Masses of people going to and fro, like waves on the shore. Coming and going with the tide of societies expectation. Crashing and eroding ones sanity with the ethic of greed and consumption. The weight of the grains of more, add to the dunes of the never stable hills, on which one slides and digs into as they climb with hope of success….
I posted that as my status this morning, as I have done after moments of tragedy. I believe that the Church must speak to these situations, but some would quote Jeremiah 6:14:
“They have ahealed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. (Jer 6:14 NAU)
I believe that Christ gave us Peace:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. bDo not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (Joh 14:27 NAU)
Further, I believe we should be peacemakers:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for athey shall be called sons of God. (Mat 5:9 NAU)
And, if nothing else, we can speak silence, peace, to the storms:
And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and arebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and 1it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you 1afraid? aDo you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mar 4:37-41 NAU)
I think that in this moment, when the word ‘Christian’ is bandied about like a plague, the Church must, in the highest ecclesiology possible, be the Church and speak Peace. Bishop William writes,
The only way for the world to know that it is being redeem is for the church to point to the Redeemer by being a redeemed people. (Resident Aliens, 94, with Stanley Hauerwas)
So again, I believe that the Church should speak to the situation and in such a way (either through words, or actions) as to bring peace, silence, to the situation. For centuries, we’ve done the opposite. Time to do what the bible says now.
While we are on the topic of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, I wanted to point out Mark Tooley’s case against pacifism in favor of Christian Imperial Crusading Just War theory.
Of all of the modern Christian pacifist thinkers, Tooley decided to take on Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School.
One comment from that article is hilarious:
“Along with Hauerwas and many others, Yoder looked to Barth, under whom he studied at the University of Basel, in Switzerland. Such admirers discern in the Swiss theologian, sometimes unfairly, a hostility to force, even by legitimate state authority.”
Why is it hilarious, you ask? As a Yoder fan, it would be suffice to say that Yoder, while a student of Karl Barth, actually revolted theologically against Barth, especially when it came to War and Pneumatology (theology of the Holy Spirit)[the latter is my argument alone, still working it out]. But when it came to war, while Yoder was doing his dissertation, he managed to write a 100 page or so paper against Barth’s Just War Theorizing.
Anyhow, my criticism of the aforementioned post by Tooley is as follows, and it has to do with being faithful to the Gospel, even if it means sometimes being over and against “the State” since our loyalty should be to Jesus first and foremost:
“The problem with organizations like the Institute for Religious Democracy really begins with the name of the aforementioned organization. The notion that there can be a “Religious Democracy” comes from a group of people who would prefer to be relevant to society rather than faithful to the gospel. Christians, however, live under a monarchy, the kingship of Christ and not any democracy. Christian pacifists like Yoder and Hauerwas as mentioned in the article are popular in seminary circles; but their message is not heeded because what they are calling for is faithfulness to Christ first and foremost, and that is not happening in the Church. Hauerwas is despised at Brite, believe it or not. It is a liberal idea that Christians should conform their ideas to the world, take the gay marriage and abortion issue. Liberal Christians want churches to accept gay ordination and marriage, so they are more likely to mix Christian ideas with the latest science or gay rights political slogan. In the same way, conservatives mix Christianity with American ideas of patriotism and masculinity to promote a crusader war mentality that is anything but the original just war theory of Augustine. Augustine was originally deemed heretic because of his doctrines of Just War. Christian pacifism was once the original orthodox Christian stance. Now, the orthodox claim that Just war is the orthodox stance, when in reality, it never has been and never will be. For the meek shall inherit the earth.”
Once again, we see that some Christians have a need to reconcile the ideals of democracy and republican forms of government with the Gospel, when in reality, there are some things that our political system cannot achieve because it is not divine, bottom line. That is the heart of Hauerwas’s message. An amatuer reading of Hauerwas’s texts would understand that.
Again, thanks for playing, IRD. Thanks for playing.
Much of the contents of this post are taken from my original post at Political Jesus
Why? The church has become so enculturated that it is encouraging its members to worship the American flag. That was my experience today. We can celebrate those who “died for” our country, but not in Christ as saints (All Saints Day)?
I am increasingly observing the lack of contentment within Christian circles. There is striving to do better. Striving for more of this and more of that. A yearning for more money, a bigger and better paying job so that we can own a bigger and better house. Then there is the strivings to build a bigger church. Strivings for a bigger congregation, a bigger ministry, bigger calling and even perhaps better grades and education.
These things in and of themselves are not necessarily bad. It can be good to earn more money. I look forward to that day myself. Currently I receive about $60 a fortnight through a study allowance as I am on a disability pension. My wife earns a reasonable income and so my pension is cut to virtually zero.
Yet; I have also learnt to be content with what I have. I have learnt to live within the boundaries of what is given me. And through contentment; I have great peace. I have peace that I am doing what God wants me to do. I have peace that God knows what he is doing and will do in my life.
I will admit that this hasn’t always been the case. In 2007 when I found myself in hospital for 2 months and in the following years I was in a place of great turmoil. There was no real peace. I had no real contentment. I was filled with confusion. I was filled with a yearning for why. I was filled with physical, emotional and spiritual pain. I also have to admit that even before this event, I didn’t really have nor experience much peace.
Scripture tells us to be content with what we have in the present! Don’t be discontented with what you don’t have. This can be hard to practice when you have bills to pay; mouths to feed and places to go….and we are filled with anxiety and fear about what will we do….and we find ourselves lacking peace.
Contentedness doesn’t mean we have to stay in the same situation we are in. It doesn’t mean being passive. By all means work hard. Study hard. Pray hard. Improve yourself. In doing so we are faced with a choice of either being impatient, fearful, worried, stressed and over worked…or we can do those things in a state of contentment; knowing that we are doing our best and that God is doing his best and through contentment…peace will be our reward.