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Shalom and love,
Contact // As Cities Burn
“Have you found the great peace that we all seek?”
You say, “Take a look around. If there is a god, then he must be asleep.”
Will always be the greatest album, imo.Played 52 times.
Calvinism vs Arminianism, an unnecessary theological bifurcation based on an Augustinian interpretation of the Scriptural tradition, an interpretation which is itself at odds with the Patristic tradition which predates it; Augustine’s first principles and categories are entirely anachronistic and peculiar to him, and as the Arminian-Calvinist debate is based firmly upon these presuppositions, I consider the discussion entirely futile. These questions are a waste of time.
I trust the unchanged ancient Church to be the Pillar and Ground of the Truth. If we really expect to find a way out of this controversy, I posit we’ll have a lot more success in reading the early Fathers of the Church and adopting their hermeneutic methods, first principles, and categories, instead of embroiling ourselves in a 16th century Scholastic controversy with all of the baggage that it entails."
This was definitely the start of my Orthodox journey. The realization that there was more than just “Calvinist v Arminianism” was shattering tbh.
In ten months, an 82 year old nun and two pacifists had been successfully transformed by the U.S. government from non-violent anti-nuclear peace protestors accused of misdemeanor trespassing into felons convicted of violent crimes of terrorism.
One prosecutor called them a potential “danger to the community” and asked that all three be kept in jail until their trial. The US Magistrate allowed them to be released.
Sr. Megan Rice walked out of the jail and promptly admitted to gathered media that the three had indeed gone onto the property and taken action in protest of nuclear weapons. “But we had to — we were doing it because we had to reveal the truth of the criminality which is there, that’s our obligation,” Rice said. She also challenged the entire nuclear weapons industry: “We have the power, and the love, and the strength and the courage to end it and transform the whole project, for which has been expended more than 7.2 trillion dollars,” she said. “The truth will heal us and heal our planet, heal our diseases, which result from the disharmony of our planet caused by the worst weapons in the history of mankind, which should not exist. For this we give our lives — for the truth about the terrible existence of these weapons.”
“I have no respect for young radicals…where are the old radicals?!”
This man is my hero. I hope to be living a life like this when I grow old.
Why I align with the Anabaptist tradition
Just an excerpt [All emphasis original]:
In fact, to be honest, Anabaptism is less about defining a particular set of doctrines and systems of theology and more about something even deeper, even more basic. The whole reason why Anabaptists “re-baptized” in the first place was that they were, essentially, rejecting the implication that there is some sort of “inherited” Christianity, either from your family, from the church that holds sway over your particular region, or from the state that rules your area. There is no such thing as an “inherited” Christianity and, hence, a baptism as an infant, while good as a symbol of dedication as the infant, is not really in keeping with what Christianity is about. For those dubbed “Anabaptist”, the root and core, what makes them “radical” from the best definition, is that the whole point of being “Christian” is to give over your entire life, everything you do, work, home, religion, family, friends, etc., to be dedicated to being discipled to Jesus. What I told my friend is that, at its core, Anabaptism is about following Jesus in everything and being committed to live a life that looks like Jesus.
So cool to hear the story from a man who has had a profound influence on my journey.
I loved his response to doctrine in the 1:10:00 - 1:13:00
Doctrine is good in and of itself. But, doctrine does not give you life, it’s just a belief, whereas the Kingdom is reality. Doctrines are good insofar as they’re signposts for reality. Never mistake the signpost for reality. Sometimes people think that believing is an end in of itself. That the Church is the club of the people who believe all the right things. And you’re saved if you pass the Theology test. So God turns out to be the ‘Supreme Theologian’ who grades with vengeance because if you get it wrong you go to hell. Therefore being right is all important. I tend to think that people who believe this can get caught in a form of idolatry where instead of getting life from their relationship with Christ they get life from being right. You can tell when you meet a person like that because if you disagree with them, it’s not a calm rational discussion. When someone pokes at your idol you get angry.
What I always teach people is that our source of life should come from Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. What makes you feel good about life, what gives you worth, what gives you sense of fullness should be what God thinks of you as revealed on Calvary. My identity should be totally anchored in that so I don’t need to be trying to suck life out of what you think about me, or who likes me, or how much applause I get, or whatever. And then that frees me up! If my sense of life is settled, then I’m free from idolatry and that frees me up to live a kingdom of life. I don’t think you can live a kingdom life to the extent that you’re still involved in idolatry.
1. What is sin:
“Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of the flesh over the spirit, that thing is sin to you, however good it is in itself.”
— Susanna Wesley (Letter, June 8, 1725)
Even better said by my brother Antony:
I see sin so differently from before. I no longer see sin as a list or as a set of specific things even per se. Humanity tried that; we failed that checklist. Sin is simply us missing out on fellowship, communion, and that union of abiding in and with God Himself. So we miss that mark, we miss that glory He possesses and uses to work in us, and that is sin. Sin is that separation from God, not because He cannot be around it, but because it separates us from His very likeness and leads us away from our God and Father. Sin is a sickness, a disease that leads unto death. Our Christ is Life itself- He is the Author of Life, the very Prince of Life. So while we wander astray due to sin, He calls us back to Him. So while we are on our deathbed, He comes with life eternal. Sin is disruption to our very core, our very nature as it is the image of God. Sin is the fog clouding up the mirror that reflects who God is in us and sin keeps us from that image clearly. Sin isn’t a set list of do’s and do not’s, but rather is so much more and at the same time, so much less. Sin has been broken; the tomb has been broken. Death has been conquered; the grave is defeated. Christ, our Life, has come and is here to stay. Sin no more, dear ones, for our Lord is great and let us be as He is.
2. What is hell?
This is an excerpt from A Reknew Manifesto by Greg Boyd. The whole article can be found here. (Emphasis all original).
The earliest Christians understood “hell” in several different ways. Some viewed it as annihilation, others as eternal conscious suffering, and others redemptive process that will result in everyone being saved (“universalism”). After Augustine however, the view of hell as eternal conscious suffering became dominant. Annihilationism quickly became a marginal view and universalism was eventually officially condemned.
In light of the love that God has revealed for all humans in Christ, we are convinced that if there is any way that God could save all, he most certainly would save all. Moreover, we don’t see how anyone who genuinely loves all people—as Christ commands and empowers us to do—could fail to hope that God’s love will eventually rescue and transform everyone. At the same time, our belief in free will rules out the Universalist’s belief that there will come a time when everyone must be saved. Moreover, we don’t see in Scripture sufficient warrant for being confident that all will be saved.
What is more certain to us is that the fire of God’s love will salvage and purify everything in a person that is consistent with God’s loving character and will burn up (metaphorically speaking) everything that is not. If it unfortunately turns out that people can sink to the point where there is nothing salvageable, it’s our conviction God will justly, yet mercifully, withdraw his sustaining hand, allowing them to return to nothingness – “as though they had never been” (Obadiah 16). When Scripture speaks of hell as “eternal,” we believe this most likely refers to the effect of this punishment, not the duration of anyone’s experience of it.
However, we are convinced that what is more important than the particular views we hold is the manner in which we hold them. Since the biblical material on this topic is ambiguous, and since the witness of the early church is not uniform on this matter, we encourage Jesus-followers today to not christen their own view as the orthodox view, but rather to allow all views to be entertained and lovingly debated.”
This is a broad topic, especially how you asked it so if you have specific questions dear anon, hop on by and message me with more. I looked up ‘hell’ on my ‘search’ feature and it didn’t come up with much so I’ll see what I can do about that and possibly offer some more thoughts.
Shalom and love,
How did a man born of Eastern descent, a man who called himself the Prince of Peace, a man whom the sacred writings describe as eating with prostitutes and providing wine at weddings and healing the sick and ignoring any political plot, a man who wants us to turn the other cheek and give all our possessions if we are sued, become associated with—no, become the poster boy for—a Western moral and financial agenda communicated through the rhetoric of war and ignorant of the damage it is causing to a world living in poverty?
My only answer is that Satan is crafty indeed."
I’m not a huge fan of apologetics, but this article almost brought me to tears. Here are the axioms Christian-turned-atheist-turned-Jesus-Follower, Mike McHargue, came up with to continue to practice his Christianity in an intellectually honest way, even during seasons of extreme doubt. For my friends who wrestle with doubt I highly recommend reading. For those this doesn’t help, kindly ignore.
OK, my little system is AT LEAST, EVEN IF. I provide definitions for religious concepts in the form of axioms in a manner that is compatible with naturalism (falsifiable and provable). Even in the sciences, we must admit we don’t have a complete understanding of most concepts, so AT LEAST could be applied to natural concepts too (the Universe, gravity, etc.)
Basically, this is a ground floor which doubt can dip no further. It allows us to always feel intellectually honest about pursuing God, religious ritual, fellowship and even Jesus himself.
- God is AT LEAST the natural forces that created and sustain the Universe as experienced via a psychosocial construct rooted in evolved neurologic features in humans. EVEN IF that is a comprehensive definition for God, the pursuit of this personal, subjective experience can provide meaning, peace and empathy for others and is warranted.
- Prayer is AT LEAST a form of mediation that encourages the development of healthy brain tissue, lowers stress and can connect us to God. EVEN IF that is a comprehensive definition of prayer, the health and psychological benefits of prayer justify the discipline.
- The Bible is AT LEAST a set of writings where a people group describes their experience with and understanding of God over thousands of years. EVEN IF that is a comprehensive definition of God, study of scripture is warranted to understand our culture and the way in which people come to know God.
- Jesus is AT LEAST the idea of a man so connected to God that he was called the Son of God and the largest religious movement in human history is centered around his teachings; he was very likely a real person. EVEN IF this is all Jesus is, following his teachings can promote peace, empathy, and genuine morality.
Shalom and love,