Christian Character Traits

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

— Proverbs 27:17

There is something happening in Christianity right now which we need to address.  It is the trend of many of my brothers and sisters (Myself included) to act in ways mirroring the world while preaching against it.

More often than not in the Conservative/Traditionalist branches of the faith we see a frenzied attack or stubborn refusal to delve into subjects.  This type of attitude and approach is hurting the Christian witness.

A great many Christians feel they are under attack and I understand this.  The fact of the matter is that the world has always been defined by scripture as hostile to those trying to live the religious life.

The world is based on a paradigm of fear of death/loss and self centered motivations.  This kind of a framework ultimately leads to things like Greed, Arrogance, Gossip, Dishonesty, Etc.  The problem is that it becomes more and more pervasive as that attitude and mindset is adapted to and internalized.  Ones rational almost becomes imprisoned in this framework and so does the community and larger society.

The paradigm of the world has left a lot of people exploited and in a great deal of pain.  It is appropriate to be angry about being hurt and about others being hurt.  It is appropriate to be sad for being part of that and feeling great remorse for the harm you have done to yourself and others.

It is however not correct to start viewing yourself as “Saved” and the rest of the world and its inhabitants as worthy of your wrath, ridicule, and slander.

We are all suffering and we are all injured and scarred/scared.  Most likely in ways we aren’t fully aware of or understand.

As the spirit of the world is one that only leads to alienation from oneself and others, The spirit of heaven is one that builds communion and heals/lifts ever higher.

The spirit of heaven seems foolishness to the wisdom derived from living in the world.

It is the spirit of lending without expecting to get anything back, Selling all your possessions and giving them to the poor.  Devote your life to feeding the hungry and thirsty, Welcoming the stranger into your home and to partake of your blessings, Making sure those without clothes and support have so, Tending to the sick and dying, Visiting and befriending the prisoners and most hated amongst men.

Lastly the spirit of heaven calls on people to take no bag, no money, no food, or extra clothes and to preach that the truth isn’t the spirit of the world which seems to be unavoidable and all that there is.  That the truth is that death has been defeated and no longer has a sting and we can live free from fear.  That life can begin to be about healing and finding our proper place/meaning and that this is how God wants us to live.  He wants us to prosper and be happy and be reconciled to each other and then to praise him not out of duty but out of sheer gratitude and happiness for the new lives we have.

This is what it means to die to the old self and be born again.

A big part of this is changing the culture.

We as Christians need to remember that it’s not only about having the right propositions (Gospel) it is about the attitude and way in which we live and witness to it.

If we address peoples points of debate and or other ideas with slander or worse manipulation to suit our narratives we strengthen the world and not the witness of the Kingdom of God.

There is a golden dawn in really delving into these discussions with people from other points of view and understanding their narrative.  In fostering an environment of peace and discussion we will be able to better witness and the light of the gospel will clearly shine.

So in summary please don’t lash out at people with other view points.  Instead foster the “Fruits of the Holy Spirit” within you:  Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

And meditate day and night on the commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

If you do this you may be amazed at how you start relating to others and remember if one is a Christian than one believes everyone is their relative and like a brother, sister, mother, or father.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

 

R.I.P John Webster

“Theology is the work of the children of Adam who are slowly learning what it is to be the children of God.”

John Webster was a notable contemporary British theologian of the Anglican Communion.

He was an expert in the work of Eberhard Jüngel and Karl Barth (Two of the great theologians of our era).

It is very sad to hear of his passing.  I recommend anyone that wishes to send some well wishes to our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church to do so.

In Christ we are all one.

“Theology arises from God’s presence, by which it is endlessly astonished and to which it never ceases to turn in humility & hope.”

Verse of the Day

Suppose a brother or a sister has no clothes or food.  Suppose one of you says to them, “Go. I hope everything turns out fine for you. Keep warm. Eat well.” And suppose you do nothing about what they really need. Then what good have you done?

— James 2:15-16

The Salvation of Godlessness

When I think of “Godlessness” I think of pain, suffering, drug addiction, prostitution, hopelessness, warlords, corrupt politicians, and the great gnashing of teeth experienced by humanity from the white picket fence suburban family to the crack addicted thief.

We all touch upon this reality of what it means to live in the darkness and have its mark upon us both physically, mentally, and spiritually.  It makes us fearful, selfish, ignorant, and all other marks of Death and its domain.

To be a Christian I think is to believe that God has bridged this infinite distance between God and God.  This chasm of despair and hopelessness.

“God did not create anything except love itself, and the means to love. He created love in all its forms…. Because no other could do it, he himself went the greatest possible distance, the infinite distance. This distance between God and God, this supreme tearing apart, this agony beyond all others, this marvel of love, is the crucifixion…. This tearing apart, over which supreme love places the bond of supreme union, echoes perpetually across the universe in the midst of silence, like two notes, separate yet melting into one, like pure and heart-rending harmony. This is the Word of God. The whole creation is nothing but its vibration.”

—Simone Weil, Waiting for God, pp. 123-24.

That “Godlessness” is no longer something that doesn’t fall under the Loving Sovereignty of God’s rule.

“Descent into Hell, in which God’s presence in the world in Jesus is seen as his journey into the furthest deserts of despair and alienation. It is the supreme image of his freedom, to go where he is denied and forgotten…. He comes to his new and risen life, his universal kingship, by searching out all the forgotten and failed members of the human family.”

—Rowan Williams, The Truce of God (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), p. 30.

In the end, love wins.

Angels

A poem enters into the world to expose the strangeness of language and the mystery of reality. Angels are the poems of scripture. They enter into a situation to expose the strangeness of God’s activity and the mystery of creation.

In the angels we see the limits of our knowledge. They are a startling reminder of the impossibility of human comprehension—a sign of the outer vistas of knowledge. We simply don’t know what to do with angels—which doesn’t matter so much I suppose, so long as they know what to do with us.

Angels are creatures who do not fit in the world. It is clear that their world is not our world.

The mistake we often make in our modern world is to go the easiest route and attempt to demythologize their presence.  This is the folly of the most limiting paradigm; Were all that is complex and or transcendent is brought down to be understood because its splendour challenges and demands more.

Angels witness in that they mirror the impossibility of the coming of God’s kingdom according to the usual patterns of historical causality.

New ways of speaking and thinking is how we approach the heavenly choir and how we are called to witness as well 😉

Inspired by Steve Wright*

God Is Not A Republican

We as Christians need to stop associating ourselves with Republican and Conservative ideologies.

We have a gospel and it doesn’t need to be interpreted through a Republican or Conservative narrative.

The crazy and xenophobic drivel in regards to immigration.

The patronizing and demeaning way woman are regarded.

The anti-christian talk about “annihilating” our “enemies”.

We as a group need to wake up because this foolish talk alongside tired and stupid apologetic formulations is what is the true enemy of Christianity.  We have done more harm to our faith than everything we consider “Other”.

The margin isn’t even close.

God Is Not A Republican, Or a Democrat and we have our own mission which is very very different than the current political one.

So instead of holding up signs which make you look like you can’t fathom complex scenarios and realities try just being a listening ear and opening your mind.