26 August 2008

A Couple of Quotes

Both from the same source.  Can you guess who it is?
You will realize that doctrines are inventions of the human mind, as it tries to penetrate the mystery of God.  You will realize that Scripture itself is the work of human minds, recording the example and teaching of Jesus.  Thus it is not what you believe that matters; it is how you respond with your heart and your actions.  It is not believing in Christ that matters; it is becoming like him.

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There are some who call themselves Christian, and who attend worship regularly, yet perform no Christian actions in their daily lives.  There are others who do not call themselves Christian, and who never attend worship, yet perform many Christian actions in their daily lives.  Which of these two groups are the better disciples of Christ?  Some would say that believing in Christ and worshiping him is what matters for salvation.  But this is not what Jesus himself said.  His teaching was almost entirely concerned with action, and with the motives which inspire action.  He affirmed goodness of behavior in whoever he found, whether the person was Jew or Roman, male or female.  And he condemned those who kept all the religious requirements, yet were greedy and cruel.  Jesus does not invite people to become his disciples for his own benefit, but to teach and guide them in the ways of goodness.  And if a person can walk along that way without ever knowing the earthly Jesus, then we may say that he is following the spirit of Christ in his heart.

Blessings of God be with you.

OD

20 August 2008

Quote

'God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone but also on the trees and in the flowers clouds and stars.'

Martin Luther

A Glimpse of the Ultimate Future

Isaiah 11.1-9. Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.  And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  He will delight in obeying the Lord.  He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay.  He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited.  The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked.  He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment.

In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat.  The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.  The cow will graze near the bear.  The cub and the calf will lie down together.  The lion will eat hay like a cow.  The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra.  Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.  Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.

In the first paragraph, this passage seems to be pointing to the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.  Yet, vv 6-9 didn't take place then and don't seem to be happening today.  What are we to make of this?  I see vv 6-9 as starting with the incarnation (at the very least) or the resurrection (at the very most).  Therefore, to me, it seems to be the vocation of the mystical body of Jesus.  That is, we should be the ones who are trying to implement those things.  As, perhaps, sign posts to the rest of creation.

We must try to create new ways of dealing with conflict (represented by the prey and predator in vv 6-9).  We must be creative.  We can't resort to violence.  That is the way of falseness.  We must look deeper than our falseness to the light, love, and wisdom of God to find new ways, new beginnings, to handle the extreme falseness within ourselves, our enemies, and all of creation.

Maybe we haven't tried hard enough?  Maybe we know that, in the back of our minds, we always have violence.  The problem comes with the fact that, oftentimes, violence works in the short run.  It answers quickly and (seemingly) solves the problem.  But for us to move forward, we have to be people of non-violence.  We have to be the people of Isaiah 11.6-9.  We, above all others, should be leading the charge for non-violence, under the banner of the Prince of Peace, to come up with new, non violent ways of dealing with conflict within ourselves, our families, our communities, our nations, and our world.

Peace be with you.

OD

12 August 2008

Are we hungry?

John 6.35. 'I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.  Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'

But...

But what about those who are hungry?  What about those who are thirsty?  Aren't all of us who follow Jesus in a constant state of being hungry and thirsty?  Don't we (always) long for more?  Or, is that the problem?  Are we the product of our culture?  Perhaps, we aren't content with what we have?  Maybe we have been so deluged with materialism (the concept that we need more, better, etc.) that we can't seem to find satisfaction with what Christ has fed us?

Peace be with you.

OD