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For Christians, interpreting Scripture is a difficult task...because it is, and involves, a life long process of learning to become a wise reader of Scripture capable of embodying that reading in life.
Stephen Fowl and Gregory Jones, Reading in Communion, p. 29
Johann Winer, whose grammar first appeared in 1824...introduced a revolution into the study of the Greek New Testament by adopting and substantiating the premise that Biblical Greek, and particularly that of the New Testament, was not a special 'Holy Ghost' language, nor a conglomerate of Greek words and Semitic grammar, but the ordinary colloquial tongue of the day, spoken through the Graeco-Roman world.
Dana and Mantey, Manual Grammar of the Greek NT (vii-ix)
All written language calls for retransformation into its spoken form; it calls for its lost power.
Richard Palmer, Hermeneutics, p. 15
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
Thorin Oakenshield, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, p. 301
Prayer needs to carry with it the commitment of our whole being to bring about the just conditions that make prayer possible...
Don Postema, Space for God, p. 158-59
“Bad news goes about in clogs, good news in stockinged feet.”
Welsh Proverb, quoted by Rich Stearns 'The Hole in Our Gospel'
It is necessary to be disengaged from all we feel and do in order to walk with God in the duty of the present moment.
Jean-Pierre De Caussade, The Sacrament of the Present Moment, p. 15
In the New Testament the opposite of spirit is not the material, but the impersonal.
John Leith, Basic Christian Doctrine, p. 162
Bach's music is much more valuable proof of the existence of God than any of the theological proofs.
Vladimir Fetsmin, Russian Pianist, Newsweek, Aug. 1, 1994
St. Francis of Assisi's religion was 'not a thing like a theory but a thing like a love affair.'
G.K. Chesterton
A man's true glory consists in gentleness, humility, and unfeigned charity.
John Chrysostom, from Golden Mouth, p.97
“Bad news goes about in clogs, good news in stockinged feet.”
Welsh Proverb, quoted by Rich Stearns 'The Hole in Our Gospel'
We moderns are accustomed to finding God in peace and beauty and silence. The Old Testament most often knows him present behind the violence and flow and clatter of everyday life.
Paul and Elizabeth Achtemeier, The OT Roots of Our Faith
The church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning.
Emil Brunner
In preaching the gospel, it is our business to show, in so far as our knowledge and experience equip us to do so, how the Christian story enables us to understand and deal with the whole range of human experience in both public and private life.
Lesslie Newbigin, Proper Confidence, p. 96

Asking the Right Question

07th November 2011

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

 

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

Ephesians 2:14-16

 

If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers.  Edward Hodnett  (American poet 1841-1920)

 

 

 

“What is your church’s policy on gays and lesbians?”

 

I have been asked that question a number of times.  The direct answer to this question is,  “We don’t have policies on certain demographic groups in our community.  We exist for people who are seeking a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  All are welcome to join our community and to be transformed by the love of Christ.”

 

But this answer does not satisfy.  The problem is that the question being asked by our society is not a question that the church can answer.  This is because the church is asking a different question.

 

Christians believe that Christ came to destroy the divisions society constructs between human beings (Galatians quote above).  We believe that God’s purpose through Christ s to create one new humanity in Christ (Ephesians 2, above).  This means that we don’t buy into the divisions of our culture.  It means that we are challenged to understand ourselves and each other in a new way.  We are a people whose sense of self is being redefined as our relationship with God through Christ becomes more and more central to our existence.

 

This is particularly challenging for us to embody given our society’s project.  We can agree on one thing.  There has been a division in our society between heterosexuals and homosexuals which harms many and has justified violence against the marginalized.  Sadly, Christians have been a part of the problem.  We need to repent and stand against this division.  But many of those who have worked for gay rights have also sought to develop sexuality as an identity; as an immutable part of who we are as human beings.  We are either homosexual or heterosexual or something inbetween.  This does not solve the problem of division and injustice in our society.  It simply moves the walls of division from one place to another.  It merely shifts the power to dictate what is right and wrong from one group to another.

 

The church is called to be radical.  To be truly radical is to change the question which is the root of the problem.  We cannot choose one of the two pre-made answers that our society allows us.  We cannot choose to be liberal or conservative and thus define ourselves over/against the other option.  This simply layers division upon division. The past division which caused the injustices toward homosexuals are only shifting to a new power group.  It is now the “tolerant” (meaning those who ascribe to particular “doctrines” and “dogmas) who are increasing in power while the “intolerant” (meaning those who used to have power to define right and wrong but who continue to give validity to views contrary to the “tolerant”) receive increasing ridicule.  The scarlet “A” became the scarlet “H” has now become a scarlet “I”.  As Christians we must stand against the very idea of division among human beings.  We must ask a different question.

 

How do we create a new community without division?  How do we create a community of service and love which heals those wounded by the divisions of our society?  This is the right question.  This is the question we should always keep before us.  This is the question that will lead us to the right answer.

We exist to create a community of faith who welcomes anyone who truly seeks a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  This community is committed to radically transforming their identity in such a way that we no longer support the ideological divisions of our culture, speaking instead to the transcendent reality of the new humanity formed in Christ.  As such, the question we are asking is:

 

 

“How do we create one new humanity in Christ?”

 



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