Thursday, October 28, 2004

It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, last weekend, Sheryl and I took a Mommy and Daddy trip to New York City. We stayed with my cousin and his wife and daughter in Queens and it was a lot of fun. I'll put that on my list of things to talk about at some point.

So right now, the list includes:

  • Mere Discipleship
  • The ZOE Conference
  • Part 2 of Inspiration
  • The New York Trip
  • My broken pinky

However, on the plane up and back, I started reading The Original Jesus by Tom (NT) Wright. It was recommended by a friend.

I'm not all the way done with it, but I'm really liking it. It looks at the Gospels, but looks at them in a literary way, confirming a lot of what I wrote in the Inspiration piece below. Anyway, one thing that's really hit me is how revolutionary Jesus was for his time. He was some who knew what would happen to him if he said the things he said. He knew that preaching his message would be misunderstood by both his close followers and the ruling powers. He knew that as the leader of a large group of people (a lot of whom were probably militants), he would be considered a threat, by both the ruling Jews and the Romans.

And he did it anyway.

I think we've tamed Jesus. We've put him in our church boxes and made him say what we want him to say. We've made his words easy, we've made his example simple.

But here's what I truly believe: Jesus didn't live his life the way he did, died the way he did, and rose again, so that we'd all sit in our pretty church buildings and sing pretty songs, while thinking how great we are compared to everyone else.

Jesus didn't say the things he did or do the things he did for us to side with a particular political party (insert elephant or donkey here) and try to be a part of the power structures of the world.

Jesus formed an army. Not an army like the Romans thought he was doing, or the Sanhedrin thought he was doing, or even his disciples thought he was doing. Jesus formed an army of people who would lay down their lives for their enemies, who would love others radically, who would show grace at all costs. I'm not there yet, but that's where I want to be.

I'll end tonight with something Lee Camp said: We make the mistake of thinking that grace is only a spiritual concern. Grace covers all areas of our lives. It is a spiritual, political, economic, and social concern.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Some thoughts on Inspiriation I'm having and how it relates to my thinking on God and Scripture. This is Part One, because that's as far as I've written. I know that I still have to post on Mere Discipleship, plus I was at the Zoe Conference this weekend and heard Brian McLaren speak.

Anyway, here are the thoughts on Inspiration.


I've been pondering what it means for something to be inspired recently. Generally, this word, at least in Christian circles, describes Scripture. It gives an air of authority to it, as though it has come directly from God.

Nov, I don’t dispute the idea that the Scriptures we have came from God... somehow. I don’t know what that looks like, exactly. I don’t believe that the Holy Spirit came down over Paul or Luke or John and physically controlled their hands or months as they wrote or dictated the words that became our Canon. I don’t believe that any of the authors of Scripture were able to divest themselves of themselves, because God doesn't work that way. He uses us as we are, and where we are.

I think it's obvious from Scripture that the authors didn’t divest themselves of who they were. Paul talked about slavery because that was in the culture in which he existed. He obviously didn’t condone it, as the book of Philemon showed. Gods plan is not for one person to be enslaved by another, but that condition existed in the first century and Paul wrote how to be a Christian in that Situation. However, that is a tangent to explore later.

Back to inspiration. I think that we've really overrated and underrated inspiration.

I think we've overrated it in this aspect: we have come to equate inspiration with authority. The idea has developed over the centuries that simply because the Bible says something that it is authoritative. We talked before about the cultural aspects of Scripture. It doesn’t mean that Scripture isn’t from God. But it also doesn’t mean that because God said it to Paul and John and Luke, that it applies directly to us. Paul was writing to first century Romans and Corinthians, to specific situations that had come up. John had an agenda when he wrote his Gospel. Luke had a specific story to tell in his Gospel and Acts.
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