attains the clout of holy writ, especially when religious leaders pronounce them with authority and support them with Scripture verses ripped violently out of context. In little time we find ourselves functioning in a religious culture that has biblical principles intertwined with man-made injunctions, and few can distinguish between them. In fact we are certain to mix up the two, and spiritual priorities get messed up.

This is the problem, people start to think going to Church and living a good life abstaining from various “evil” things is all it takes to be a “good” Christian.  Unfortuately,we’re called to so much more.  As Cole says, we’re called to be living “in radical obedience to his word” not the extra stuff.

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He is risen indeed

March 23, 2008

and on this hangs everything.

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A Prayer.

February 21, 2008

God, You’ve got to be out there.
Because what do I do if you aren’t?
Amen.

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Writing love on my arms.

February 13, 2008

I feel a bit like an emo kid right now. I noticed that a few of my friends on Facebook were attending an event called Love is the Movement. I checked it out and the idea was to write the word “Love” on your arms on February 13th, a day before the celebration of love, as a way of spreading awareness about depression and suicide. Depression affects 121 Million people worldwide. 15% of the population of deveoped countries suffers from severe depression. Suicide is the second leading cause of death between ages 15-24 and the leading cause of death between ages 25-49. One in 25 Canadians will attempt suicide in their lifetimes.  These are all reasons why I’m writing love on my arms.

There’s a second reason for me to write love on my arms though. It is because of someone who wrote love into his hands, feet, head, and side. It is about a God who so loved us he allowed himself to be horrifically murdered so that his love could break through into this broken world. It is about a God who walked beside me, and carried me, during my early teenage years where at the end of most days I couldn’t see a point to seeing tomorrow.

That’s why I’m writing love on my arms. So that people know they are loved. They are loved by others and they are loved by God.

Love Arm


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Know your enemy…

January 29, 2008

Here’s a thought that just struck me while reading this. Whoever a Christian calls his enemy he has to love. This is the basis of true revolution. The successful revolutions of the 20th Century, Be it Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement, Mandela’s anti-apartheid movement, or even Gandhi’s movement to free India were love revolutions.

People don’t know how to respond to non violence; people don’t know how to hate love. Someone asked Gandhi how he expected the British to leave India, he replied “as friends.” How do you respond to that? The paradox of the Death and Resurrection is the triumph of Love over Violence. The triumph of love over power.*

Instead of trying to win control of political systems, instead of trying to rule the world, perhaps we should be learning how to love our enemies. If people living in the slums of the Rift Vally weren’t hungry would they be killing each other?

How do we put our love in action? It isn’t enough to say the words, we need to act. We need to feed the hungry instead of indulging in our own gluttony. When we love those we despise we change everything, from how we perceive them to how they perceive us, and all the implications in between.

Turn the Rage Against the Machine song inside out: Know your enemy… so that you can love them. It’s harder to love, but sometimes that which is more difficult is more effective.

*for more on this read “Which Jesus?” by Tony Campolo

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Everything must change.

September 27, 2007

The title is stolen from Brian McLaren’s new book. Which I am now excited to read. Especially in the context of a lecture I attended last night.

Lecture may be too strong a word. It was instead a conversation between Chris Frazer, one of St Francis Xavier’s History professors, and Sam Webb, the leader of the American Communist Party. The conversation covered a lot of ground, from the history of Socialism, to Socialism’s determination to become a viable political alternative, to the current goal of the American Communist Party to defeat the Republican party, by supporting the Democratic party.

When the floor was opened to the attendees I asked Mr. Webb to comment on the history of Religion and Communism, and where he saw it going in the future. His answer was a bit of a run around. Resulting in him criticizing the religious right in the states. A deserved criticism, but not one that deals with the constant putting down of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and others in China. The periods of intense pressure on Christians in Cuba, or the history of the U.S.S.R. where people of any faith were tortured and killed as enemies of the state. Sam Webb also said that there was room for people of faith in the Communist Party in the US. It seemed though that they would have to leave their faith at the door.

I had gone in expecting to disagree with everything he said. To a large extent this expectation played out. But what was more surprising is what we agreed on. The most important one being that things have to change. The environment is entering catastrophic change, there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor in the Western World, and the developing world is still far behind in basic human needs and rights. Things like consistent food and clean water. Not to mention things like education.

But we disagree profoundly on how this is to be dealt with. The goal of the conservative, which to a large extent I am, is for there to opportunities for all who are willing to work. Regardless of creed, race, or gender. The Goal of the Christian, which I am, is to see all creation, Christian or not, as loved by God, and therefore worthy of love by us. It is only through this love that we will see the world transformed.

To love what God created means treating the environment with care. To love what God created means looking after the sick and the poor. To love what God created means being ashamed of our materialistic ways and our economic system that propogates it. It means requiring our governments to look after the countries that can’t feed themselves or lift themselves out of economic hardship.

And its simpler than communism.

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If I was a theologian…

April 14, 2007

I think it would be better not to kill people.

It seems protestants are no less guilty than catholics of persecution, even killing people. I had realized that there had been violence in protestantism; but looking at people like Zwingli and Calvin made me realize that people are people. And power will corrupt anybody who seeks it.