Mark Sayers makes a point

I am looking at a young man’s car parked close to mine. On the dashboard of the car is a plastic figurine, it is Bart Simpson, he is pulling down his pants, and ‘mooning’ the world. Normally I would not stop and think about this, but this time I am shocked. I am not shocked out of a sense of oversensitive Christian piety, I have grown up with the Simpsons, and when it comes to butts I am the owner of one myself which has provided me with great support during my life. I am shocked however because I think of all the passionate, stubborn, activist, wildly revolutionary young people of history, who have fought to change the world, to bring down corrupt governments, overturn oppressive laws and regimes, who have given their lives on battlefields to improve the world. Sometimes they were right, sometimes they were misguided, but they believed in something. Of all the slogans, of all the messages that this young man could have sent the world, he chose this one. Bart’s nihilistic, plastic moon, exposes more than just are bare butt, it exposes our total lack of cultural depth, and reveals to us just how superflat our culture has become…Read full article at Mark Sayers brilliant blog

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Another Gem From David Timms

Our group (The Joondalup Thing) has many ongoing conversations. In fact one thing I love about our group is the ongoing nature and feel of the group between our more formal (?) gatherings. I would be a rich man if I got a dollar for every email sent during the week between our small group of friends. This week 2 themes have been thrown around at least by a small handful of us.
1. Is God a sexist? (Gender struggles)
2. Do we ‘bring people’ to something, an event a meeting to hear a preacher to meet the pastor? (Is our event any more or less sacred than when I go to my neighbours for coffee?)

David Timms who speaks into our group often via his weekly writings speaks well into some of the issues in this weeks thoughts.

“The Reformation principle of ‘the priesthood of all believers’ … teaches us that ‘the plow boy and the milk maid’ can do priestly work.
But even more profoundly it teaches us that the plow boy in his plowing and the milk maid in her milking are in fact doing priestly work.”
~ Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water, p.266.

Our Priestly Calling

The debate over women in ministry, the practice of only clergy baptizing converts, and the inordinate reverence attributed to the ordained, generally ignores the priesthood of all believers. Gender struggles, class distinctions, and specialist ministries create strange complications for this simple kingdom truth.

More than that, misunderstanding our vocation—our calling—robs us of the rich life Christ intended. Whoever submits to the Lordship of Christ and commits themself by faith to Him has a priestly calling.

The folk who officiate at our worship services and read Scripture at weddings and funerals play a valuable role among us. But if we insist that they alone are “ministers” or “priests” we deny our privilege and neglect our responsibility.

The implications reach far beyond this short reflection, but I suggest at least the following few points to consider.

First, the priesthood of all believers—biblically speaking—has no hierarchy among the believers and no distinctions between young and old, male and female, race, class, or heritage.

Second, the world is our sanctuary for ministry—not a building on Third and Main Streets that we open on Sunday mornings.

Third, it’s not that we sometimes do priestly things (pray, preach, or pastor) but everything we do becomes sacred. Whether we’re balancing budgets for large corporations or babysitting the neighbor’s kids, cooking meals or manufacturing ball-bearings—whatever we do in word or deed is now done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3:17)

Fourth, every one of us, at all times, in all places, with all people, function as priests. This is the dream of God. “And I shall make them a kingdom of priests.” (Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:6; 5:10) That means we constantly highlight the Presence of Christ among us, our hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) Just as the ancient Jewish priests gathered around the Holy of Holies and helped the people connect with God, so do we, whether we’re driving trucks, tutoring school children, or selling insurance.

We are priests in our work and as we work. If we can grasp the glorious significance of this truth, it will dramatically change our view of ourselves and those around us. The Lord has not called us to occasional sacred tasks. Instead, He desires to sanctify every task in our lives, from writing to wood-working, from plumbing to praying.

The artificial barriers between paid and unpaid kingdom-servants hinders our appropriation of this truth. Every follower of Christ brings the holy place to the world. May we do so more this week and grow in this grace.

In HOPE –
David

Interesting Comment on Evangelism

“[…they] do not believe in evangelistic strategies, other than the pursuit to be like Jesus in his interactions with others. They do not target people or have an agenda but rather seek to love all those whom God brings to them. They do not hope for a belief change for their conversation partners as much as a life change. Because of their high level of engagement with other cultures, the sacred/secular split is overcome as they practice the kingdom in their midst, in community.”

Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger cited in Scot McKnights, A community called atonement (Abingdon Press, 2007).

I wonder who “they” are? I wonder if “they” look like your/my church, your community group whatever.
I wonder if “just living it out” is just an excuse for not proclaiming their faith, or if in fact their faith is so ‘present’ in their lives that it is open and lived as a natural part of their lives”
Challenging hey, how different is your lifestyle? Enough to make people think, wonder, ask questions, consider their own lives?

Love Rules

Folks, you need to see this example of the love of Christ at work in our city.
Seriously, if you are wanting someone to come and share with your family, your church, your small group, your youth ministry, your elderly congregation, your play group mums, your craft group, you left wing anti-nuclear group, your right wing people for high morals group, your men’s wood working group, ladies bible study group…your whatever group – Jarrod McKenna will bless you and challenge you to think more deeply about living out the message of Christ in ‘real life’ tangible ways.
email me [Scott] for Jarrod’s contact details.

Click here for the full story.

Hirsch on Bonhoeffer…on Dischipleship

going troppo! the way of obedience

By Alan Hirsch on the forgotten ways

Bonhoeffer believed that the only way to truly comprehend the revelation of God in scripture is by approaching it with the pre-commitment to obey it. For those interested in weird theological terms, he calls this ‘tropological exegesis’ or simply ‘tropology’. Bonhoeffer can therefore speak of discipleship as a ‘problem of exegesis’ and goes on to say, “By eliminating simple obedience on principle, we drift into an unevangelical interpretation of the Bible.” So, if we never obey God we can never understand or follow him. Simply believing right doctrine is not enough. As followers of Jesus, we have to start obeying long before we know and understand much of Him whom we obey. More than that, if we take obedience out of the equation, we cannot even hope to truly understand the bible. Calvin can claim that true knowledge of God is born out of obedience, and to obey takes us to the path of action, of praxis, of goodness…

More…

Again, Al has written some challenging stuff here on his blog (thought he was having some time off after teaching, obviously his brain still works in his down times!!) I love Bonhoeffer and particularly his comments on discipleship and obedience. This stuff gets to the heart of it!

Confused about Morals and Politics?

  • Taking drugs? Selling them?
  • Had an abortion?
  • Are you desiring someone of the same sex? Want to marry them?
  • Had an affair?
  • Stolen money from your work place maybe?
  • Shot someone? Went to war and shot someone?
  • Rejected someone needing a home? Rejected a refugee (even in your mind) needing a country?

Which of the above are ‘moral issues’? All? Some? None?
It would seem that we pop abortion, prostitution, gay issues etc into a kind of special ‘moral category’ and the rest just kind of fall into some other box.

I have been challenged to think recently by a friend who emailed me regarding the Greens party and some of the ‘immoral’ issues they stand for. I appreciated his concern and the effort that had gone into his email.
On the surface it would appear he was right, that a party like the Greens stand for some things that ‘good Christians’ would stand against. (Not sure we are voting for parties to enforce Christian values though. Nice when they do.)
But beneath the surface the Howard Government has some extremely immoral actions to answer for;

  • It turns out that Australia invests only 5.8% of its GDP in education, which puts us 18th – close to the bottom – among countries in the OECD. We are below the average (OECD) on early childhood education spending and we have the lowest secondary school retention rates in the entire OECD!

So is a complete lack of commitment to our next generations education not an moral issue?

  • In a 2007 UNICEF report on the welfare of Children in 20 economically advanced countries it showed that nearly 10% of Australian children live in households where no one is employed – and that’s the highest rate of all the countries on the list except Hungary. (Figures show that kids in the above situation have a 27% greater chance of chronic sickness than other kids.)

A moral issue?

  • In a 2004 report in the Economist magazine it was reported that Australia is the worst country in the world for serious assault. One in two Australians will be assaulted in their life time.

Stats from Hugh Makay’s book Advance Australia Where?

How are we doing Australia?

Sorry to be a negative nelly, but I just feel like we measure the success of our nation by dollars and cents, and I would suggest that we are fools to do so. Money is one of the most deceiving ‘tellers’ of success. Just read Affluenza, Hamilton’s classic 2006 (5?) read to see evidence for that!

So will I vote Green, Labor? Not saying yet.
But what I am saying is that I think there are bigger ‘moral’ issues at stake than the two blokes next door wanting to get married. (Not that I don’t think that is still a moral issue)

To finish I will quote extensively from an email I got from a friend recently on this last topic, it no doubt raises more questions than it answers, but that’s ok…

In the case of homosexual union, what may be stopped [if the Greens came to power] is the unjust treatment of those who are different – gay couples might be legally recognised as capable of engaging in a loving, committed relationship with the compassion and perserverance to raise a family – heck, they might even be allowed to be recognised as a legal family unit and finally receive family payments just like every other heterosexual or single parent family. This doesn’t need to be endorsed by a legal marriage, but do Christians jump up and down at the unequally yoked marriages or the non-christians getting married or the christians getting married cause they got pregnant unintentionally. What about all those who get divorced – christian and non-christian – should they be allowed to get married in the first place, or should divorce become illegal to protect marriage? Is legalising marriage able to contain the essence of marriage anyway – what about the couples living together – in every way a married couple except for the paper and legal ceremony? Are they married? not under law, but do they get access to family rights under defacto laws? yes – because heterosexual union is the only union legally validated under the definition of “family” under any sort of conservative government.