Monthly Archives: June 2009

Jesus Savior. Obama Hope… Knockoff

jesus savior12

jesus saviorjesus savior 2

I was messing around this afternoon and I ending up making this picture, stealing from the Obama-Hope ads.

Enjoy

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Love & Faith

Faith is the organ of knowledge, and love an organ of experience. God came to us in the incarnation; in the atonement He reconciled us to himself, and by faith and love we enter and lay hold on Him.

A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

love faith

Love is not a static word, it is a verb and so by definition expresses action. The action love expresses is displayed through selflessness, & service. Jesus said that our love for God would be seen in our love for the least of these. (I have already written much on this point.)

Faith, likewise, is also a action word. However Faith is either continual tense, or past tense. You either had faith, or you continue to still have faith. We best understand faith by the words we use to substitute it with like trust, and belief. I trust in God, I believe in God, I have faith in God.  Yet, we use the word belief or believe to talk about faith a problem arises. Because when when many of us talk about belief or believing in something we can do  it without effecting our present reality. Belief has become nothing more than a statement or agreement. A common point to gather, but leave separate when its over. Trust on the other hand is a good substitute. Because when we trust we are moved to a place of reliance, beyond mere belief. Yes we believe in God, but we also trust in God. As Tozer wrote, Faith is that organ of knowledge, but it does not stop there, it moves past belief to trust and in trust we are required to act. If your faith is alive and well it will be displayed through your life and deeds. You faith is in a state of continual use, or it is in past tense…dead.

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Letting Go & Letting God be God.

the image of God

“We want a God we can in some measure control. We need the feeling of security that comes from knowing what God is like, and what He is like is of course a composite of all the religious pictures we have seen, all the best people we have known or heard about, and all the sublime ideas we have entertained.”

-A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy.

What a sad commentary on humanity. How short even our thoughts are from God. God in the mind of many, as Tozer said, is a collage of religious images; skinny unscathed Jesus on the Cross; gentle Jesus snuggle close to lambs; God stretching out his finger to Adam but not quite touching. Experiences and people we know taint the image of God. We see God like we see our Father, or Mother, Pastor, or influencing figures. However, the worst seems to be Tozer’s last assertion that becomes a culmination of all the sublime ideas we have entertained. This is as if to say, God is a great as we can imagine. How tragic! A God whose glory and majesty power and grandeur can be housed in the mind of a man. God is none of these things. God is Holy other. He is separate and far from the thoughts of man. He is bigger than we can imagine and more intimate than we grasp. He is more than our sublime ideas, and possible less.

God is love, but not as man imagines love. Because for God love is who he is, not what he does or how he acts. God does not love like man loves. Every action God does is love. For man it is hard to except judgment and discipline as love. But for God all of these actions are seen as the same, they are simply God in action. God’s actions cannot be classified as love or wrath, judgment, or grace. All of these action spill from the same well, the spirit of God, who is love.

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Right Doctrine Right Lives

right doctrine right life

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
The History of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.”

“ The most portentous facts about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he is his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul move toward our mental image of God.”

“Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, ‘what comes into your mind when you think about God?’ we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. Were we able to know exactly what our influential religious leaders think today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow.”
-A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy.

This could not be truer. The theologies that emerged from the previous generation are shaping the face of the Church today. And the theologies that are being forged today will play out tomorrow.  This is why Doctrine and theology are so important.  The study and pursuit of theology are not just academic efforts, but should be the efforts of all people. Our understanding of God shapes how we live our lives. Either man mimics the true God, or man makes a God who will mimic him. But in the end all men have a God in whom they follow. Even the atheists have a god, that god is self.
As believers in Christ we must aspire to know God, and let him know us; to search him, and let him search us; to love him, and let him love us.  It is only first, with a proper understanding of God, that we have any hope to mature into his image, which is the pursuit of every Christian.

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A Non-Violent Response to Violence.

violence is morally imposible
The question always arises when my pacifist theology is exposed in front of others is, “what would you do if a man was attacking your wife, or a child?” Would you attack the man? How could you not act violently to them?”
To these questions I will refer heavily upon Leo Tolstoy words from the book, What Would You Do?

“There are actions which are morally impossible, just as other are physically impossible. As a man cannot lift a mountain, and a kindly man cannot kill an infant, so a man living the Christian life cannot take part in deeds of violence.”
However, this is a statement many have a hard time agreeing with when the question arises about defending a child from a madman, or a woman from an attacker.
“It is generally assumed that the only possible reply is that one should kill the assailant to save the child [or the woman]. But this answer is given so quickly and decided only because we are all so accustomed to the use of violence—not only to save the child, but even to prevent a neighboring government altering its frontier at the expense of ours…”
“If the man be a Christian and consequently acknowledges God and sees the meaning of life in fulfilling his will, then however ferocious the assailant, however innocent and lovely the child, he has even less ground to abandon the God-given law and to do to the criminal as the criminal wishes to do to the child. He may plead with the assailant, may interpose his own body between the assailant and the victim; but there is one thing he cannot do—he cannot deliberately abandon the law he has received from God, the fulfillment of which alone gives meaning to life.”
Furthermore Tolstoy inquires into how someone can judge who needs to be saved. For he argues that no man can see into the future to see what either of the two people will become.  Moreover, what if one or both of them are not Christians? That means by ending their life you vanquish all possibilities for them to come to the saving knowledge of Christ.
“There is no moral law concerning which one might not devise a case in which it is difficult to decide which is more moral, to disobey the law or to obey it? But all such devises fail to prove that the laws, ‘Thou shall not lie, steal or kill,’ are invalid.”
“Excuses can be made for every use of violence, and no infallible standard has ever been discovered by which to measure the worth of these excuses. Therefore Christ taught us to disbelieve in any excuse for violence and never to use violence.”

Two wrongs do not make a right. And as Christians we have to believe that evil can be overcome with good. If we fail to believe this we have not only abound our Christian morals but our savior as well, who laid down his life, so that we may inherit life.

I don’t suppose that this is easy to live nonviolently in the face of such evil. However, what is easy and what is right don’t always go hand in hand.

Violence only begets violence. Violence will never lead to free peace.  In a totalitarian state violence may help to keep its subjects under submission and fear, but in the absences of that power violence will flood forth and all former peace will be lost. Peaceful non-violent action is the only way to sustain peaceful nonviolent action. We have to believe in the power of Christ love, but not only believe but also live it out. Then and only then will lasting peace be possible.

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The Power of Nonviolence

micah 4 3 color2

He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

Micah 4:3

I have not written much about nonviolence on this blog. It is a position I have acquired after much theological, moral, ethical questioning a few years back. However, Recently I have been thinking about it again, and taking about it with others. So this is an overflow of some of those thoughts and conversations.

A nonviolent response that allows for possibility for self-sacrifice robs violent offenders of their power. The kingdom of this world’s greatest threat and manipulation of power is the illusion that they can take your life or make it miserable. However, in truth God is the giver and taker of life. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).  Furthermore, as believers we have a greater hope, a hope of resurrection. As Paul understood he said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”(Philippians 1:21). Believers do not have to fight to save this life, nor should they.  To us, this life becomes in a sense worthless as a bargaining chip. We should enter into nonviolent action ready to sacrifice our life if needed to, and in doing so we remove from the enemy their greatest power over us. In nonviolent humble self-sacrificing love believers conquer and stand victorious over the enemy. When we do not respond with violence to violence we rise above our enemies, and when we do not allow their threats to move us from this position we walk in the likeness of our lord Jesus Christ.

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