No more altar calls .
P.S. Enjoy Ignatius's video here...if you recognize the lines "Every head bowed and every eye closed...I see that hand"
Hebrews 10:25 must be colored by this context and message, and therefore the point is that believers must not withdraw from a local congregation due to spiritual weariness or fear of persecution. -Full article
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"Words of the world:Hurtsmile continues a trend toward profanity in Christian music" byArsenio OrtezaFor those curious about the timeline by which profanity became acceptable in the songs of Christian musicians, it goes something like this: In 1985, Bruce Cockburn dropped the "f-bomb" in his...CONTINUED, WORLD MAGAZINEk
Jesus' best-known teaching about end times is recorded in Matthew 24-25, with perhaps the most famous section found in 24:40-41. Here Jesus describes the impact of his Second Coming: "Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left." These two verses, along with the parallel passage in Luke 17, have inspired one of the most famous Christian songs of all times, Larry Norman's 1972 classic "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" (from an album tellingly titled Only Visiting This Planet). More recently, the hugely successful Left Behind book and film series has inspired the imaginations of countless Christians.
These verses are worth close consideration. According to Jesus, at least one key to understanding this teaching is the story of Noah, as Jesus explains in the preceding passage, Matthew 24:37-39:As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.Notice what Jesus says twice in this passage. The coming of the Son of Man will be "as it was in the days of Noah" (v. 37). In case we missed it, we are told again: "That is how it will be" when the Son of Man comes (v. 39). Anytime Jesus says something twice, it is doubly worth paying attention to. Jesus seems to be emphasizing two aspects of the Noah story. One is simply the surprise factor of the Flood. Nobody was expecting it. Until the day it happened, people were going about their business, living their daily lives. They were taken by surprise. So too will the Second Coming of Jesus come unawares. We should always be ready.
We ought also to notice the presence of two groups of persons. One is Noah and, implicitly, his family. Noah is righteous and follows God. He and his family are saved; they are not caught by surprise. The second group is the unnamed "people" (v. 38): those who were eating, drinking, and marrying. This second group—described in Genesis 6:5 as full of wickedness, their hearts and thoughts continually evil—gets caught by surprise. Its wickedness prompted the judgment of the Flood. But as the story makes clear, the people who "knew nothing about what would happen" got taken away.
We have to pause for a moment and observe how thoroughly this inverts some popular understandings of the end times. Those who do not follow God are, in the language of this passage, "taken away." By contrast, Noah and his family are "left behind." While the flood washes away the wicked, God rescues Noah and his kin, leaving them to enjoy the goodness of the renewed and restored creation.And then, we are told—not once, but twice—that the Second Coming of Jesus will happen just like this. Consider once more verses 40 and 41. They describe two pairs of persons. In each case, one person is taken away and one is left behind. And verses 37 and 39 tell us that this outcome mirrors the days of Noah. The entire passage strongly suggests that the ones "left behind," in Jesus' description of the Second Coming, will not be the wicked ones but the followers of God. They are rewarded by being left behind to enjoy, as embodied creatures, God's new kingdom. The wicked are "taken away," losing the chance to experience the new creation.
Christ or Plato?
Of course, I may be wrong. Jesus often tells stories whose main ideas are not immediately obvious. Indeed, other passages seem at first glance to shine a different light on the concept of being "left behind." In Luke 17:26-36, for example, we have a different version of this teaching, where Jesus twice speaks of two persons, only one of whom will be taken. Here, Jesus refers not only to the Flood, but also to the story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom. In the Lot story, the righteous are taken away from Sodom, while the ones left behind get destroyed. Does this reverse the lesson we derived from the Noah story? Perhaps it has nothing to do with being taken or left, but simply with the imperative of being ready.There is, however....continued: Who Gets Left Behind? How end times theories shape the ways we view our earthly abode" byMatthew Dickerson
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Dave Matthews has stated that he thinks this song, “Bartender,” is the most beautiful song he has ever written. I have to say I am inclined to agree. I sit with this song often; I am not sure there are words to accurately describe my thoughts about its beauty or its impact. So, I simply want to leave you to sit with it. This performance at Radio City Music Hall is one of my very favorite versions. Lyrics start late into the song (about 3 minutes in), but it is worth hearing the entire performance. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. - Gina Messina-DysertThe words are below, but someone has well said that perhaps it's all said wordlessly in the "vocal"/prayer inclusio of 2:20-3:20 and 7:40-8:31 (!!) in video at bottom of page...you may want to start with the video, and then read..
Every place I have set foot is holy ground.
The Temple Mount included.
St. Jamie, in an amazing blog post found here, even found Jesus in the most "unlikely of places":
I never planned to be an idolater when I grew up.continued here :
And I never became one full-blown until I became a pastor.
Full and explicit confession; I like form too much.
By default we tend to focus on …and thus inevitably worship …forms instead of norms.
Without (literally) divine intervention we wind up unintentionally at (if not autobahnning our way on purpose) our destination:
idolatry of form.
Not our destiny:
the norm, normal and normative Great Commisional lifequest.
“It’s good for us to be here, Lord.”
Uh, oh. Sounds good and spiritual. After all, it is technically a prayer.
And often it would be an appropriate response.
But in this case, it is death.
The well-meaning (?) saint who uttered it was well off the mark.
In fact, he only said it out of his personal ignorance; and the corporate systemic fear of the group/church he was hanging with.
(That's a fascinating assessment of why he misspoke. So hold on to it for a few minutes; it may indeed be the only reason believers ever misspeak and land off the mark,;and thus an incredibly handy hermeneutic for self-diagnosis).Personal ignorance.
At least that’s the twofold interpretation of Peter’s “It’s good for us to be here, Lord.” quote/prayer/idolatry of form in Mark 9:6:
"He said this because he (as an individual) did not know what to say; and because they (as a group) were so frightened."
But Jesus seems to show up on Mounts of Transfiguration only to commission-kick us into the demon-infested valleys.
For the next verse (14) and vista after the mountaintop experience was just that.
Pete and the disciples were to apply what they had seen and heard on the glorious mountaintop in the "real world" marketplace. To backtrack and look back would be not only "idolatry of the form" but "to shrink back into destruction" (Hebrews 10:26).
Not to mention missing the fun and form of ministry that awaits any that "tear the curtain down and bring the Altar to the ground." (lyric to the 77s classic bombblast: "What was in That Letter?")God is on the move, out task is to move with the movement.
But I'd rather stay "in church" (a "place" Jesus never commanded us to go), and "build three shrines: one for Jesus, one for Elijah..."
More often than not, Jesus is subversively moving us into the valley to give away life; to heal demonized kids;
to be missional in the marketplace and not (just on) the Mountain.
But wait, is there no place to just be "in worship?"..as the Scripture says to “Be still and Know that I am the Lord."?
Of course....but in that contract and context of that Quietist comamnd is the activist second half of that same sentence (Isaiah 46:10)...“so that My Name will be evangelized in all the earth."
The only reason God takes us to mountains of glory is to "glorify" the valley.
The real glory, which we seem to want, is not "in the church," but in the world:
"The whole earth (not 'church') is full of his glory."
We can take the mountain and prayer closet with us, you know. They are portable.
"The proper course of action for the Jew is to continue working--even in the apocalyptic times of the Messiah...Only on that basis could they hope that the tragic national experiences would be overcome and that the Jews would face the future with the courage and determination whuch would eventually bring them to a happier period...the emphasis is on the
pursuit of the normal...-Pearl, p. 150
N.T. Wright says it best. Our ministry is based on the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, as the latter is most often ignored in our churches. "What happens when you downplay the ascension?, " Wright asks. "The answer is that the church expands to fill the vacuum" -Mike Erre, "Death by Church," p. 246
And we all too easily suppose that the message is: Jesus is going off to heaven for ever, and one day we’ll go and join him there. And that would be to miss the whole point of the Ascension, here and elsewhere in the New Testament. (link)
"Historic evangelicalism has always affirmed the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture, while declaring (as Jesus and the apostles did) that the only way of salvation for fallen humanity is through the atoning work of Christ, and the only instrument of justification is faith in Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the gospel.
Rob Bell believes none of those things" (link, "Rob Bell: a Brother to Embrace, or a Wolf to Avoid?")
(Editors note: I am sure some people think I am obsexxed and talk about sex too much on this blog. You need to know that the sexuality/spirituality connection is one..and only one...of six stated categories for this blog...and the one I likely post on least.So sorry if I offend you for the wrong reason, but one of the reasons we are in the mess we are in in church and culture is "You can't talk about sex in church."
Well, as Rob Bell has asked:" where do you WANT to talk about it?"
"DUMB DISCLAIMER":It should go without saying...but i wouldn't want it to... that since this blog is a Spiritaneous place to throw out thoughts/feelings/articles "in process," it does not represent any of the fine institutions you see by my profile that I am affiliated with (Heck, it may not even represent me! (:........). The blog is merely an attempt to subvert subversion and"push toward the unobvious"(Thanks, Tim N. for that phrase) on the six hot topics listed at the top of the page....Welcome, engage it, and don't be offended (for the wrong reason, anyway!)
“The sad reality is that if Rob Bell does not confess the truth in this life, one day he will realize how wrong his understanding of hell really is. His view of hell will be painfully altered forever when he receives the more severe punishment reserved for those who with a Bible in their hands mock God and trample the blood of Christ underfoot.”
Rob is also right in his analysis on pp. 80-83 that Jesus talked about Hell to his fellow Jewish believers, and furthermore, he talked about them being in danger of going there because of their bad behavior— like that of the rich man in relationship to Lazarus. Behavior might not get you into the Kingdom, but it sure can get you an early checkout notice from being amongst the elect. This is precisely what Paul is saying in Gal. 5.19-21 when he warns his converts in Galatia that if they persist in behaving badly, in these various listed ways, “you will not inherit God’s kingdom”. Jesus says nothing different from this.
If the so called elect or saved behave consistently or continually in such a way that their lives as a whole could be characterized as a life of adultery etc. they will have committed apostasy, and will not enter God’s coming future kingdom. These warnings are incompatible with an eternal security notion, which neither Jesus nor Paul affirmed. Rob is quite right— it the pious Jews, the truly converted, even the Christians, who are being warned about apostasy in such texts. And it is not like they are the only NT figures giving us believers such warnings—go read Hebrews 6 again. As Rob puts it on pp. 82-83— “whatever chosen-ness or election meant, whatever special standing they believed they had with God was always, only, ever about their being the kind of transformed, generous, loving people through whom God could show the world what God’s love looks like in flesh and blood.” Amen to that. Ben Witherington, Part 3
In this context he brings up the Greek word kolazo (it should be kolasis since the noun is used in Matthew 25), and Rob says something that must be flagged as unfair. He says kolazo “refers to the pruning and trimming of the branches of a plant so it can flourish” (91), and the noun is combined with aionion (he uses aion) and says this is an “aion of kolazo” or a “period of pruning.” Again, check BDAG [infliction of chastisement, punishment, transcendent retribution, punishment; under kolazo, the verb, penalize, punish ... finishing with "Aristotle's limitation of the term... to disciplinary action ... is not reflected in gener. usage"]. My point: it is simply disingenuous to say without qualification that it means pruning, and it is unfair to readers not to say that most — if not almost all — instances refer to a kind of retributive punishment and chastisement — there is very little emphasis in this word’s usage that suggests punish to improve and much more punish full stop. Here’s the big point: this is about Life and Kolasis/Punishment in The Age to Come. The Age to Come is everlasting. link
If you were to actually begin reading Love Wins with the very last chapter, you would quickly see why I have said the book deserves to be evaluated primarily as a poetic expression of Rob’s faith. It is not an exercise in detailed exegesis or systematic theology any more than the psalms (songs) should be evaluated as systematic theology. While I agree that the underlying theological assumptions and assertions in this book are fair game for close analysis and critique, you would be missing the point if that is all you do. Love, in the end, will not crawl under a microscope and submit to sterile scientific analysis. Thank goodness. God’s love for all of us of course could hardly be summed up in even all the books in the world.