Preaching

Even Thor Owns an iPod

This is a comic I purchased recently and I find it completely erroneous. This is Thor an Asgardian God of Thunder listening to an iPod. Yes, they are everywhere evidently. However the message the illustrator, Marko Djurdjevic portrays is epic. We have here the image of a god that is leaving his people, leaving the world he knows and entering into a new one. However, this is not what Paul has in mind. God doesnʼt leave us in our suffering. God joins us in our suffering, he yells right beside us as it is evident by his actions on the cross. Our sufferings bring us solidarity with Christ. To be in Christ, then, is to possess what is often spoke of as full salvation: everything necessary to our past, present, future and eternal welfare has been secured for us by the action of God in Christ and is stored up in Christ for us to share and enjoy. But, it is not only benefits and blessings that are in Christ; we are in Him ourselves.

Jurgen Moltmann and many others that continued his theological thoughts within the Emergent Church have adapted what they call a hope filled eschatology. Meaning it was good news when Jesus came the first time, and it will be good news when he comes again. Moltmann echos Paulʼs hope in his greeting when he wrote about Auschwitz.

“…Like the cross of Christ, even Auschwitz is in God himself. Even Auschwitz is taken up into the grief of the father, the surrender of the Son and the power of the Spirit… As Paul says in 1 Cor. 15, only with the resurrection of the dead, the murdered and the gassed, only with the healing of those in despair who bear lifelong wounds, only with the abolition of all rule and authority, only with the annihilation of death will the Son hand over the kingdom to the father. Then God will turn his sorrow into eternal joy… God in Auschwitz and Auschwitz in the crucified God – that is the basis for a real hope which both embraces and overcomes the world, and the ground for a love which is stronger than death and can sustain death.”

1 Cor. 15 from The Message says this,

“If corpses canʼt be raised, then Christ wasnʼt, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ werenʼt raised, then all youʼre doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. Itʼs even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because theyʼre already in their graves. If all we get out out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, weʼre a pretty sorry lot. But, the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.”

The hope of the resurrection sees a future for those who have past, and those that are living in the present can gain courage for the future. It is because of this abundant hope of overcoming death, our little hope for the future, better times can strength, and do not fall victim to doubt and cynicism. In the midst of a culture filled with anxiety and doubt, we hope and do not give ourselves up to despair.

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Servanthood and Paul

Verse One, Paul and Timothy servants of Christ Jesus… wait servants of Christ Jesus is a little bit of an odd greeting.

What do they mean by servants?

Isnʼt the term “Servant” negative in connotation?

The only servant that I could think of well writing this is Alfred Pennyworth. The trusted butler to the one and only Bruce Wayne. keeper of the Wayne household even before little Brucey was potty trained. Well taken care of by billionaire Bruce Wayne and at most times the sole confidant Alfred was, to Master Bruce. Actually this is not the only servant that I could think of after this summer. The children in Uganda are all to aware of the strife contained in being servants. These children are taken in the night to fight in a war that has drastically changed their culture. These are the Invisible Children of Uganda and if you ever want to know more just come chat with me anytime.

But, why does Paul insert this negative image in a greeting? It seems as if Paul is already letting the people of Philipi and the reader aware of a couple of major themes to his letter, First there is an attack being made on the church, which leads into the second theme of the hope of a better day. Very applicable to the Invisible Children and any other servants out there. A hope of change, a hope of unity and a hope of a future.

The image I think of when I hear the term servant is suffering. The importance in the greeting is not found in the word “servant”, but how Paul finishes the greeting. He addresses the people of Philipi not as Philippians, as he does in chapter four, but instead he calls them saints … in essence he is calling them Christians. Yet again though, the importance is not in the title it is in the thought of the greeting. Paul is getting at the very centre of Christian belief, there is creativity, meaning, and hope in the fulfillment of suffering.

A Third Way of Preaching

This is from a post on Scot McKnight’s blog that can be found originally here.  My only question is whether or not enough emphasis is placed on the value of teaching from those that are capable of doing so. I agree that the church would be better off if more people tried to live a life that emulated what Christ taught, however if no one is their to teach and guide people towards that life, can it happen?

 

 

What is most needed is a complete spiritual formation approach to the entire church and for each person; outcomes need to be formulated by the leaders and the church so that the whole approach is embraced. Within the overall approach to realizing outcomes, which I would say are loving God, loving others and a life of holiness, sermons play a role and sometimes an important one. But serious formative changes occur when the individual and the group participate in, activate, and integrate what is being taught. (By the way, that last sentence requires pages of discussion.) And these formative changes take place within a set of outcomes. And, perhaps most importantly, they take place with spiritual directors, pastors, teachers and friends who come alongside to help a person.

 

The biggest issue here is not preaching; the biggest issue is the weight given to preaching in the overall mission of the local church. Emphasizing the weight of preaching is the Third Way.

 

All of this, of course, within the parameters of the work of God’s Spirit through Word and Eucharist, which means respect for the Great Tradition of the Church. There is no Third Way preaching until we get beyond the Sunday morning service as the primary form of education and formation in the church.