Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
Mother of all, God birthed Creation and set humanity the task of magnifying His image and likeness across the earth.I believe that God is Light:
The light of Life that dances through the cosmos and lives in all, finding expression in creative goodness, causing multiplication in communal love, reaching fulfilment in Christ.I believe that God is Love:
He weeps for the murdered unborn children and the starving millions.
I believe that God stands with the poor and the oppressed. Those who will not support the downtrodden oppose God.I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord:
God’s Word, the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, who ever was and is and is to come.
He is before all things and in him all things find their true meaning.
For the salvation of humanity he was incarnate of the Holy Spirit by Mary, a virgin.
Having taken on humanity, through the power of the Spirit he lead a sinless life and called us to follow.
I believe that his teaching is the perfect rule of faith and life for all people. I believe that disciples of Christ love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. I believe that disciples of Christ seek peace and pursue it. I believe that disciples of Christ lay down their swords just as they lay down their lives.
Jesus offered his life in atonement for all. This atonement cannot be denied to anyone, but can be denied by all.
Christ rose again on the third day; death was defeated. I believe that Jesus set the pattern that we must follow, that in lives given for others, we might live.
He ascended and sat down at the right hand of the Father. I believe he is Lord of the Church, ruler of the nations and judge of all.And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life. These three are God almighty:
Light and Love, grace and truth, justice and mercy. Forever to be worshipped and glorified.
The divine Life of God, seen in Christ, is birthed and seen in all those born of the Spirit.
I believe that Jesus poured out the Spirit upon his people to cleanse and teach them, to comfort and guide, to empower and sustain.And I believe in the Church: Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, ever sent into the world as the body of Christ.
I believe that the Church, through the power of the Spirit follows Christ’s rule of love. Everyone who loves is born of God, but those who do not love do not know God.
I believe in healing the sick and casting out demons, clothing the naked and feeding the hungry, giving to the poor and releasing from shackles of injustice all who are imprisoned by Sin.
I acknowledge the remission of sins for all who believe and turn from their sin in baptism, confessing Jesus Christ as Lord. I believe that salvation is by grace through faith-that-works-through-love.I believe that God is coming and that all are judged for the works that they have done:
I believe that God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is just and merciful.
I look for the Resurrection of the dead and the destruction of death. I believe that as all died in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.
I believe God will restore all things and will be all in all.To God be glory in the Church and in the world both now and forever. Amen!
Monday, November 28, 2005
Sunday, November 27, 2005
I am not approving of homosexual behavior. I am disapproving of a church that has forgotten how to love people that Jesus will never stop loving. And if you don't like it, join another club but don't call yourself a member of the church of Jesus Christ for we are the community of lovers and we love all kinds of people with all kinds of sin and that's your good fortune and mine too, for where would we be without such a church. And I want it to be the church that Christ wants it to be. We are concerned because in this political climate there are politicians who are playing on the homophobia of people. They're tapping our deepest feelings and they're gleaning votes by playing on our hatreds and our fears. Perfect love casteth out fear. We can't let it go on. We've got to stand up. We've got to say, we have differences of opinion. I'm conservative on this issue. She is not where I am on this issue. We both hold to the word of God. We're not going to get divorced but here we stand together. We will not allow others to take away the rights and the dignities of human beings. We just won't let you do it... Because I want to tell you something, after you say you can't live in my community, after you've said you can't teach in my school, after you've said you can't go to my church and after you've said you can't come to my college, after you've said all of this stuff - don't think for one moment it's going to wash when you smile that plastic smile that I see in the Christian community and say, "But we love you in the name of Jesus."Simple as that, folks. Shit, it really is as simple as that.
Friday, November 25, 2005
What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Specifically, does it say that it's wrong?
This is my attempt to answer the first question and in so doing point to an answer to the second question that is slightly more developed than "yes" or "no." My current understanding is that the Bible says absolutely nothing about homosexuality. This is for the simple reason that it wasn't until the middle of the 20th Century that the idea of sexual orientation was understood. Thus, anyone engaging in homosexual activity before that point would have been considered, by heterosexuals, as going against nature (see Paul's argument in Romans 1).
This could hardly be any more significant. The bible does not address the broad subject of homosexuality - in terms of sexual orientation - because it was written before that was an issue. Therefore, whenever the Scriptures refer to 'homosexuality' or 'homosexuals' we cannot simply assume that they mean the same thing by that word that we do (same-gender attraction/orientation/love). Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped people regularly turning to the same small selection of scriptures whenever the subject is tackled. The following proof-texts are frequently read as negative references to homosexual behaviour.Read more...
Friday, November 25, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
5. Assume the dumbest interpretation. For example, if someone says that he can run a mile in 12 minutes, assume he means it happens underwater and argue that no one can hold his breath that long. 6. Hallucinate entirely different points. For example, if someone says apples grow on trees, accuse him of saying snakes have arms and then point out how stupid that is.Add to that, my own number 8: Argue a minor detail of the post (if possible, grammar or spelling) so that you can win a point and assume that the whole post is therefore nonsense.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Technorati Tags: Bruderhof, Eberhard+Arnold, anabaptist+history
Monday, November 21, 2005
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The Anabaptist emphasis on the role of the Spirit meant that only a congregation where there was freedom for the Sprit to guide individuals and unite the community around the Word would be able to operate properly as a hermeneutic community. And the Anabaptist emphasis on obedience as a prerequisite for understanding Scripture meant that only a community of would-be disciples could expect illumination. Unfaithfulness could make a congregation unable to function properly as a hermeneutic community. There were two other qualifications which would have limited the interpretative freedom of the congregation, although the first only marginally. The belief that Scripture was usually plain and self-interpreting limited the role of the congregation in theory, but in practice there were enough unclear passages to require the help of others and the guidance of congregational leaders. More important was the emphasis on Jesus, which meant that communal understandings of Scripture were expected to be in line with this fundamental Christocentrism, although here too it was in the community that the meaning of Jesus' life and teaching was established.So, it was natural for me to offer a comment on someone's blog recently that questioned the assertion that all we need to understand God's teaching on something is to get alone with our Bibles, rejecting the help that other books or people might offer us. In response, someone quoted John 14 v.26:
But when the Father sends the Counselor as my representative--and by the Counselor I mean the Holy Spirit--he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I myself have told you.There are a few reasons why this passage cannot be taken as a denial of the need for congregational hermeneutics. Firstly, the 'you' (υμιν) is plural. That's reason enough isn't it? Secondly, it's possible to argue that this is a specific promise to those Jesus was speaking to at the time. After all, the words 'will remind you of everything I myself have told you' seem directly applicable to them in a way that they are not to us. Thirdly, the same Jesus who said this is the same Jesus who 'gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.' Jesus seems to sense no contradiction between saying that the Spirit will teach us and calling other people to teach us. Perhaps he was an anabaptist and happy to confirm that the way God teaches us is through other people as we together delve into the scriptures as we follow Christ!? ;-) The simple fact is that if we want to grow in God we are going to have to reach the point where - like children - we are able to depend on others.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Trinitarian theology is at the heart of the Christian faith. It is a mystery and incomprehensible, but, at least to me, that's part of it's beauty. God exists as three in one, one in three. I don't think that you can mess with the Godhead. If you mess with just one member of the Trinity, the whole thing falls apart... The early Church was really wrestling with the issue of how to define Orthodoxy and how to understand the revelation of God that they had in Christ, scriptures and the Church. They realized that if you mess with the incarnation, you're messing with the whole of the Godhead. That's why adoptionism, docetism, etc. were all condemned. ...Is there any ground on which to say today that if you're not a Trinitarian, you're not a Christian? Is that of value?Well, I'm not really sure what he means by "Christian" - or how important that is - so I by-passed that part of the question. My answer, in essence was that some of the non-Trinitarians I know are also amongst the best disciples I have ever met. I think that the trinity is the heart of Christian doctrine. It is the most precious truth I know of. And it impacts and shapes so many others. It is also, obviously, the most difficult to grasp. However, we have to stop and ask exactly what we mean by 'the doctrine of the trinity.' Do we really think that the Creeds nailed this down perfectly? Is it not possible that they simply came up with the most appropriate language to symbolise God's being for the Church at that time? Is it possible for us - without necessarilly denying what the Creeds say - to come of with something more appropriate for post-Christendom disciples of Christ? (And, if possible, is it not necessary?) I guess the question is, does discipleship require us to be Trinitarians, in the way prescribed by the Creeds? Might we not be better served by other models of Christ and his relationship to The Divine? Does it really affect my following of Christ if I don't fully or clearly graps the exact nature of his divine ontology and how that relates to his human nature and how it functions within God? As a separate thought, that I'll expand on some other time, does God even need us to be Thiests?!
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
The United Pentecostal Church International has mission programs to reach many ethnic groups — Chinese, Ethiopians, French, Native Americans, even Gypsies. The list looks typical, with one exception — Old Order Amish and conservative Mennonites. UPCI’s Multicultural Ministries program targets them so they may know “the only true God” and “become part of the family of God,” according to its Web site. "We’re not trying to come out and break up the Amish and Mennonite churches," said Stephen Yoder, coordinator of the UPCI’s Amish/Mennonite Evangelism Ministry. "We just want to say there is much more."Well, of course there's bloody more! There's more than speaking in tongues, as well! Donald Kraybill, a Pasadena College professor who has researched and written extensively about Old Order Mennonite and Amish groups, writes:
"Evangelical assumptions are based on individualism such as personal salvation and emotional experiences", he said, "compared with plain people’s more collective, more communal understanding of salvation. "The Old Order groups are very loathe to say they are saved because they feel that is arrogant and haughty and cocky. . . . Who knows more than God?" Kraybill said. "Instead, they speak of a 'living hope' of salvation if they are faithful."What's the real reason these groups are being targeted? They are different and they stick out like a sore thumb., They are clearly freaks, marching to the beat of a different drum, and anyone who doesn't live like us provokes our suspicion. Plus: the misguided evangelists failed to take the opportunity to listen and learn from those who spoke a different (theological) language. This whole thing just reeks of the educated white man liberating the ignorant natives.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Technorati Tags: Anabaptist History, Martyrs+Mirror, Reformation+Day, All+Saints+Day, Persecution