Thursday, December 30, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I have recently heard from numerous people from both political sides and all kinds of beliefs that "they" want us to spend more to save the economy.
"They" in this instance are the government officials. What I find interesting is that in general these people tend to agree that spending, or rather consuming is not the answer. The only premise I can gather is that the practice of consuming is bad. The idea that consuming is bad I can go along with in most cases, but I am not sure I can write off the practice of consuming goods as evil in general.
One thing we need to remember is that we live in a capitalist society. Oooo, I said capitalism, we all know that is inherently evil! Or is it? Sure, it can be a breeding ground for greed, but that doesn't necessarily make the economic structure greedy in itself, it means the people using it can use it for purposes for which it was not intended. In a capitalist society buying and selling are needed to keep the structure going. Buying is consuming.
Where I think we often get caught up though is that we equate buying/consuming with greed. Surely it is when we buy things only for ourselves, for our own use, and especially when we do not have the money to do so. Such consuming is greed. Let me flip that now. How different is that from storing up our goods or money so that only we have access to it and no one else, especially when we have plenty for ourselves in the foreseeable near future, and calling it savings? To me it's two sides of the same coin. Both are greed and have numerous theological implications, perhaps I'll get into that later.
Consuming goods doesn't have to mean we have to use or keep goods for ourselves. What it can mean is that we use the resources we have been blessed with to help and bless others so that the society we have been blessed to be born into can continue, if that is what you want.
Every time we buy a meal for ourselves (or somebody else) and tip we are paying wages for numerous people. Just something to think about.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Last, we left the Scandal of Particularity with the Israelites. God chose them as the path through which to reveal himself and his plans. In the Scandal though, God does not end it there. In his revelation of himself to the descendants of Abraham (Israelites) he revealed that a Messiah was going to come and be king, and that the whole world would be subject to this king. Here enters Jesus.
Jesus the Christ isn't just the next step in the Scandal, Jesus is the scandal. Jesus is everything the Israelites were intended to be as God's chosen people. He is the Messiah and the Son of God. So, if he is everything the Israelites were supposed to be, then he is where God reveals himself and his plan. Take a second to think about that and how it fits into the scandal of particularity. Jesus is the revelation of God to the world.
Jesus is the fulcrum of the Scandal of Particularity.
Part of why this is called a Scandal is that if Jesus is the Son of God, that is, the revelation of God and his will, then other people or gods are not. Meaning that Jesus is not one of many ways to get to, or to know God, rather he is the only way. Jesus speaks of himself in that very manner when he calls himself the Way, the Truth, and the Light.
This brings up another facet of the Scandal of Particularity. That is, that there is no passiveness when it comes to understanding Jesus. What I mean by this is the popular notion today that many people like Jesus, but not his church or followers. However, when more questions are asked about the Jesus such people like, it is not the Jesus of history and scripture but rather one they created, a revolutionary nice guy who was misunderstood. The problem with this view is that one has to go to great lengths to create such a Jesus out of imagination. Such a figure just isn't there in history, what is there is a figure that forces the classic "Messiah or Lunatic" argument. Meaning Jesus is who he claims to be, the only Way, or he is a dangerous nut, but never just a "nice guy who was misunderstood."
According to the Scandal, all of history leads up to Jesus and his life. It makes a permanent visible line in the sand, one of exclusiveness and inclusiveness. With Jesus, the Scandal became more evidently Particular, as it were. What are the ramifications for us today then?
If you find this interesting or have strong opinions either way, come on down to Cafe Hollander on Downer Ave tonight, 7pmish. There will be some open discussion time and probably a game or two. Ask for the reservation under 'Marc', we are normally upstairs.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
It is called the scandal of particularity for a reason. That is, God chose a particular path to reveal himself and his plan. Not that the existence, or aspects of, God's character cannot be known outside the particular path, but the specifics of God and his plan can only be known through the one path. This is often referred to as natural versus revealed knowledge of God.
The scandal begins with Noah. Noah is the first time in scripture where God chooses one route to carry on his promise of redemption from sin for all of creation. Noah's family is the only one to survive the world-wide flood. The second big time is Abraham. God makes a covenant with Abraham that creation will be redeemed through his ancestral line. This is eventually where the 12 tribes of Israel come into the picture. The 12 tribes eventually became the people of Jewish ancestry today. Which is why they refer to themselves as God's chosen people.
That is of course an oversimplification of the history but it gives a quick glance at the path of God's specific revelation and his plan. And that is why it is particular. While a relationship with God was available to all people during these parts of history, it was only available through the particular path. If one wanted to be right with God and know him, one had to believe what the chosen line said about God and know him the way they knew him. Sounds very exclusive doesn't it? Perhaps that is why it is referred to as a scandal.
That is enough to chew on for today. What thoughts does this first step in the conversation bring to mind?
Monday, November 8, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
If you have never been mini bowling you need to make this a priority this weekend. If you have been, then you know how fun it is, and now it is smoke free! We have all 4 lanes reserved, so tell your friends. We cover the cost of the lanes, and everyone chips in to tip the pin-setters (that's right, real live pin-setters!) Let's crowd up the joint.
This is a bar so you need to be 21+.
When: This Saturday November 6th, lanes reserved 7-9pm
Where: Koz's Mini Bowl map
Questions? email me at: marc.engelhardt at gmail.com
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
The title of this article comes from a White Zombie song, however I doubt Rob Zombie was thinking of it the same way I am.
What does it mean for Jesus to be truly human? Or the perfect human? It is rare today to find someone who denies the existence of Jesus as human, they might argue over his divinity, but rarely debate his humanity. At the same time it is pretty easy to find people who believe in the divinity of Jesus, but have little idea what it meant for him to be human.
The first answer usually given about Jesus' perfection as a human is that he is sinless. Okay, I agree with that, but what does that mean?
Next answer, is something to the point of how he didn't break any rules or laws, or he loves everybody. That sounds good, but what rules didn't he break, what does it mean to love everybody? I know of a few accounts in scripture where Jesus broke laws, at least according to their interpretation at the time. So how is he perfect? Did he never get sick or bleed? Is that what it means to be the perfect human?
Here on out the answers to the questions become varied and garbled. Let me offer one idea I find rarely pondered. It starts with the creation of humans. God made Adam and Eve in the image of God and set them over the rest of creation. Humans, from the start were to be God's ambassadors to creation, reflecting God's will and his will alone. The first sin was to chose a human's will over that of God's will and ever since that has been humanity's default setting. Thus, a ton of consequences that I won't get into here, but the point is, to be a human creature as we were to created to be is to always follow God's will for his creation.
This is why Jesus was perfect and sinless. This is why even though it may have seemed that Jesus had broken laws, he in fact never went against the Father's will for his creation. Which happens to be his usual rebuttal to those who question him.
Jesus is more human than any other human because he lives the way humans were created to be. In an unbroken connection to the will of the Father.
What questions does this idea then raise?
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Faith is unavoidable. I understand that some would argue that faith is not necessary, and that they do not have faith. However, that is another discussion, one of which after some give and take, I think most people would actually agree with me.
But what does having faith mean? I argue that having faith means to live as though something is true. At least until something more plausible comes along at which point one could put their faith in something else, and in doing so denying what they thought to be true before. In the end though, having faith necessitates corresponding behaviors.
An example would be this: I have been told not to look into the sun because it will damage my eyes. I haven't done any research on the matter, I haven't tested it, I don't know what exactly the damage would be on a molecular level, or anyone who has eye damage from the sun. I sure there is someone out there who has done all of that and who has some explanation as to why it happens, though probably incomplete in itself, but I accept that looking into the sun will damage my eyes in faith. Not on knowledge, and certainly not on experience.
This faith has ramifications. My behavior reflects that I believe it to be true, by that I mean I do not look into the sun. In fact, I take great precaution not to look into the sun. To push it further, people create special apparatus to look at solar eclipses because they believe the sun to damage eyes. Some who use these apparatus have no idea that the sun can damage eyes, yet they have faith that the apparatus is the proper way to look at a solar eclipse. Which means that in some, if not many situations, this is faith based on faith once removed. A phenomenon that is prevalent in the world.
The point to all this is that faith in what we believe to be true has ramifications everyday of our lives. For Christians, this is a call for daily repentance for denying what we believe to be true by how we live our lives. For non-Christians is this a call to take a second look at being so quick with calling Christians "hypocritical" as if it is a special category for some people. Christians cannot follow the way of Christ perfectly, that is why we need him, but how often do many non-Christians deny what they have faith in (believe to be true) by their own actions? It is an idea that deserves thought.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Please the previous post "Broken down, about as simply as I can put it" before reading this one.
So, because of our sinful condition, we rebel against God's priorities and God himself, which leads to eternal separation from God. Jesus is the answer to this problem.
Jesus is the Son of God made man. Fully human and fully divine--a mystery. What is known though is that Jesus was always the plan of God to repair the rebellion. Jesus is the perfect human, in that God's priorities were always his first priority, thus Jesus was without sin. Jesus' most basic message was 'Repent, God is about to do a great thing, he will die and then rise three days later, all who believe and call on his name will be forgiven their sin.'
Allow me to paraphrase the previous statement into words we have been using thus far, 'Give up your rebellion, the plan is about to come to fruition, here it is, God pronounces you sinless if you have faith in his plan.'
That is it in a nutshell. That is how Jesus puts us into the proper relationship with God. Any questions? Comments?
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Taking care of the poor and outcasts in society are clear ways to serve God. In fact, he tells us so to do. But what do you do when have no poor or outcasts among you. What if you live in a small town? What if you in a area where such people just aren’t readily available for you to serve? Well, you can seek them out. You can make special plans to help so and so, at such and such time. This is most definitely service, but I am not convinced it is the best or only way.
What about cutting a check? The money aspect of serving people. There is, and rightfully so, a consistent movement in the church for people to give their time and not just money. However, there are people in our world and society that need our money! There are whole agencies and programs set up in order to help people, but they need money in order to survive. But don’t just give, give like it isn’t your money anyway–trust me you won’t miss it.
So what about time? This is both harder an easier than we usually think. I am not talking about special group organized time. I am talking ways to serve weekly and daily. There are people in our lives that we don’t spend enough time with, whom have needs we may not even know about. I think that we often serve such people without thinking because many are close friends and family. However, here is the rub and the root of the challenge: how often do we not show our love for these people because we don’t have time or we are too tired, or don’t want to be bothered?
So here is challenge (I am going to try as well), every week think of someone in your life that you can serve by visiting, or by doing their chores, or anything basically putting them before yourself. As you plan your week, make that one of your top priorities, not the last. Such a way of life will take discipline. But come on, what are just a few hours out of your week? Just cut out some tele time.
Who’s with me?