The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Challenge for Today's Christian.

One significant challenge for the Christian in today's society is how to make real the content of the Gospel and Pauls letters etc, in the everyday workplace.  I call it a challenge because the things we read about in Pauls letters especially, are both down to earth and exotically lofty and high....

Here is an example of the down to earth from Paul's letter to the Romans (ch 12)

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends,
So far so good... all practical  stuff, but how do-able?  When people give us the irrits and annoy the blith out of us, for no rational reason, -they just seem to enjoy having a pick at our personhood.  I think I've met one of them at every place I've worked.  I suppose it's the 'bully' dominance thing.
"don't take revenge"  Really?   So, what's the solution?   I surely don't have all the answers, but I know one thing, there is a difference between justice and vengence.

If someone king hits you for no reason (see the new fad in America "knockout game")... it's a bit late to defend yourself when you are lying bloody on the pavement in a state of semi or un consciousness. Hunting the perp down later is probably going to land you in more trouble than it's worth.  If you see it coming, I think it is absurdly over spiritualizing to take the view "Oh well.. I'm gonna cop it, better try to make the best of it"..nope.. having been attacked by a couple of people over the past few years, I found that standing your ground, a bit of a push back  and glaring seems to work pretty good. (then I'm  6' ,110kg and a trained kickboxer)  I was caught by one feral  communist who waited till I was not looking to the front and he grabbed my poster. He was then seized by a couple of police before he could get two steps . (unlike the Kung Fu masters of TV, I failed to 'hear' his heartbeat as he approached)

Vengence seems to me to be that very carnally satisfying experience of beating the daylights out of someone who has done you or your's harm.  Justice is what the law points to.. "reasonable restraint" and a citizen's arrest are options available to the public.
Paul goes on to say......

"but leave room for God’s wrath,"...and that can be the challenge, but once we take a deep breath, we know in our heart of hearts that such a person will have only one final destination and the journey along the way will be pretty rocky  and depressing too.

In an earlier part of his letter, Paul say:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom 12:1-3)

Paul is connecting our daily life and habits with the idea of a 'true and proper worship'..... quite a statement!  This is one of those "lofty" sections.  Another is found in Colossians:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
What in the world does this mean ? I know what it means, but would the average un-churched reader?
"set your heart on 'things' tha are above is reasonably clear if you know what things are 'above'. The rest of the text makes it pretty clear, but it sounds a bit strange at first.  How about "you have been raised with Christ" .. sounds a bit 'out there' no?
The point I have in raising this, is to try to remind us that much of God's truth in Scripture is so other worldly yet it  forms the foundation for the practical living tips and guidance.   Being 'raised' with Christ means we should be sharing his outlook.. "have the mind of Christ within you"....

Let's not allow the predictable daily grind to deny us our rich heritage in Christ, but rather continue to take in these high truths, and live them out. People do notice, but often they won't say anything, at least not until you are at the last round of goodbyes when you are having an honorable change in circumstances/job.

The other challenge has to be from the increasing militancy from the homosexual and so called 'progressive' lobby.  It will not be long before the Bible is declared 'hate speech' on the grounds of protected attributes in human rights law (so called.)

Today on 'The Spirit of things' with Rachel Cohn (ABC- Radio National- Australia) she was interviewing some Catholic author and priest. (fr Richard Rohr) He was claiming that we can never limit our understanding of scripture to it's literal meaning, and that the mystical mind will find all manner of meaning and significance in holy writ.  He was waxing compassionate and kind of eloquent about how the New Testament held back from making 'judgemental' declarations, and emphasized it as an 'inclusive/compassionate' document.  He is plain wrong. Just read how Jesus described the Scribes, Pharisees and Lawyers in Matt 23. See what he said of Capernaum. This bloke was just yet another example of a man shaped and moulded by the loud cacophony of voices of this age, rather than a man of spine and spirit in the pattern of the New Testament. 

If you've already read the New Testament, it's worth a listen to the podcast to comprehend just how true are the words of John Stuart Mill when he says regarding opinion, that what one generation believes is right, is astonishingly absurd to the next etc.  Mill was pointing to the fickleness and fragility of the human soul when disconnected from it's spiritual and moral anchor.

The most memorable thing Rohr said was ..."Jesus had a penis" in connection with the issue of the struggle against the flesh. I surely did not expect to hear that on a serious discussion, but that's what he said. As Mill also said...we need to listen to error, and allow it to collide with truth, so that our perception of truth will be stronger.

Man up fellow believers, put on that armour of grace and pray those powerful prayers, we are going to need them all.

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