Thursday, May 29, 2008

Helping in Secret

If you've never helped someone in secret before... it's a great idea.

Start it like a habit, I say.

It's biblical. That's a plus. It's spiritually formative. Here are some reasons why.

It keeps you humble.
It blesses others.
It answers prayers.
It rewards the giver as much as the receiver, (or more.)
It makes one's life a ministry.
It makes us the hands and feet of Jesus, God's kingdom.
It helps a hurting world.
It lives on, (and doesn't end with recognition.)
It makes you want to do it again.
It takes on its own lives as it inspires the same.
It harbors and shoots off goodness.
It's old fashioned, in a good way,
(ever notice how old time Christians in your church, or elsewhere, were delighted or were expert in this behavior?)
It gives, or points, the glory to God for good things.
It makes the Kingdom come, here on earth as it is in heaven.
It makes life about "not us," but rather about the good life, (goodness), giving, and God.

Will you do it?

If you do, leave a comment just to say so, (but, of course, don't say "what".) : )

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Rescuer

So, a man was on a ship and the captain grabbed him as they were passing another ship and he said, "I have to show you a wonderful man. There, he is, the most honorable, wonderful man I know." And the man said, "Why do you say that?" And the captain said, "One night my ship was sinking and this man and his ship were nearby, and this captain jumped in with no regard for his own life and saved me. Now every time I see this man, I make sure I find whoever and I point out my rescuer, the one I owe my life to."

I heard a version of this story on Sunday, and how I should point out my Rescuer Jesus, and it made me think. I suppose I don't much think about Jesus in the term "Rescuer". That is an urgent term. Maybe urgent isn't an adjective I distinguish with my walk with Jesus. I suppose I would encounter people differently if I bore this story in mind.

It is not too old fashioned to remember we are rescued from ourselves, our sin, the maladies of our culture, our future alone without the glory and goodness of God, without the precious Rescuer of our soul - Jesus Christ. Does the pride of thinking "Rescuer" is over the top back us down from this simple and humble following path of disciple in this way?

Each day, rescue us, Lord Jesus!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Truth, Justice, Independence, and the America way (?)

How important to remember that american justice, and democracy and capitalism was not, and is not, and could never be something handed to us from God-- a gift from above. What we have is a secular system. It is mainly based on a "violent ontology" according to John Millbank. "Justice" so-called, relies on power and overpowering someone else. What is one person's justice is another's imperialism, today.

Most often we say want want justice, and "retribution" is what is truly wanted. This is secular. Social justice involves a peaceable centrality of hope and healing. All justice is social justice.

God's justice is one of healing, restoration, and reconciliation with him and within his Bride, the church. Apart from community, justice is not found. We only have alienation, isolation, further greed, or sickness of soul.

The church's call then is to be the beacon for and bastion for justice in all realms. True justice. That of God, not man. The America way is the secular way. We've held up democracy and capitalism as our virtues, but these virtues apply justice with an violent ontology as they impose a self, rather than other centered focus. God's message is love centered. God applies his mercy. His worship and reverence comes first in a worldview that keeps him central. As American consumers, most tire of a God in this form, and shop around for something more to their liking. The American way is to change the channel, and make God, or church, and church community disposal, like last year's fashions. Secularized capitalism mentality is but no means just, and does not lead to justification, or spiritual formation.

After all Jesus saved us TO something-- the church as a body. As individuals we can devote ourselves, of course, but it is the church universal that is saved, not the individual merely. Americans have too far been made to think independently to the point of silliness. Our idea that we each choose, or ever should choose, all sorts of spiritual things as individuals is perilous, if not in grievous error. It is in the midst of community that we are safer kept from our tendency to self-deception, and invigorated with the Spirit among us, and well as within us.