“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”
This seems to me to be totally absurd. Our society is becoming less and less inclined towards deep, genuine, committed relationships and more inclined towards self-serving, sexually served, uncommitted relationships and I can’t help but think that this is dehumanizing and suppressing of the image of God in people, and therefore, steps in the wrong direction.
The question is not, what can God say about evil, but, what can God do about evil?
“If you want to understand God’s justice in an unjust world, says [Isaiah], this is where you must look. God’s justice is not simply a blind dispensing of rewards for the virtuous and punishment for the wicked, though plenty of those are to be found on the way. God’s justice is a saving, healing, restorative justice, because the God to whom justice belongs is the Creator God who has yet to complete his original plan for creation and whose justice is designed not simply to restore balance to a world out of kilter but to bring to glorious completion and fruition the creation, teeming with life and possibility, that he made in the first place. And he remains implacably determined to complete this project through his image-bearing human creatures and, more specifically, through the family of Abraham,” (Wright, Evil And The Justice of God, 64).
But how? Well the story of redemption and rescue is most certainly focused on the Servant, YHWH’s Servant.
“Central to the OT picture of God’s justice in an unjust world, then, is the picture of God’s faithfulness to unfaithful Israel. And central to that picture is the picture of YHWH’s Servant, an individual who stands over against Israel and takes Israel’s fate upon himself so that Israel may be rescued from exile, allowing the human race at last to proceed, as in Isaiah 55, toward the new creation, in which thorns and thistles will be replaced by cypress and myrtle, dust and death by fresh water and new life,” (Wright, 65).
Grace and peace.
Well it’s Sunday evening here in Aurora and I’ve just finished watching one of the saddest things I’ve seen in sports. The Detroit Pistons have been swept from the 1st round of the playoffs.
Reasons why this is sad:
1) The Pistons have dominated, dominated, the eastern division for the last decade, DECADE! ’00-’09 baby! So to see them get swept in the 1st round for the first time in, I don’t know (ever?), was a sad, sad thing.
2) They have led the league in crowd fanaticalness for most of the last 8 years. They just celebrated their 250+ish sellout, in a row! I know, I was there when they beat the Celtics at home in last years Eastern Conference Finals. Today however, as I watched the game, I was shocked to hear more, I kid you not *more*, support and cheering for the bloody Cav’s then for the motor-city boys. The crowd was going nuts for Lebron as he threw down dunks on one end and made huge blocks on the other. Nuts! And this is IN DETROIT! What? Also, I kid you not, there was nothing short of a celebration when the Cav’s won the game, and series. Celebration. IN DETROIT?! What the hell?! It’s a sad day in Detroit Pistons history.
3) Overall lack of team flow/feeling. The Piston’s certainly did not look like the team we’ve seen in the past. There was little-to-no commradery. A Piston would get knocked down on a charge or a lay-up and, unlike in previous seasons where there would have been 3 other Pistons there to help him up, he would have to get up by himself. They looked defeated. You could see it in their faces.
This has just been a terrible, terrible season for the Pistons and one that I’m sure has humbled the organization. A season highlighted by the Chauncey trade, the Iverson debacle and a 1st round sweep from the playoffs, at home, in front of a crowd that was cheering for the other team. Damn. I’m just glad that season is over.
In memory of what was:
Every Thursday evening a couple of fellows gather together to pray and study Romans. It’s a fun endevour!
I really like how Paul writes. With Paul, it’s not just the words that are significant, it’s the order. Even something as simple as sentance structure, for Paul, can be a way of conveying truth.
The church (local) can be a funny place. We often preach acceptance and love, but execute acceptance and love quite poorly. I once heard it put like this: “The church has a great theology of grace, but a poor practice of it.” Boy, have I found this to be true. Church more often seems to be a place where we’re told to, “shape up or ship out.” It’s a place where you have to tow the party line, and if not, then you’re not welcome. It seems to me that this would produce a congregation of eerily similar individuals. And that doesn’t seem to reflect the beauty of the Kingdom. Often times beauty is found in seemingly ugly places. So it’s one thing to preach acceptance from a pulpit, but it’s a whole other thing to actually accept others. Take your average North American church and imagine what it would look like if a big’ole group of dirty folk showed up one morning. Homeless folk, single teen mothers, drug addicts, homosexuals, non-believers. Imagine the looks. The thoughts. Yikes! How did all those damn dirty folk get in here? Sure, maybe we’d accept them at first, but if they didn’t shape up soon enough then our patience would wear thin. It’s as if we expect some sort of behavioural change before we fully accept someone. Show me that you’re worthy of my acceptance by showing me that you can change! You have to believe before you can belong!
That’s why I think it’s significant when Paul writes something like this: “Through [Jesus] and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith,” (Rom 1:5).
Paul puts faith before obedience, and I’ll be damned if that’s not significant! Obedience comes from faith, it doesn’t work the other way around. This is true. Yet how often do church folk expect outsiders to get the obedience bit right first? Then, when we don’t see obedience (obedience to Jesus or to the Pastors?) quickly enough, we send folk packing.
I long to see a church full to the brim with dirty folk. Dirty folk that are all in the same boat, being faithful to Christ and trying to figure out together what it means to be obedient. But that requires patience, something that the Church could use.
Grace and peace.
[Below is the work of David LaChapelle]