Archive for April, 2012

“Jesus is Lord” was proclaimed by the early church as their most concise creedal statement. No one ever told me this was a political and subversive statement, until I studied the Scriptures. (more…)

Advertisements

Someone said…

Posted: 29 April, 2012 in My stuff

After years of pondering what authentic faith-in-community might look like in post-modern Australia, I had come to the conclusion that (more…)

This week I was planning, and had prepared, to speak about those who hunger and thirst for righteousness being blessed.  We just didn’t get there.  The previous week I had spoken on what I had prepared for everyone to do as ‘homework’ and given a bunch or passages that I had prepared to speak on as home reading.  I asked who had done their homework and only a  handful said yes.  It was at that point I decided to follow my heart and revisit my passages from the previous week.

But first I honoured those who had done the reading and gave them a  bit of a chance to feed back, which they did.

As we came to these passages  I simply read them and made a few comments, gave others an opportunity to make a few comments and moved on.

So for you, my dear reader, I will do much the same… (more…)

The pharisees had a theology of ‘grace-plus’. That’s why Jesus got offside with them. With the pharisees repentance preceded acceptance (‘you change, agree with us, and you’ll be acceptable around here’); with Jesus it was the other way around (‘I accept you; let’s work on a process of change together’). Pharisees are territorial (only our kind are welcome); Christians ought to be hospitable (you are most welcome here). (more…)

The Beatitudes are Jesus’ principles for life in the Kingdom of God; they are a call to character and to conduct for those who chose to follow Jesus and a call to a better life for those who, as yet, have not.

We now come to the third of Jesus’ eight statements and this one is the hardest and being the hardest it is also often most misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Why is it the hardest? Simply put, this is where the rubber hits the road. The first two, blessed are the poor in spirit and blessed are those who mourn, are internal attitudes; they are conditions of the soul. While we can’t fool God we can certainly fool each other (and so often ourselves) about the start of our heart. The third beatitude does not afford us that luxury. Meekness shows itself in the real arena of our relationships. It is evidenced in our families; with our partners, our parents, our kids. It is real. We either practice it or we don’t. We either grow it or we starve it. My suspicion is we simply overlook it because we don’t understand it; we don’t know what being meek is or if we do, we have got it wrong.

So what does it mean to be meek? (more…)

To love at all is to be vulnerable. (more…)

These statements, the beatitudes, are not meant to inform. They are meant to motivate.  These statements are exclamations!

Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  This is the invitation.  While most people of Jesus’ day considered the well off to be blessed Jesus reverses the order and opens up the kingdom of his father to even the poor in spirit; those who are destitute and dependent on God,  Up until this point many would have considered themselves ‘sinners’ and ‘outcasts’ from the blessings of God in any way, shape or form. So Jesus opens it up and invites every one in particularly those who are spiritually poor.  (He will get back to the well off later in the story)

The invitation is followed up with ‘Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted’.

If the first of the beatitudes is the invitation, the second is the dress code. (more…)