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Showing posts from April, 2017

Welcome to the new Age of Revolution: No, it isn’t over yet, and we have no idea where it’s going

Andrew O'Hehir
Saturday, Apr 29, 2017 03:00 PM CDT
Many years ago when I was in college, I played the role of Coulmier in a production of Peter Weiss’ ground-breaking play “Marat/Sade.” It was the apex of my brief acting career, during which I always wanted to play the romantic lead and invariably wound up cast as a pompous authority figure: Egeus, Hermia’s windbag father, in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; a high school principal in a 1950s farce called “Our Miss Brooks.”
Coulmier is the director of the asylum at Charenton, where the inmates — under the direction of the Marquis de Sade — are performing a play about the French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat, who was murdered in his bath by a woman named Charlotte Corday. (Yes, it’s a play within a play: Avant-garde theater!) One of the play’s conceits is that Coulmier sits in the audience, which supposedly consists of Parisian aristocrats visiting for the day to witness the freak show. Occasionally he interrupts the action, seeki…

Resisting Trump with Revelation (26)

Revelation 14-15 (2)
In one of the famous Peanuts comic strips Charlie Brown and his sister Sallie are talking about the Bible verse they needed to memorize for Sunday school. “Maybe it was something Moses said,” mused Sallie, “or something from the book of Re-evaluation.”[1] Actually, that’s a pretty good name for Revelation. That’s it’s primary goal – to get us to re-evaluate everything in the light of Jesus Christ! Richard Bauckham puts it well:
“We have already noticed the unusual profusion of visual imagery in Revelation and its capacity to create a symbolic world which its readers can enter and thereby have their perception of the world in which they lived transformed. To appreciate the importance of this we should remember that Revelation's readers in the great cities of the province of Asia were constantly confronted with powerful images of the Rom-an vision of the world. Civic and religious architecture, iconography, statues, rituals and festivals, even the visual wonder of…

Resisting Trump with Revelation (25)

The Lamb confronts the beasts (Rev.14-15)
John has seen two dreadful Beasts who embody the power and practice of the Dragon (ch.13). Between them they rule the earth, the bodies, minds, and hearts of its inhabitants. Well, not quite all. There are still those pesky “seven” churches (ch.2-3). Some of them are under attack because they have been faithful to Jesus the Lamb and have refused to play by the Beasts’ rules. The others have in some measure or other have given up, given in, or given out and adopted or adapted Beastly mindsets and ways. It is these churches (all of us), both kinds, that Jesus speaks to in his sermon with increasing urgency as we move toward its climax.
Jesus labors in this sermon to call his churches to what Walter Brueggemann has aptly called “disciplines of readiness.”[1] These are tools for resistance to Empire and Jesus calls his people to embrace them in the struggle.
·DANGEROUS MEMORIES reaching back to Abraham and Sarah. Israel was tempted to substitute more…

Who is being transformed into the image of Christ? Not me

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Wed, 01/03/2017 - 11:48 | Andrew Perriman
I’ve just got back from a missions conference at which the idea that believers in general and “missionaries” in particular are being—or should be—transformed into the “image of Christ” got a lot of airtime.

I can see what people are getting at. The assumption is that Jesus represents either an ideal way of being human or an ideal way of doing ministry. He’s Jesus, after all! Therefore, to grow towards spiritual maturity is to be conformed to his image.



It’s a central plank of evangelical piety. Tim Challies quotes Jerry Bridges: “Christlikeness is God’s goal for all who trust in Christ, and that should be our goal also.”

It is used with reference to character: Jesus sets the standard for holiness, love, justice, faithfulness, etc. But it was also suggested at the conference that Jesus perfectly embodies the APEST functions of Ephesians 4:11 in himself, therefore he constitutes the standard for the ministries of the church.
I think that the ar…

The ‘Benedict Option’ is not enough

April 26, 2017

Camosy: Do you agree with Dreher’s diagnosis?
Michael Baxter: Yes and no.
Yes, I agree that mainstream U.S. culture is largely un-Christian, and that the government imposes secular values and mentality on supposedly independent bodies, including churches.
But no, I don’t agree that this all came to a head in 2013 with the Indiana religious freedom statue being rescinded and then the Supreme Court decision affirming the right for gays to marry. Dreher sees 2013 and gay marriage as the point of no return. I don’t see it that way.
How do you see it?
Christians should be as troubled, indeed more troubled, by war, poverty, racism in the United States than Dreher seems to be.  Writing as a “conservative Christian,” as a “values voter,” as he calls himself at one point, Dreher’s timeline and plotline are warped accordingly.
He refers to the 1960s as a time of consensus, except civil rights, as if the Vietnam War ever happened or wasn’t a concern for Christians. He mentions the Reaga…

Resisting Trump with Revelation (24)

More Ways the Beast Seduces us
Dr. Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, lays out four ways in which the Babylonian empire sought to bring the Jewish exiles in line with their pagan ways. These strategies show us how the world, in every era, can pressure Christians to conform.[1] #1. Isolation Akin writes: “The first step in making Babylonians out of the four Hebrew teenagers was isolation from their homeland, family, and friends. The Babylonian strategy was to seize upon their vulnerability once they were separated from all that was familiar. Over time, they would be more likely to abandon their faith and become like the Babylonians.” Being in exile doesn’t harm the Christian. Not being with God’s people does. Isolation from other believers and immersion into a world of false assumptions make it difficult to maintain your Christian convictions. #2. Indoctrination Akin writes: “The second step was to take these sharp and impressive young men and enroll them in an educational school …

Resisting Trump with Revelation (23)

Stringfellow on the Powers

We have reached a point in our exposition where Jesus in his sermon has identified for us the fundamental source of our distress and opposition: supra-human spiritual forces (Satan, fallen angels, the two beasts). In Paul’s language he speaks of some of these forces as “principalities and powers” (Eph.6:12). William Stringfellow offers a perceptive account of the various strategies they use to repress humanity and sustain their own existence. It is especially remarkable that he wrote this over 40 years yet it reads as contemporary as today’s newspaper! His insights put some flesh on the struggle we face to resist the Trump phenomenon in our time and place.
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The Powers main goal is to sustain themselves (survival). And yet, that brute fact is rarely discussed candidly and in the open. Still, the state functions as the preeminent principality and power.
1.The Denial of Truth/lying
2.Doublespeak and Overtalk/euphemism or jargon
3.Se…

Resisting Trump with Revelation (22)

the second beast (13:11-18) The Beast from the Earth (13:11-18) A second beast, one from the earth, joins the beast from the sea. It has two horns “like a lamb.” (3:11). Remembering that a lamb is the central figure in God's plan to bring his purposes to fruition, the Dragon counters with a lamb-like beast. As the slaughtered lamb bears witness to the One on the throne, this lamb-like beast bears “witness” to the sea beast. The one who, like some Roman emperors, claimed to be “Lord and God.”[1] That this beastly “witness” has two lamblike horns reminds us of the two witnesses for God in ch.11. If the first beast is political power, this new beast is power of religion which so often serves to buttress the power and policies of the state. That's why it speaks “like a dragon.” By supporting the first beast, this second beast , like the first, ultimately serves the defeated but not yet destroyed Dragon in its futile efforts to undo God's plans. Working with the first beast's …

Resisting Trump with Revelation (21)

The Dragon and Two Beasts: The First Two Portents2(chs.12-13)
The Sea Beast (13:1-10)
Jesus continues his exposure of the deep dynamics at work in creation as the Dragon plants himself on the shore to continue his nefarious activities.[1] He summons a minion from the sea, a beast with “ten horns and seven heads” diadems on each horns and blasphemous names on the heads (13:1). He comes from the “sea” a haunt of demons and evil in Jewish thought. When Jesus describes the new heaven and new earth in Rev.21 he explicitly mentions that there was no sea (21:1). Evil has no foothold in the new creation!
But here and now it does. The ten and seven horns and heads bedecked with crowns reflects earlier use of this imagery: ten horns – full and complete power; seven heads filled with blasphemy. It was leopard-like, with bear-like feet, and a lion’s mouth (13:2). These animal elements were a part of Daniel’s vision of successive empires (7:3-7). Jesus’ creates this montage of oppressive powers to sh…

Holy Saturday 2017

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Entry into the CityJohn August Swanson Holy Saturday is the end. Jesus is dead. His disciples are scattered and disheartened. Where was God? If he couldn’t/wouldn’t be there for this man, what hope I there for the rest of us? This really is the end. All that’s left now is the Emmaus Road of discouragement and despair. What else is left when God doesn’t even show up for his own Son? Why did Jesus have to go through this? I mean, he did everything right. This is not a God who can be trusted! One who’d leave his beloved hanging on a cross, dying, aid to rest in a borrowed tomb without a sign of protest or resistance. Yet that’s where we are this Holy Saturday. I did read something recently which give a different take on this. But it’s far-fetched and implausible. I’m probably just grasping at straws here. But I’ll share it with you anyway. It’s from a series of letters from a senior Tempter in Hell to a junior devil he’s mentoring in the art of spiritual seduction. Screwtape and Wormwood ar…

Worth a Thought or Heresy?

What if the reading of the creation stories in Gen.1-2 offered by Greg Beale that the Garden of Eden, Eden itself, and the uninhabited lands outside Eden symbolize the temple (Garden=Holy of Holies, Eden=Holy Place, uninhabited lands=temple courtyard) and God’s aim is for his image-bearers to extend the boundaries of that Garden Holy of Holies to finally encompass the whole earth making it a place where God can dwell with his people forever is on target. That makes Gen.1:28 the original “Great Commission.”
If God’s aim is as just stated then his mandate to turn this planet into a Holy of Holies is what human rebellion disrupted and what God’s call to Abraham and Sarah restarted by dealing with sin in order to fulfill God’s creational design.
This means that God’s Tempe-building project is his primary concern and focus. That’s what he’s working on and what calls his followers to work on. This is the “it” the whole God-thing is about (or what we call “salvation”).
And this salvation takes …