What does this mean for bloggers, especially those of us who type so much about faith?
A certain brother came, once, to Abbot Theodore of Pherme, and spent three days begging him to let him hear a word. The Abbot however did not answer him, and he went off sad. So a disciple said to Abbot Theodore: Father, why did you not speak to him? Now he has gone off sad! The elder replied: Believe me, I spoke no word to him because he is a trader in words, and seeks to glory in the words of another.
From The Wisdom of the Desert, Thomas Merton ed.
Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and if we are fortunate, with ourselves.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
This passage, pointed out by a trusted mentor, has been important for me this week. Sometimes we just need to get over ourselves. I’m not perfect… so sue me.
“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”
HT: Garrison Keillor
I’ve had Methodist pastor Will Willimon’s blog in my Google Reader since last May when a colleague talked a lot about him at a retreat. Here’s a recent gem:
More than likely, Advent eschatology offends us for more mundane reasons. I am at church seeking personal advice for how to have a happy marriage or how to get along with the boss next week, only to have Advent wrench my gaze in our subjectivity in its insistence that whatever God is about in the Advent of Jesus, it is something quite large, quite cosmic, quite strange and humanly unmanageable, something more significant than me. I am not the master of history.
So let us begin with the honest admission that our real problem with these Advent/Christmas texts is largely political and economic. Tell me, “This world is ending. God has little vested interest in the present order,” I shall hear it as bad news.
However, for a mother in a barrio in Mexico City who has lost four of her six children to starvation, to hear, “This present world is not what God had in mind. God is not finished, indeed is now moving, to break down and to rebuild in Jesus,” I presume that would sound something like gospel. For her the Advent/Christmas message presages a revolutionary conflagration.
A great deal depends, in regard to our receptivity to these texts, on where we happen to be standing at the time when we get the news, “God is coming.”
It’s Advent. Let the revolution begin.
From his most recent blog post.
To paraphrase Rob Bell:
Repentance is the celebration of what God has already done, and then living differently because of it.
-from Bell’s The Gods Aren’t Angry Tour
So much to digest! More to come soon…
It was good. I didn’t catch as many profound nuggets as when reading Velvet Elvis or watching selected NOOMAs, but Rob’s presentation was definitely engaging and worth the trip!
- If you want God’s blessing on your life, then you have to get with God’s agenda. 1st line of PDL: “It’s not about you.”
- Stop praying “God, bless me.” Instead: “God, help me to do what you’re doing.”
- The Kingdom is the single biggest image in the New Testament.
- Where is it? Wherever Jesus is king… Heaven, earth, within you…
- What is it? God’s people fulfilling God’s purposes on God’s planet for God’s glory
- Cf. Matthew 25: If you want Christ to come back just get out and start sharing your faith
- The disciples always wanted to talk about prophecy and signs; Jesus wanted to talk about evangelism.
- God’s agenda is the church.
- What if someone said, “I like you but I just can’t stand your wife (or body)?”
- God created the entire universe just so He could create a galaxy just so He could create a solar system just so He could create a planet just so He could create an ecosystem… just so He could create a human that would choose to love Him and He could love the human back.
- Your parents may not have loved/wanted you, but God did, and he made sure you had the ability to love them back, and in turn love Him.
- God is a creator. You are most like God when you are creating. So stop trying to change culture. Create it.
- The Moses “Staff to Snake to Staff” story
- Why is that in the Bible?
- Hint- When God asks you a question, it’s not for His benefit.
- Likewise, when God does a miracle, it’s to teach a truth.
- Moses’ Staff
- His identification as a shepherd. Who he was
- Symbol of Moses’ income. What he had
- Symbol of Moses’ influence (over sheep :P). What he did
- Take your ID/influence/income and throw it down.
- God: “And if you surrender it to me I will make it come alive like you’ve never imagined. And every time you pick it up again, it’ll go dead.”
- From that point forward, Moses’ staff is always referred to as the Rod of God… it pops up in the 10 Commandments, the Red Sea, Pharaoh, simply all over the Pentateuch
- So: What’s in your
Warren’s Response to the Moses’ Staff Story
- After writing Purpose Driven Life, an AIDS trip where he accompanied his wife really turned him around.
- “What’s in my hand?” – Affluence
- I Corinthians 9 – “It’s ok to get paid for preaching, but I wanna do it for free so no one can doubt my motives.”
- Not gonna spend the money on myself
- Not gonna take a salary from the church
- Gonna give salary back for 25 years
- Gonna set up AIDS and poverty charities
- Gonna become reverse tithers (give 90%, live on 10%)
- “There’s a bumper sticker that says ‘Honk if you love Jesus!’ Well I wanna make one that says ‘Tithe if you love Jesus, any fool can honk!'”
- “What’s in my hand?” – Influence
- Psalm 72 – “Solomon’s prayer for more influence. It sounds more selfish than good ol’ Jabez! Solomon was already the wealthiest, wisest man on the planet.”
- But it’s only selfish until you read the purpose: “So that the king may help the orphaned and marginalized…”
- “I want to use my power for these people to speak up for those who have no influence.”
Posted in Culture, Kingdom on Earth, Ministry, Quotable, Theology
Tagged , Affluence, AIDS, Catalyst 2007, Catalyst Conference, Creation Theology, God's Agenda, Humanitarian Work, Influence, Kingdom of Heaven, Moses, Rick Warren, Solomon, Surrender