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There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.
Proverbs 13:7
'The writer must face the fact that ordinary lives are what most people live most of the time, and that the novel as a narration of the fantastic and the adventurous is really an escapist plot; that aesthetically the ordinary, the banal, is what you must deal with.'

John Updike BBC.com, January 27, 2009
St. Francis of Assisi's religion was 'not a thing like a theory but a thing like a love affair.'
G.K. Chesterton
Prayer is not just one of the many things people do in life, but rather 'the basic receptive attitude out of which all of life can receive new vitality.'
Dan Postema, Space for God, p. 92
...all reasoning takes place within the context of some traditional mode of thought.
Alisdair MacIntyre, After Virture, p. 222
In the absence of a deep inner life a priest will turn into an office clerk, and his apostolate will turn into a parish office routine, just solving daily problems.
Pope John Paul II quoted Great Souls, p.285
'Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.'
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
When men and women identify what are in fact their partial and particular causes too easily and too completely with the cause of some universal principle, they usually behave worse than they would otherwise do.
Alisdair MacIntyre, After Virture, p. 221
Theology can be a coat of mail which crushes us and in which we freeze to death. It can also be-this is in fact its purpose!-the conscience of the congregation of Christ, its compass and with it all a praise-song of ideas. Which of the two it is depends upon the degree in which listening and praying Christians stand behind the theological business.
Helmut Thielicke, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, p. 36
'Be careful of words,' Wiesel quotes a learned Rabbi as saying. 'They're dangerous. Be wary of them. They beget either demons or angels. It's up to you to give life to one or the other.'
Great Souls, p. 365
What narrowness of spiritual life we find in Frazer! And as a result: how impossible for him to understand a different way of life from the English one of his time!
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough, p. 5e
The church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning.
Emil Brunner
True love does not result in obsession or possession, but in submission.
MOI
Whoever questions and even challenges God all the while desiring to obey His Word and listening to His silence, that person is a theologian.
Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Great Souls, p. 356
“The verbal explanation, as it takes us from one verbal expression to another, in a sense gets us no further.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Blue Book, p1

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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