Sunday, September 17, 2023

giving away $10,000

 Shane Claiborne , in Practicing Jubilee, pp.36-38 in Schools for Conversion, edited by The Rutba House :

“A couple of years ago we had two things happen. First, we won a lawsuit for police misconduct in New York City. The police had been arresting homeless people for sleeping in public, and charging them with disorderly conduct. I was arrested one night as I slept out in protest. Through a long legal process, I was found not guilty and filed a civil suit of wrongful arrest, wrongful prosecution, and police misconduct. And we won, in addition to a legal precedent, around $10,000. We knew it did not belong to me or to The Simple Way, but to the homeless in New York for all they endure. It was their victory. The second thing that happened was that after our study of biblical economics, we had an anonymous gift of $10,000 which had been invested in the Stock Market and now was being returned to the poor. A bunch of us started conspiring, and before long we said: It is time for a celebration of God's Jubilee.’ And where else should we have it but on Wall Street, in the face of the world's economy? This was not a one-time celebration, but an ancient celebration going back to Leviticus 25 and an eternal celebration of the New Jerusalem. We decided to send 100 dollars to 100 different communities that incarnate the spirit of Jubilee and the economics of love. Each $100 bill had ‘love’ written on it. And we invited everyone to Wall Street for the Jubilee.
After months of laughter and dreaming, it really happened.
About 40 people had all the change they could carry over 30,000 coins in bags, coffee mugs, briefcases, backpacks. Another 50 people would be meeting us on Wall Street. A dozen ‘secret stashers’ ran ahead, hiding hundreds of two-dollar bills all over lower Manhattan in parks, napkin holders, and phone booths. At 8:15 we started trickling into the public square in front of the main entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. Word of the redistribution had spread throughout New York, and nearly 100 folks from the alleys and projects were gathered. We had choreographed the celebration like a play production, making Wall Street the stage of our theatrics of counter-terror. At 8:20, Sister Margaret and I stepped forward to proclaim the Jubilee:
‘Some of us have worked on Wall Street and some of us have slept on Wall Street. We are a community of struggle.
Some of us are rich people trying to escape our loneliness.
Some of us are poor folks trying to escape the cold. Some of us are addicted to drugs and others are addicted to money.
We are a broken people who need each other and God, for we have come to recognize the mess that we have created of our world and how deeply we suffer from that mess.
Now we are working together to give birth to a new society within the shell of the old. Another world is possible. Another world is necessary. Another world is already here The money for this Jubilee Celebration was formerly invested in the Stock Market. Over $10,000 has been set free, poured out to be shared with our sisters and brothers in need. This money belongs to the poor, the workers, the refugees, the homeless... to all those who have suffered most from the wreckage of the current system. May we return it with joy, with our heads bowed in repentance, and with our hearts lifted in Jubilee.’
Then Sister Margaret blew the ram's horn (like our Jewish ancestors used to), and we announced: ‘Let the celebration begin!’ Ten people stationed on balconies above the crowd threw hundreds of dollars in paper money, covering the sky. Then they dropped banners which read,
The streets turned silver. Our ‘pedestrians,’ ‘tourists,’ ‘homeless’ and ‘business people ’began pouring out their change. We decorated the place with sidewalk chalk and filled the air with bubbles. Joy was contagious. Someone bought bagels and started giving them out. People started sharing their winter clothes. One of the street-sweepers winked at us as he flashed a dustpan full of money. Another guy hugged someone and said, ‘Now I can get my prescription filled.’
It worked. We had no idea what would happen. We knew it was dangerous, intentionally bringing God and Mammon face to face. But this is precisely what we have committed our lives to. It is risky, and yet we are people of faith, believing that giving is more contagious than hoarding, that love can convert hatred, light can overcome darkness, and grass can pierce concrete.,,even on Wall Street."

Saturday, September 16, 2023

many mansions in heaven?


Craig Keener:

Peter wants to follow Jesus wherever He goes, but Jesus tells him that if he wants to follow Jesus where He is going, he must follow Him to the death (John 13:31-38).  Nevertheless, Peter and the other disciples should not be afraid; they should trust in Jesus the same way they trusted in the Father (14:1).  He would prepare a dwelling-place for them in His Father’s house, and would come back afterwards to receive them to Himself (14:2-3).  “You know where I’m going and how I will get there,” He told them (14:4).  Perhaps like us, the disciples were confused, and Thomas spoke for all of them: “Lord, we don’t even know where You’re going; how can we know the way you’re getting there?” (14:5)  So Jesus clarifies His point: Where He is going to the Father (14:6), and He is going there by dying on the Cross but would return afterward to give them the Spirit (14:18-19; 16:18-22).  How would they get to the Father?  By coming through Jesus, who is the way (14:6).

We often cite John 14:2-3 as a proof-text for Jesus’ future coming; conversely, we cite John 14:6 as a proof-text for salvation.  But if we follow the flow of conversation, we have to be wrong about one of them.  14:2-3 declares that Jesus will bring them where He is going, but 14:6 tells us where He’s going and how we His followers will get there: He is going to the Father, and we come to the Father when we get saved through Jesus (14:6).  Do we come to the Father through Jesus only when He returns in the future, or have we come to Him already through faith?  The entire context makes this point clear.  We enter the Father’s house when we become followers of Jesus Christ!

In the context of John’s entire Gospel, there is no reason to assume that the “Father’s house” refers to heaven, though it might be an allusion to the Temple (John 2:16) or to the Father’s household (John 8:35; and we are His new temple and His household).  More helpfully, Jesus goes on to explain the “dwelling-places” (NIV: “rooms”) explicitly in the following context.  The Greek word for “dwelling-place” used in 14:2 occurs in only one other verse in the New Testament—in this very context, in 14:23, part of Jesus’ continuing explanation of 14:2-4.  “The one who loves Me will obey Me, and My Father will love that one and we will come make our ‘dwelling-place’ with that person” (14:23).  The related verb appears throughout John 15:1-10: “Dwell [abide]” in Christ, and let Christ “dwell” in you.  We all know that Jesus will return someday in the future, but if we read the rest of John we learn that Jesus also returned to them from the Father after His resurrection, when He gave the disciples the Spirit, peace and joy (20:19-23), just as He had promised (14:16-17, 26-27; 16:20-22).  This is in fact the only coming the context addresses (14:18 in the context of 14:15-27; 16:12-24).

What is the real point of John 14:2-3?  It is not that Jesus will return and we will be with Him someday—true as that teaching is from other texts.  It is that Jesus returned after His resurrection so Christians could have life with Him (14:18-19), that He has already brought us into His presence and that we can experience the reality of His presence this very moment and at all times.  This means that the same Jesus who washed his disciples feet in the preceding chapter, who taught and healed and suffered for us, is with us at this very moment.  He invites us to trust His presence with us. -link