We should strive for holiness, but holiness is a flood, not an absence.
The real problem with “Love the sinner; hate the sin” is that hate comes so much more naturally to us. . .
And when you start hating sin, you’ll find it is oh so much easier to hate other people’s sin — i.e., sins toward which you have no particular inclination — than your own. Which makes you no less sinful than those you judge, but a lot more hypocritical.
I say let’s focus on just trying to “love the sinner” for a while. When and if we get that down — if we learn to truly love sinners as Jesus did — then maybe we can talk about hating their sins.
Read the whole post here.
Bill Gatewood and Rick Taylor only needed one minister to marry them at their longtime place of worship, Arch Street United Methodist Church.
Instead, they got fifty.
Risking the loss of their credentials, the ministers came to show their support of same-sex marriage, an issue currently being hotly debated in the Methodist Church, as well as to show solidarity with an embattled colleague who has been personally affected. Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, PA, will stand trial on Nov. 18 in front of the church because he officiated his son’s same-sex wedding, which is currently against church law.
At Gatewood and Taylor’s wedding, the Methodist clergy members along with other clergy from other denomination filled the front of the church after vows were exchanged. Resting their hands on each other and the couple, they said in unison, “Those whom God has joined together, let no one put asunder,” according to Philly.com.
I suspect Paul combined this call for the Body’s unity with an acknowledgement of the Body’s diversity because he knew that unity isn’t the same as uniformity.
We’re not called to be alike; we’re called to love.
We’re not called to agree; we’re called to love.
We’re not even called to get along all the time; we’re called to love each other as brothers and sisters, as people united in one baptism, one communion, one adoption.
Maybe we need these differences to be animated, to be alive, to mature. Maybe friction isn’t a sign of decay, but of growth.
The world is certainly watching. But this doesn’t mean we hide our dirty laundry, slap on mechanical smiles, and gloss over all the injustices and abuses, conflicts and disagreements, diversity and denominationalism present within the Church; it means we expose them. It means we talk about them boldly and with integrity, with passion and with love. I suspect that talking about our differences is better for our witness than suppressing them, and I’m sure that exposing corruption and abuse is better for our witness than hiding them.
And when it comes to injustice, a far more important question to me than “What will the world think if they see us disagreeing?” is “What will the world think if they don’t?”
So when we find ourselves in a position of privilege in the Church, this means listening with patience to the concerns of our brothers and sisters from the margins, even when their calls for change strike us, at first, as bitter or unwelcome.
When we find ourselves speaking from the margins, this means putting in extra effort to ensure that our challenges are issued respectfully and kindly, even when it seems exhausting and unfair to do so. And it means responding to shaming tactics (deliberate or inadvertent) by pressing on and continuing to speak the truth, even when it makes people uncomfortable.
For all of us, I think it means abandoning the notion that unity requires uniformity and that arguments, even heated ones, mean we don’t love one another.
We are, after all, brothers and sisters.
Let’s fight like them.
via On being ‘divisive’….| Rachel Held Evans
So, perhaps we should mourn Satan, the only named thing in all of Creation whose fate is foretold, inescapable, disconnected from grace, from free will, from salvation. Some early theologians found this idea so abhorrent, they imagined some kind of ultimate redemptive grace, even for Satan, maybe even especially for Satan: a true, pan-physical universalism.
Because with Satan, there is an ultimate conundrum. He is part of Creation, part of God’s plan. Evil is meant to be amongst us. I cannot fathom a theology in which there was a cataclysmic “whoops” in the Garden, and the Creation since then has been going completely against His plan, with Him staring on helplessly. So, if there is meant to be evil, there is a reason for it, far from our understanding as it may sometimes seem.
So, if we love this doomed creature, does that play into his hands? I think at heart that this is a Pharisaical idea, that we need to avoid contact with evil. Jesus encounters evil time and time again, and greets it time and again with agape. Even in the wilderness, there is no hate. I’ve always been struck by Jesus in the wilderness. It runs as an extended, lengthy debate, not as an epic battle. Why? Because Satan has no hope for victory. Jesus is calm, because he has no cause for alarm. And on the cross, that victory is made eternal. On the cross, we share in Jesus’ victory. It is our right.
Interesting perspective–read the whole thing: John Watson: Sympathy for the Devil | Red Letter Christians.
Introducing a new regular feature I won’t update as often as I should: Women Wednesday. It is what it says on the box: I’ll use these posts to highlight articles and news I think is relevant to women, Christian women specifically. Beware the decidedly feminist tint :).
“Our understanding of adulthood needs to be clarified and decoupled from sexual activity or marital status.”
First up we have an article from her.meneutics, “A Grown-Up, Not Sexed-Up, View of Womanhood” by Tish Harrison Warren. Warren talks about how society equates female adulthood almost solely with sexual availability (cf Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance), thereby denying unmarried or celibate women full adult status. She then offers ideas about how the church can induct young adults into adulthood without focusing exclusively on sexuality.
Secondly there’s this great article on “strong female characters” and why that’s a potluck of oppression. “Part of the patronising promise of the Strong Female Character,” writes Sophia McDougall, “is that she’s anomalous.”
What happens when one tries to fit other iconic male heroes into an imaginary “Strong Male Character” box? A few fit reasonably well, but many look cramped and bewildered in there. They’re not used to this kind of confinement, poor things. They’re used to being interesting across more than one axis and in more than two dimensions.
Have a great Wednesday!
It’s also important to remember that God didn’t disappoint you—life’s circumstances and people disappointed you. When something bad happens in life, it’s not a time to blame God, it’s a time to run to him.
Three positive ways to deal with disappointment: 3 Things to Do in the Face of Disappointment | RELEVANT Magazine.
The very doctrine of the incarnation contains at its heart the divine welcoming of the Other; embodying that same welcome is at the heart of our own obedience to God’s grace.
Hashtag Christianity isn’t necessarily bad, but it can cause self-righteousness and provide a false sense of spirituality. It has the danger of making us believe we’re living out our faith without really doing anything.
Can you relate? I know I can: Hashtag Christianity – Stephen Mattson | God’s Politics Blog | Sojourners.
God is not a boundary around the edges of our lives, a limit to our abilities that we are always striving to surpass. Nor, we might add, is he the keeper of a boundary imposed by legalists who think we can be changed through an ever more encompassing set of rules. He belongs in the center. Were God merely an outer boundary, we would be left with an inner boundlessness, an emptiness at the heart of things—left, that is, without any true organizing center for our lives. It is only when our relationship of glad obedience to God governs everything that we will be truly free. Then we will find no need for a boundary at all. The more we find ourselves needing to shore up boundaries, or feeling driven to escape them, the surer we may be that something is wrong at the center.
The whole article is worth a read: The Mystery of Original Sin | Christianity Today.
I’m glad I came across this article. Lately I’ve found myself scrabbling for ‘balance’. This is something I revert to whenever my faith is in crisis; when I realise I’m wandering but am in denial about it. I try to find a ‘balance’ between my faith life and my life life, often unconsciously (but often consciously, too). I try to set ‘boundaries’ for my faith: finish the Christian to-do list (Scripture, devotion time, prayer), so I can have the rest of the day “off God”. As if that’s possible, or real faith.
And then the Holy Spirit chipped in and told me (outside a municipal office, of all places), ‘It’s not about balance, it’s about infusion.’ We compartmentalize faith: it’s just one box of many (‘marriage’, ‘kids’, ‘school’, ‘work’, ‘friends’). But in reality, of course, it’s not a box, it’s the storage space. Everything else should fit into it.
This reminds me of something I read in Mere Christianity:
The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see…
What simple, profound principle has the Holy Spirit been leading you back to?