Letting the rest “rest”

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What might Christianity look like if the Gospels had become ink before the Epistles?  … “The Good News” – Andrew Blair

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I have heard many “let’s go back to The Early Church” exhortations.   I have thought it myself.    Seems to me that replacing much of the “Temple Industry” practices/preferences still endemic in religion today with a “pure” faith (like what Jesus taught) to be an exceedingly good idea.

Except at what point do we drop the flagpole of The Early Church … ?

Before or after The Cross … Before or after Paul … ?  If before The Cross where would the “The Big Reveal” of evangelising be?  And if after … would that be before or after The Ascension – and if after how much after – and if before … why?

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What might Christianity look like if the Gospels had become ink before the Epistles?

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What a profound question from my blog partner!

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For The Early Church was riddled with as much dissent as we have now – just that we prefer to paper over the cracks as we do today.  The Early Church writings have as many tellings-off and “scandals” as today.   The same “role model” churches as today.   As much missionary work as today.   A Head Office structure just like today.   And – just like today – it was (and remains) a numbers game …

“How many have you brought me?”

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I think it another good reason for going bible-blind.  For being selective not in finding proof-verses that kill debate, but in finding the essence of the bible and letting the rest “rest”.

We are addicted to bible study, bible teaching, bible preaching.  We have created an academic-theological language more complex than the most difficult of The Difficult Verses.  We have idolised the verses of burden and sacrifice and hardship and persecution – idolised the verses of soul-saving-counting – made it all such hard work!

We have gone bible-blind in the same way as we have gone Love-blind –  we read the bible and prefer to see darkly – we cannot live without sin and choose to Love sparingly.  And we have that wonderful mantra written on the hearts of every believer:

“We are all but sinners saved”

Which is the get-out-of-jail-free-card used again and again as an excusing of our own weaknesses (or addictions) – along with the superstition at the end of almost every prayer “… in the name of Jesus we ask, amen”.  Or else we won’t get what we ask for!

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What might Christianity look like if the Gospels had become ink before the Epistles?

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I think worth thinking about.

Thank you, Andrew.

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eyes on God

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There are times I am caught and held in the moment of a word, a scent, a sound …

This post caught me – moved me one way with sadness and then another with joy. Even today it seems we have to break free of reading the bible right. Maybe especially today.

And it is moments like this post which remind me we keep on doing it to each other! And I have no idea why.

Thank you Rebekah!

Paul
((hugs))

My Beautiful One

My sister is home from the hospital now. They gave her some medicine to be on for a while. I asked her if she cared if I wrote on my blog that she was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She said, “No, I don’t mind. This is reality, know what I’m sayin?”

Yes, I do. I know what she’s saying.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible used to be the one about Peter walking on water. I say “used to be” because that was before all these voices out there got me so self-conscious about seeing yourself instead of Jesus in the pages of the Bible.

I felt like I related a lot to Peter. He seemed to be the one to get himself in situations.  He was eager, but misguided. Determined, but lacking. One minute he tells the Lord to depart from him, and yet another time…

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Clenched Fist: A Poem About Letting Go

Freedom! or  Slavery!

I am curious –

What do you choose to see?

Paul

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(comments closed here – please leave any thoughts at Meg’s place)

megsnotions

the words "Clenched Fist" over a black and white image of a clenched fist

I’ve held on so tightly to what is not mine to hold,
Grasping for control like a drowning man violently flails,
Trying to save himself from sinking when the lifeguard is approaching.
Clinging to the shimmering pyrite I worked so hard to obtain,
Turning away from true treasure, the only lasting gain.

My fists have been clenched for so long now,
Knuckles white, fingers stiff –
Difficult to flex, painful to unbend.
My hands grip the remnants of my pride,
Serving the master of self that ought to be crucified.

Once a slave to sin, I know this master well,
No longer my king yet still a brutal power.
I belong to another Kingdom now,
But Pride holds on tightly to the prey it seeks to devour,
Lulling me back like a clever, abusive lover.

I’m afraid of surrender,
Defensiveness is my nature.
Fists are great for holding but also…

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We is always me

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“Somewhere along the line we pick up all of that baggage.  We learn to hate people whose skin color is different, whose beliefs in God are different from ours, who are not from our country, who….  You get the picture.  Where we learned this is not important, how we deal with it is.”
To such belongs the kingdom of God, The Modern Theologian

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How WE deal with it.

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Mike writes about something we all have to deal with at some point: “how do I deal with this.”

I read headlines of how someone else is dealing with “it”.  Someone far away from here.  Someone too young to be a “real” role model.  Someone only in their 30’s.  Someone who hasn’t been around that long.

“Jesus taught about love”

But the person I think of is not Jesus – or maybe is.  Who knows.

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Jacinda Ardern: ‘A leader with love on full display’

The main suspect is Australian, and the victims were from a number of different countries including India, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Somalia. So when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared behind a podium to deliver a statement a few hours after the attack, it wasn’t just New Zealand who listened to what she had to say. “It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack.”

By so swiftly and decisively describing the shooting as a “terrorist attack”, Ms Ardern seemed to show an awareness and consideration of the fact that many people feel officials are reluctant to use this word when an attacker is white, even if that attack is politically motivated.

Her acknowledgement of the fear and sorrow of the Muslim community didn’t end there, either. She hugged the victims in Christchurch, wearing a black headscarf as a simple show of respect; she gave people the unifying cry “They are us”; and addressing parliament for the first time a few days later, she made a small but bold statement by opening her remarks with the Islamic greeting “As-Salaam Alaikum”.

But she’s combined this show of empathy with promises of concrete legislative and cultural change. A few hours after the attack, she announced a clampdown on the country’s lax gun laws “within 10 days”, and speaking to the BBC’s Clive Myrie she promised to “weed out” racism both in New Zealand and globally. “We cannot think about this in terms of boundaries,” she insisted.

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How WE deal with it.

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We is not you.  We is me.  We is me.  We is me.  Always.

“Jesus taught about love”

But teaching is only “teaching”.  What I do with that teaching is down to me.

Not the teacher – not the class – not the school – not anything to do with anybody else other than me.

Because “we” is always “me”.

First, second and always.

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Thank you –

paulfg

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Love is always the answer?

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Comments under yesterday’s post (justmebeing curious)

“I don’t know how regionalized it is, but where I’m at a cage is what you described, a crate is solid on all sides, except for the door.

I had a professor who told us that (in his opinion) what Jesus meant when he said that the only way to the Father is through him that he was not saying that only Christians could go to the Father, but that only by following his teachings would get us to that goal. Thus, many of those who are not Christian, but follow Jesus’s teaching “as if by the heart”, will be with the Father, while those who call themselves Christians, but fail to follow his teachings, will stand outside watching.”
The Modern Theologian

“A “dog crate” seems to use the word “crate” to avoid using the word “cage”. Guessing that “cage” is a little too “penal” for man’s best friend (or the self-perception of “man” about his behaviour towards “best friend”).

As for the rest – I wonder more and more if we have the same “self-perception language” to “crate” (could we ever admit to “caging”) a God way bigger than any one “religion”.”
It’s for her own good

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And then Mike wrote this post: “Love Conquers All”
Extract …
“The Christian needs the Jew, the Muslim, and, yes, even the Hindu and Native American. It is only by seeing God in his Infinite Diversity that we can see God in everyone we encounter.”

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Why is it that – more and more – “Love is Always the Answer” is as complete as…

I Am

Paul

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Love thy neighbor

I started copying/pasting a small flavour of this beautiful post …

But I found that I was copying and pasting almost the whole post.

The words are that beautiful. Really meaningful truly beautiful.

We are talking about love. My favourite subject. Like a whole bible full of love. If you know where to look.

Mike does.

Why not see if you agree …

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Thank you –

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Paul

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(as always comments closed here, please leave a verbal hug at Mike’s place)

The Modern Theologian

love thy neighbor 3Do you have a Christian love for your neighbor? We all know the story of the Good Samaritan, and how to identify who your neighbor is: the one who treats you with love and compassion. But is that what it really means? Are we just to love those who love us back?

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When Theology doesn’t mean Jack

Less than 500 words.

The few words written by Tom “T. F. Thompson” drilled somewhere very deep inside me.

To explain why would need much more than just “500 words”.

It would need my whole life journey.

I hope something shifts inside you as well as you read these few words.

Thank you Tom –

Paul

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(comments closed, here, please add any words under Tom’s words)

Hard Times Ministries

There he stood in shock; he was stunned and trembling and beyond denial that my friend, George’s newborn child was dead. And yet, yes, his child was indeed dead: dead to the touch, dead to the world and now lay cold and blue and lifeless and pitiful inside the maternity ward of the hospital. Compounding the demanding situation was now, another lady from another room who beckoned George to tend to her plight as her child too was motionless and was presently held by the hysterical mother who begged for God to answer the cry of disbelief.

Pray for my child.” she sobbed. “At least baptize my infant child so that he might enter heaven with our master.”

Of course, George knew this was ridiculous. There was no need to baptize a dead infant, and no, there was no theology to back it up: In fact,the opposite was true.

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