Category: Politics

SCOTUS & The Benedict Option

SCOTUS & The Benedict Option.
We may be appreciate Rome and its body politic, with its form of government and revolutionary human rights. In many ways we are inheritors of a long Western tradition. But just before you start getting nostalgic for the return of Christendom, just remember: Rome fell to the barbarians. The structure could not hold back the wave of moral decay – with its tribalism and hatred.

The opposite reactions of hope (on the “right”) and despair (on the “left”) towards the recent nominee, reveals a deep lie that both sides believe: that morality trickles from the top-down, and change comes from the outside-in. The Christian position has always been that a person is transformed from the inside-out, an idea reinforced by various social teaching. If the society is the individual writ-large, then the alarm bells need to be rung.

One book that every Christian needs to read in this season of confusion and despair is_The Benedict Option_. Partisan politics aside, we all feel the odd mix of despair and hope, loss and gain. Despite the value for religious expression afforded, and extended, by the election of Donald Trump, and the appointment of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh – oh the times, they are a changing.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I may not celebrate everything Trump has said or everything he does, but I think he has done a good job picking these nominees. Besides channeling his inner-exorcist, this is one of the main things he is actually good at. But this won’t save us.
As Dreher has said elsewhere, the appointment of a conservative judge, who will most likely rule in favor of religious conscience and expression is not a proper disinfectant (no court is!) for the banal reality of a church that has been thoroughly colonized by modernity/secularism. Tradition was replaced by slogans like “just Jesus,” and meantime, students passionately worship with hands raised, and at the same time can’t articulate the faith, nor live in such a way that is recognizable to New Testament Christianity (see Christian Smith on the subject).
Just the other day, a friend of mine was explaining how she was talking to someone who was known for being a passionate Christian, and yet doesn’t understand why her brother would get married to his wife before they lived together to “test things out before taking the plunge.” No irony. No “I’m just kidding.” Just – “this is obvious, and clearly you must feel the same way.” (Did I mention than this person was a leader in the church?)
It may be anecdotal, but it is a perfect snapshot of the kind of hollowed out practice that has relegated the faith to a series of emotional rock concerts with Jesus’s name in lights.
A conservative judge is not going to be able to salvage the years of secular catechesis that has completely transformed our radical and revolutionary faith into a personalist niche, co-opted by Scrooge on one end, and Mr. Rogers on the other. (Apologies to both Mr. Scrooge and Mr. Rogers. At least they knew who they were!)
“What is more, the system has become so ossified politically that there is practically no way for such nonconformity to be implemented within its official structures.” – Havel
What’s the answer?
Christians (according to Dreher) should use the next two more years of temporary reprieve to build strong institutions that run together, not simply against, the norms and structures that are already in place. This is what Dreher and his sources of inspiration (Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Benda) call the “Parallel Polis.” We are already such a movement, whether we realize it or not.
In other words, we should not rely so heavily on electoral politics and the existing structures to continue to provide the social support we need to truly live as a people who freely associate with one another, without fear of hearing and speaking the truth. We run less of a risk of ghettoizing the faith if we instead seek to run parallel institutions that do a better job at facilitating truth, virtue, and dissent, than the existing structures, which have failed.
(The retreat into religious ghetto’s, as well as religious tyrannies, would make the church completely unrecognizable to itself.)
I’m not saying that America is a dictatorship. We have the separation of powers, the one miracle of the constitution. But I do believe that given our obsession with the technocracy, and willingness to become completely servile to modern technology, completely reliant upon its corporate whims and decisions, makes us servants of the most totalizing system known to mankind. (It is a unique turn in the history of totalitarianism that an entire people would become their own tyrants.)
What good is “freedom” if its ultimate objective is to do whatever one wants to do – to live according to desire alone? The individual may be “free” in the temporal sense, but a complete slave in the soul.
The church who focuses on more than just heaven is the “church militant.” She fights in the realm of transcendence, but also in the immanent, for re-souling of the world, and the salvation of peoples. As Havel says: “While life ever strives to create new and improbable structures, the post-totalitarian system contrives to force life into its most probable states.” If we have life, we should produce structures.
Rod Dreher says this, from his blog: “The Benedict Option is about getting ready for what is here now, and what is yet to come. If you’re only retreating, and not fighting, then you are wasting one of the few chances we likely have left. But if you’re only fighting, and not also retreating (in the sense I mean: to within a defensible perimeter), then you are leaving yourself, your family, your church and your community vulnerable.”
Five possiblities:
1. Churches should practice dissent and freedom of speech within its own walls.
2. Churches should celebrate limited government, not because they are filled with Republicans (who are no longer for limited gov’t anyway, just look at their spending habits when they are in power), but because a limited State makes the religious community more empowered to take up more space in the public life, which, I’m arguing, is always a good thing.
3. Churches should practice more solidarity with the victims of immigration, violence, divorce, abortion, and general societal decay. The family should once again be lifted up as the pre-political good in society.
4. Churches need to bolster their efforts in education, not only creating new classical schools in the area, but making sure that they are affordable for poorer families. Why can’t churches with loose associations, with their multi-denominations and philosophies, come together and fund a school whose goal is to build virtue within its young people? (I’m sure their SAT scores would exceed every public and private competitor!)
5. Churches should unite in more than just prayer and worship, but also in church discipline and in the construction of a parallel polis (society). This gives me the most hope.
6. The church should see acts of mercy as an eschatological hope, which we don’t expect to get much in the immediate, except that we continue to radically sow seeds of love within the hearts of the marginalized and the disenfranchised. In this, we would all do better to learn from the radical catholic socialists, such as Dorothy Day, and the more conservative, but still radical, Heidi and Roland Baker.
7. And finally, the family home should be re-ignited as the primary “school of conversion,” by which people outside of the atomic family are brought in, and children are taught the ways of the Kingdom of God.
Look, I don’t have all the answers. I’m sure I’ve missed some things along the way. This is just a post. It probably will not make much of a difference in the long run. But if I have glossed over anything then please forgive me. I cherish your thoughts and questions.
Cheers!

Syndicated from Jon Beadle

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Dear Greg: How Do You Handle Assumptions People Make About You When They Learn You Are a Christian?

Greg talks about demonstrating counter-examples in a world overflowing with assumptions and prejudices. 
Send Questions To:
Dan: @thatdankent
Email: askgregboyd@gmail.com
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Artwork: Self-Portrait with Masks
by: James Ensor
Original Title: Ensor aux masques
Date: 1899
The post Dear Greg: How Do You Handle Assumptions People Make About You When They Learn You Are a Christian? appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Syndicated from Greg Boyd – ReKnew

How the Bible Sounds in Occupied Territory

One more reflection based on my time spent in Palestine and Israel over the past few weeks. After this, I shall endeavour to give this “blogging sabbatical” thing another, better, try.
 ——
It’s an interesting thing how geography and social location affects the way you read and hear Scripture. Most Sundays, I am reading and hearing Scripture as a relatively comfortable, white, middle-class Christian in a more or less peaceful country where religion often occupies a peripheral (at best) role in most people’s thinking and living. This affects how I read and hear the words of the Bible. My default, whether I want this or not, tends to be to listen in ways that will more or less endorse and validate myself and those who are like me. This is, as I said, most Sundays. Last Sunday, however, I worshiped in Palestine.
It was a tiny little Lutheran church where we gathered in Beit Sahour, just outside Bethlehem. It was a mixture of Palestinian Christians and foreigners who happened to be lingering around the town of Jesus’ birth. The liturgical forms in the service were familiar enough, even if the language wasn’t. But they had transliterated the readings and prayers and it was possible, with a bit of effort, to follow along. The Scripture readings were done in both Arabic and English. And given what we had seen and heard in the previous week about how the Israeli occupation was affecting our Palestinian sisters and brothers, the readings sounded, well, different.
Psalm 35:1-10
We began the service by responsively reading from this Psalm. I am used to reading psalms like this through the lens of either the ancient Israelites or the suffering church. But it was impossible, in this place, to not hear through the ears of those who presently find themselves on the wrong end of the score in the Holy Land—those who are harassed and harried by teenage soldiers wielding automatic weapons, those who endure endless checkpoints and discriminatory policies restricting where they can go and when and how, those who are increasingly sequestered into urban ghettos by legislation that seems cruelly crafted to drive them from their farms and their land.

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler, and rise up to help me!
[S]ay to my soul, “I am your salvation…”
For without cause they hid their net for me; without cause they dug a pit for my life. Let ruin come on them unawares. And let the net that they hid ensnare them; let them fall in it—to their ruin.
Then my soul shall rejoice in the Lord, exulting in his deliverance. All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like you? You deliver the weak from those too strong for them, the weak and needy from those who despoil them.”

I don’t really have anyone contending with me in Canada, no real need for a shield or buckler. But my sisters and brothers from Beit Sahour do. They long for a strong arm of deliverance from those too strong for them.
It is grimly ironic that those who see themselves as descended from the same David who penned this Psalm, those who were once the weak that needed rescue from those who despoiled them, are now the ones that Palestinian Christians are praying for deliverance from.
Luke 16:19-31
The rich man and Lazarus… One enjoyed the best things in life while the other experienced only suffering and deprivation. Both die. The rich man ends up in torment in Hades and cries out to Father Abraham, with Lazarus by his side, saying, “Please, just a drop of water for my agony!” Father Abraham says, “Well, you’ve had your good things, haven’t you? You’ve been on the right end of the score for quite some time, and now the tables are turned.”
Father Abraham.
It must be such a complicated thing for Palestinian Christians to reckon with the word “Israel” in their Scriptures. But here, Father Abraham, patriarch of the nation, speaks a word of hope to them, to those who endure water shortages and intermittent electricity in the blistering heat of summer, to those who look over the (large and imposing) fence and see their Israeli neighbours with unlimited access to water and gleaming shopping malls and newly paved freeways (that Palestinians can’t use)…
Father Abraham says, “Comfort is coming, even across this vast chasm.”
1 John 4:15-21
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
This land is often called “holy.” Everywhere you go, it seems, something holy happened once upon a time. This is the place where Abraham died or where David did this or that or where Rachel is buried or where Jesus was born or where Muhammad went on his night journey. This is where God has apparently done a great many special things for a great many special people in a great many holy books. But what makes a land “holy?” What makes it matter to God? How would we ever know?
According to 1 John, it would seem rather simple. A land is “holy” because of the presence of love and unholy where this love is absent. God abides in those who love. And, presumably, takes his leave of those who persist in enmity and strife and all manner of unlove. God has little interest in this or that chunk of dirt where this or that thing happened in this or that holy book—at least not when it isn’t accompanied by love.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.  We love because he first loved us.  Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.

Like I said, the bible sounds different in occupied territory.
——
I took the picture above at Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. The man in this picture is the father of the boy in the poster below the UN sign. It is his thirteen year old son who was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier in that exact location. The father now spends most of his days volunteering at the UN center for his refugee camp.

Syndicated from Rumblings

Somewhere to Be

I know I’m technically on a “blogging sabbatical,” but I decided to interrupt it to offer a few reflections and observations on a trip I’m presently on to Israel and Palestine. One of the things we consistently hear wherever we go in this conflicted area is, “Tell others what you have seen and heard with your own eyes and ears.” It’s a serious call, and one that I feel an obligation to respond to given the privilege that I have of being here. Here are some assorted stories and reflections from my first few days here.
At 5:30 yesterday morning we made our way to the main checkpoint that Palestinians must take to get from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. We were coming a bit later in the morning—most Palestians (men, mainly) arrive before 4:00 am in order to ensure that they can get through in time to get to work on the other side by 7:00 or so. After a briefing from a few humanitarian monitors of the checkpoint, we proceeded through a labyrinth of cages and turnstiles and barbed wire and metal detectors and soldiers. We wanted to get a sense of what it was like to be a Palestinian for whom this is a daily reality.
But of course we only got a tiny sense of what it was actually like. It was far emptier than earlier in the morning. We got to sleep in until 5:00 am to get there rather than waking as early as 1:00 am to travel from surrounding villages to arrive at the checkpoint by 4:00. We had no need to consider if our employer would be waiting for us on other side, no cause to worry about a medical appointment we might miss, no anxiety about whether we might be turned back once we finally got to the Israeli soldiers, often for reasons as simple as expired paperwork or the fact that there were reports of someone in our village who threw a stone at an Israeli vehicle. Or less. We didn’t have a hard day of labour in the hot sun to look ahead to once we made it through the lineup (which can take anywhere from half an hour to two hours, depending on how many metal detectors they decide to open at any given point of the day). We didn’t have any anxiety about whether we’d even have a job waiting for us on the other side nor did we have to struggle with the grim irony that surely must accompany the common reality of Palestinian day labourers building helping to build Jewish settlements on what is supposed to be their land. We didn’t have to think about doing it all over again tomorrow morning. And the morning after that. And the morning after that… We got through with barely a disinterested glance at our passports and made our way back to the hotel for hot coffee and breakfast.
At one point when we were walking along the long walkway that felt like a livestock chute, an older Palestinian man said to me, “Welcome to our checkpoint, what do you think?” I shook my head and mumbled something like, “I don’t quite know what to say when I see something like this… What do you think?” He just smiled and said, “Every day,” before hurrying off past me. I suppose he had somewhere to be.
We spent part of Sunday touring through the Old City of Jerusalem. At one point, my wife and I wandered down from the Al Aqsa mosque toward a lookout point that faces over toward the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives. There was a structure there and I offhandedly asked the guy beside me if he knew what it was. He proceeded to summon his Holy Land tour leader to come over and answer my question. What followed was some interesting theology.
“Well, you see, this is the East Gate but the Muslims have walled it off and built a cemetery on the other side… And of course we know that when Jesus returns he will touch down on the Mount of Olives and make his way over here to institute the new temple… But he can’t set foot in the Muslim cemetery, of course (of course?)… Luckily, it was recently discovered that there was a fault line on top of the Mount of Olives… And of course (of course?) we know that this fault line is designed by God to literally split the earth in half and pave the way for Jesus to triumphantly reenter Jerusalem. My face must have looked rather blank as I pondered this image of king Jesus parachuting down from heaven onto the Mount of Olives to be ushered via earthquake through the remains of a Muslim cemetery to reestablish a Jewish temple. An interesting eschatological path to take for the Prince of Peace. Jesus, too, apparently, has somewhere to be.
As I reflected upon these two experiences, I wondered what might happen if the Holy Land tour guide I met would walk through an Israeli checkpoint. I wonder if he might get a glimpse into the grinding, soul-crushing daily reality that his theological fervour feeds into for ordinary human beings. Would he pause to wonder if his need for the nation state of Israel and Jerusalem in particular to be a staging ground for his particular version of eschatological pyrotechnics legitimates the kind of struggle and suffering for ordinary people that is obvious at the checkpoint? Would he soften his position in any way? Would he think twice before mapping out Jesus’ triumphant (and violent) return to Jerusalem for eager tourists every day? Or would he only see tens of thousands of potential terrorists being daily herded like cattle through a maze of steel and barbed wire?
I don’t know the answer to these questions. Obviously. I don’t know the answer to very many questions when it comes to this part of the world. But I do know that if this land is ever going to turn into somewhere to be for both Jews and Palestinians, it is going to require a determination to imagine things from the perspective of the other and to at least try to see a human being where it’s so easy to see only an enemy. It’s going to require Jesus-y things like forgiving what seems impossible to forgive, in turning cheeks that have been stung too many times with violence. It’s going to require walking miles that we have little interest in walking to places we would rather not go because we’re convinced that there has to a better future around the bend.

Syndicated from Rumblings

Jesus’ Kind of Social Justice

For many, the primary way of building the kingdom is to influence politics in order to make America more Christian. Others take the opposite approach, concluding that Jesus didn’t try to overhaul the political systems of his day through political means; therefore Christian faith is only a private matter that has no social relevance. Both approaches get it wrong.
Because Jesus did not allow the society or politics of his day to define his ministry, he positioned himself to make a revolutionary prophetic impact upon his society and the politics of the time. Jesus did not buy into the limited options the culture placed before him. He rather exposed the ugly injustices in all kingdom-of-the-world options by offering a radically distinct alternative.
For example, Jesus never entered into the fray of particular debates about the status of women in society. He rather exposed the ugliness of patriarchalism by the countercultural way he treated women. Ignoring negative consequences for his reputation, Jesus befriended them and gave them a culturally unprecedented dignity.
In a similar way, Jesus did the same for social outcasts. He served lepers, the blind, the demonized, the poor, prostitutes, and tax collectors. His actions were a challenge to the inhumanity of social structures of the day that served as a mustard seed alternative that started small but grew slowly.
Jesus also exposed the inhumanity of certain religious rules, which was a political problem in the first century because religious leaders had political power. He exposed the evil of racial prejudice by fellowshipping with Samaritans and Gentiles, and he even praised them in his teachings. In addition, he healed and worked miracles on the Sabbath, something that religious leaders forbade.
Finally, Jesus exposed the barbarism of the Roman government by allowing himself to be crucified by them. Instead of using his power to preserve his life, he exercised the power of love by giving it.
The power of the kingdom is not one where Christians aim to attain “power over” like the kingdoms of the world. Instead, we exercise “power under.” We therefore must resist the demonic pull toward “power over” violence that characterizes all versions of the kingdom of the world. “Power under” unmasks the ugly injustice and violence that dominates our political and social systems and doesn’t wage war “against flesh and blood” but instead fights against “rulers, against authorities, against cosmic powers of this present darkness (Eph 6:12).
It is a beautiful kingdom that is not so much spoken as it is displayed through loving action.
Jesus called the church to be a community characterized by radical, revolutionary, Calvary-quality love: a community that manifests the love of the triune God; a community that strives for justice not by conquering but by being willing to suffer; a community that God uses to transform the world by providing it with an alternative to its own self-centered, violent way of existing.
How socially and politically revolutionary it would be if we lived up to our calling!
—Adapted from The Myth of a Christian Nation, pages 119-122
The post Jesus’ Kind of Social Justice appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Syndicated from Greg Boyd – ReKnew

Let Us Remember: Slavery Built America

American slaves are just as much veterans as those who have served in the military.

Today is Memorial Day. A day where we celebrate our ‘victories’ and mourn our losses, while respecting those who have sacrificed. The past two years, I have written pieces regarding my frustrations and moral qualms with Memorial Day. While I could write further on the subject, this year I don’t want to be re-writing the same old thing. What I want to do, instead, is show how if we demand to participate in this day of remembering what our ‘freedom’ costs, we must remember the African slaves and anti-Black culture that dominates America. Without our racist practices, and without the free labor that slavery provided, our capitalist society, our war machine (and thereby war effort), and the ‘liberties’ we have today would be nonexistent and would have failed. Our heinous, evil practice of dehumanization is what got us to where we are today. Freedom costs us – it costs us our conscience. Which begs the question – are we really free?
Much ink has been spilled to show that without slavery, colonialism, and imperialism, the economic strength of America would be much more fragile. When one wants power, one must take it from someone else. Whether that be nationally, culturally, or individually. America is great at it.
Unfortunately, I do not have the time to put forth a well written piece, so my hope here is primarily to compile resources to show that we must remember that we are not the good guy. I repeat: WE. ARE. NOT. THE. GOOD. GUY. We have enslaved. We have pillaged. We have raped. We have destroyed. We have killed. All for our own selfish needs (don’t tell me we were justified in WWII. We refused to assist until we ourselves were bombed. We entered for selfish motive. I mean, let’s not forget we refused to help out the Jews seeking refuge while they were being burned alive.) – no questions asked. How dare we celebrate that? To do so is to spit in the face of Christ – The Suffering. The One who would rather die than kill. Who would rather carry a cross than a gun. But it is also to spit in the face of the 20 million Africans enslaved in the making of the American Empire. Without their forced free labor, without their lives being totally given to the American machine, without any say on their part, the American experiment would not have been nearly as successful as it is, economically speaking. Without the 200-300 years of slavery (slavery isn’t over. Don’t get me started on the subject of mass incarceration and unpaid/underpaid prison labor), we would not have had the resources to ‘win’ the wars we did. Oh the irony of a country that celebrates the “self-made man.” No such thing. If you’ve made it, you’ve made it because we have a history resting on a precedent of human bondage.
May God have mercy on us.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but in the broader narrative of American history, these black slaves, so dearly unappreciated, gave at least as much as veterans in the military. They gave the entirety of their existence. To this day, American culture is such that we have to consistently yell over the sea of white: Black Lives Matter. If we don’t, we forget. Heck, when we do, we’re deaf. Black people are the unsung heroes of this nation. They built it. We forced them to. They gave us our ‘victories.’ They are veterans. They deserve to be recognized. Celebrate Blackness this Memorial Day, not greed, not war, not murder!
As I always try to do, I want to be clear: I am not trying to de-value American veterans. While I think war is anti-Christ in nature, and to participate in killing is contrary to the message of Jesus Christ, I respect veterans. They are truly an underappreciated, disregarded piece of American culture. I appreciate that they have sacrificed their time, their energy, their limbs, their minds. They have given a lot. I would just argue, they did so for the wrong reasons. They did so for America, not for Christ. Christ has absolutely nothing to do with allegiance to a nation. That does not, however, diminish their importance as human beings. That does not mean Christ does not love them, nor does it mean I do not wish to try to myself, in my own frail way, of course. That does not mean when they come back home injured, bleeding, scared, alone, that we should discard them. We should care for them, help them along – welcome them with open arms. If you have served in the military, whether for this country, for North Korea, or the Nazi regime – you are beloved to Christ. But…so is the person you were sent to fight.
Below are some articles regarding how 300 years of slavery made our capitalist system possible, and therefore, our victories at war (given our economic abilities) possible. I encourage you to research, research, research. Ask questions. Seek to understand the world outside your own experience.
Peace be unto you.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2017/05/03/the-clear-connection-between-slavery-and-american-capitalism/#597eac097bd3
https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-slavery-gave-capitalism-its-start
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/24/slavery_n_4847105.html
https://www.chronicle.com/article/SlaveryCapitalism/150787
https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/slavery-and-rise-capitalism
https://isreview.org/issue/99/slavery-capitalism-and-imperialism
https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/18/how-slaves-built-american-capitalism/
http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15556.html
 
 

Syndicated from Interdependently Independent

Thinking is Hard (Or, The Value of Squirming)

I’ve been reading Alan Jacobs’ little book How to Think over the last few days. It doesn’t contain anything particularly new, but it has been yet another reminder of just how bad at thinking we often are and are becoming, particularly in the digital age. Jacobs does not paint a flattering portrait. Reactionary ideological sloganeering easily and often replaces careful, nuanced thinking about difficult issues. More often than not, the things we think are determined less by actual investigation and weighing of evidence than by our need for social belonging and our desire to have an “other” to define ourselves in opposition to. We are yanked around by emotional reactions and impulses and then tell a rational story to reframe our views as the result of logical analysis. We are masters at lying to ourselves about why we think the things we do, at taking shortcuts when we can’t be bothered to deal with complexity, and at regurgitating platitudes in the confident expectation that this will be affirmed by the people we seek to impress and the groups we hope to belong to. All in all, according to Jacobs, we’re not nearly as good at thinking as we think we are.
A few recent experiences have me thinking about the way I think. First, I was out in Saskatchewan last week speaking to a group of high school students. Not surprisingly, all anyone wanted to talk about was the terrible accident involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team that claimed sixteen lives. It was like an open wound in that part of the province, as I wrote about in my previous post. On the last day I was there, many people were talking about a tweet that was making the rounds online that was saying something to the effect of, “Do you think there would have been the same outpouring of grief and solidarity (and money! I believe the GoFundMe page that started to support the victims’ families is now over $13 million) if the victims weren’t white, male, and hockey players?
The tweet was as predictable for our cultural moment (there is nothing that we seem incapable of reducing to a referendum on identity) as was the response (a great deal of unbridled anger). We talked about this a bit in the chapel I was leading. I confess that my initial response to the tweet was also anger. Why would you turn a province’s mourning into an opportunity to play identity politics?! But then I asked myself why I was having that reaction. I brought it up with the students as well. Some of them became visibly angry at the mention of the tweet. But if we all were to press pause on the emotional responses and actually think about it, we must surely acknowledge that there is at the very least a question worth asking there, right?
What if the bus was carrying not young white male hockey players but indigenous kids coming back from a pow-wow or, say, a Christian high school girl’s choir returning from a competition? Could we imagine the same response? Could we imagine $13 million in a GoFundMe account? It seems unlikely to me. This is to take nothing away from the horror of the crash and the devastating ways in which it affects those who lost family and friends. But do we have the intellectual and emotional bandwidth to at some point (perhaps not in the immediate aftermath of tragedy!) ask questions about the role that hockey (and sport, more generally) plays in our cultural imagination and whether this is a good thing? Can we think about even harder questions involving race and gender without losing our collective minds (on either side of the spectrum)?
The second experience involves the ongoing crisis in Syria. Recent news has been dominated by the alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad government in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. It has reignited public outcry and has led to military strikes by Western powers. This week, I have been having conversations with a Syrian Orthodox priest who has come from the besieged city of Homs to visit the families that our group of churches sponsored a few years ago. It has brought to the surface some political discussions that I mostly try to avoid with my Syrian friends. To put things bluntly, they do not have much use for the narrative of their country that we hear about in Western media. Syrian Orthodox Christians are mostly, although not exclusively, solidly in Assad’s camp. Where we see mostly honest reporting about Syria, they see a propaganda campaign against their president. Where many in the west see a courageous revolution against a brutal dictator, they see terrorists trying to overthrow a political regime that was stable and protective of their people.
This makes for some squirming on my part. The thought that people that I like and respect see someone like Assad as a hero is unsettling. But it also forces me to think a bit harder about why I think the way that I do. It has forced me to acknowledge that I am just as conditioned by the media that I consume as they are by theirs. It has led me to consider how I might feel if I was part of a 10% minority of Christians who had seen what happened in places like Libya when dictators are deposed and governments far less friendly to Christians moved in. It has given me pause to wonder how indebted I might feel to a government whose armed forces literally pulled my family out of the rubble of a war zone. Might I be inclined to see such a government differently? It feels more than a little silly (not to mention dangerously naïve) for someone who has never experienced war and who has only the most fragmentary understanding of the history and politics of the region to be pronouncing upon who the good guys and the bad guys really are. And it probably should.
These experiences have delivered to me a rather obvious and necessary reminder: there’s a lot that I don’t know. I try to read broadly and be reasonably well-informed, but there’s always another perspective to consider, always another experience to take on board, always another way in which my own self limits the views I’m prepared to consider and why. My thinking is profoundly constrained, often in ways I am barely aware of or willing to acknowledge. And so is yours. And so is the thinking of my Syrian friends and my grieving Saskatchewan neighbours and everyone else under the sun.
Thinking is hard.
Which is why I think that it a crucial starting point is self-awareness. We must look at the proverbial log in our own eye before presuming to straighten out the thinking of everyone else. We must be honest about all that we don’t know and about all the ways in which our thinking has very little to do with what we think and a lot to do with how we feel and what we would prefer to be the case and why.

Syndicated from Rumblings

Same Jesus

Last night our little church had the opportunity to hear from what is a bit of a rarity in southern Alberta: a Syrian Orthodox priest. We have a connection with Father Lukas Awad that goes back three years. I first met him when he was touring the province with a group connected to MCC Alberta. Through a series of events, this initial meeting led to our group of churches sponsoring families from his parish in Homs that were refugees in Lebanon at the time. Father Lukas has thirteen families from his parish scattered throughout the province of Alberta, including six here in Lethbridge. 
Father Lukas shared about life in Syria, the history of the conflict, the challenges facing the church in Syria and how they are responding. He answered questions with warmth, humility and gratitude. It was a special night. And I wanted to register a least a few impressions of our time together, for my own sake, if nothing else. I realize that not everyone who reads this blog is interested in the goings-on of our little church, but if these reflections and observations are interesting to others, that’s obviously great, too.

The night offered a painful reminder of just how much our Syrian friends have lost. At one point, Father Lukas showed videos of his city and church before and after the conflict. There were scenes of devastation, obviously, but there were also plenty of images of ordinary people going about their daily life in his parish—singing, worshiping, dancing, playing, laughing. I was sitting beside one of our Syrian friends and the tears flowed freely. Perhaps we sometimes imagine that those who flee a war zone will obviously and continuously be grateful and happy for living in a wonderful place like Canada. But Syria is their home. Each one of them has left behind friends and family, familiar forms of communal life, language, culture, food, weather, etc. These are painful losses and the pain doesn’t just go away.
Father Lukas gave another powerful reminder (to me, at least) of the good and vital work that MCC does around the world. MCC has been working in Syria since the 1990s. They work with the Orthodox church in providing food, medicine, support in orphanages, and language training among other things. Indeed, Father Lukas’s excellent English is due in no small part to the work of MCC in his region. It made me proud to be associated with this agency, even if in a small way.
I was inspired by his stories of how the church is holding fast to Christ, sometimes in the face of enormous persecution and threat of violence. He told stories of those giving up their lives rather than convert to Islam or leave their homes. I heard these stories after spending part of an afternoon reading up on the Anabaptist history of martyrdom for a presentation I have to do next week. Tertullian famously said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. It was and it is.
Another deeply moving story was when he told us about how his parish in Homs had opened their facility to host over one hundred people for a year and a half. They provided a place to sleep, medicine, food, with the help of agencies like MCC and others. Most of these people that found refuge in his church were Muslims. He reminded us of the parable of the Good Samaritan and about how Jesus says that “the good man is the one who helps.”
I was struck, once again, simply by how ancient the Syrian Orthodox Church is. I knew this, of course—I even put up a timeline of Christian history at the beginning of the evening to give people a sense of how to contextualize and locate Mennonite and Orthodox Christians. But at one point in the evening, Father Lukas was talking about how one church that had recently been rebuilt in his region dated back to 59 AD. Which is, like before the gospels were written. A bit of historical perspective, that.
During the question period, someone asked about how Orthodox Christians view Assad. I had secretly hoped this question wouldn’t come up. But Father Lukas handled it with humility and honesty. Yes, Christians tend to support Assad, he said. This is because Bashar and his father Hafez were the first to grant Christians political rights and we fear that these will be taken away. We are only ten percent of the population. We see what has happened after leaders have been overthrown in other countries in the region. We worry about what would come in to fill the vacuum. Conversations like these have an uncomfortable way of chipping away at assumptions. And I would hope that our Syrian friends would be willing to engage in stories and conversations from other perspectives as well.
Father Lukas and I had some light banter about our “uniforms.” He obviously looks way cooler than I do. He has hair, first of all. And he has robes (my wife always tells me that I should start wearing robes… I somehow don’t think that would fly). The Orthodox and Mennonite churches obviously inhabit very different locations on the Christian spectrum, whether with respect to theology or liturgy or history or all of the above. But I was proud to introduce Father Lukas as my “brother in Christ.” I believe it deeply. And I was equally proud to hear him call me “brother and friend.” It was a more emotional moment than I expected. It called to mind a conversation I had with one of our Syrian friends last year. After commenting on all of the iconography and saints and rituals of the Orthodox Church, I said to my friend, “We don’t really have any of that in the Mennonite church.” She almost interrupted me in her halting (at the time) English: “Doesn’t matter. Same Jesus.”
Father Lukas told me that some day, when the war is over, I must come to Syria to visit. One of my Syrian friends hollered out loudly from the back of the room that he was coming too. He’s talked to me before about wanting to show me his home. I can think of few trips that I would rather make.

At the end of the evening, Father Lukas presented our church with a gift. It was a plaque with a picture of Jesus and Mary on either side of an Orthodox cross, with the text of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic underneath. After this, he led our Syrian friends in a sung version of this prayer, in Aramaic, the language of the same Jesus that unites us and calls us friends and brothers and sisters.
——
The image above is an icon commissioned by the Marist Brothers Australia that is meant to emphasize that all disciples around the world are “centered and enlivened by the Risen Christ.” It is taken from the 2017-18 Christian Seasons Calendar.   

Syndicated from Rumblings

Aglow International Ghana – Selling the Golden Pot of The Kingdom of God For The Ceramic Bowl of Ghana.

I write this post in memory of a very dear brother, Sidney Laud Yaw Nii Sai Schandorf, who died in a senseless road accident on 2 April 2018. Sidney was one of the few friends of mine who had a keen sense of how Ghanaian culture has co-opted and reduced Christianity to a toothless bulldog at culture’s service. May his soul rest in peace.
Those of you who are friends of mine, especially on Facebook will find that I have been critical of and sometimes perplexed by the Ghanaian chapter of Aglow International (formerly called “Women’s Aglow”). But given that many of us are Ghanaian Christians are children of Christendom, my criticism of the Aglow movement seems unfair and to some people, even unpatriotic. But I’m an Anabaptist, and anyone familiar with Anabaptist history knows that I’m not the first one to be accused of being unpatriotic. So, let me explain why I criticize the Ghanaian instance of the Aglow International, and by extension, all the groups championing “intercessory prayer for Ghana”. Let me start by painting a picture of what I know about Aglow International Ghana.

Aglow International Ghana

In my younger years, I knew of “Women’s Aglow” as a Christian women’s support group, gathering Christian women across many denominations to discuss and come up with strategies for supporting the well-being of Christian women in Ghana. This they did through the creation of many small groups they called “fellowships” which meet regularly to discuss and plan their activities. I believe this continues to be the same mode of operation of the organization. They were very much on the quiet, making their impact in their own way, and endearing Ghanaian Christian women to them. In this respect, I highly commend their efforts at bringing women together despite their different Christian heritages. It’s not an easy task, and I know a thing or two about ecumenism.
This was the Aglow I knew from afar before things changed. I’m not too sure when it began, but I believe it’s been a decade or so now since the organisation began bringing Ghanaian women together to “intercede for Ghana” on a monthly basis. This intercessory prayer is held at venues across all 10 regions in Ghana, including the Black Star square, one of the largest outdoor spaces in the capital. One can only imagine the financial outlay involved in this effort, including the TV & radio adverts that go out to inform people about these events. Knowing how influential and long-standing this organization is, I can imagine a lot of it is via sponsorships.
But my concern is not how its funded. My concern is what this says about the organization. My concern is how this monthly national prayer marathon shapes the identity of this organization. Because to the much younger generation of Ghanaians, the name “Aglow International” immediately evokes one identity – “that group of women who are always praying for Ghana”. And though that may sound like a good thing to many Ghanaians, this identity of being the “intercessors for Ghana” is actually against the heart and soul of the mission of kingdom of God and the calling to be disciples of Jesus.
Let me explain myself, via a criticism of Christendom. I know I use the term “Christendom” a lot without actually explaining it. There are many ways in which that term is used, but when Christians who are critical of Christianity’s failures use the term, we refer to a false sense of identity, safety and power that many Christians have inherited from the fusion of church and state, which began during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century and still exists in different forms to this day. For further reading on Christendom, you can look up the work of John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, David Fitch and Stuart Murray. Many Christian churches and denominations still operate with a Christendom mindset, hence their church members (including the leaders and 99% of the women in Aglow International) aren’t able to discern the difference because that’s what Christendom, masquerading as Christianity has taught them.

The problem isn’t Aglow International, the problem is that Aglow International is a child of Christendom, not Christianity.

Christendom and The Kingdom of God

One of the easiest ways to discern the blindness that Christendom gives us is to gauge whether a Christian/group of Christians are more “Christian” first and then Ghanaian, or “Ghanaian” first, and then Christians.
You see, when Jesus used the term “the kingdom of God” in the Gospels, he was appropriating a term that his hearers already knew, but was redefining it in ways that were extremely uncomfortable to them. 1st century Jews believed that the “kingdom of God” meant the rule of the God of Israel (Yahweh) over the world in which he will favour his covenant people (the Jews) and punish their enemies – the immediate ones like the Romans ruling over them at the time, as well as the Samaritans and the Syrians; and the further away ones like Egypt, Assyria and Babylon. And yet Jesus told these Jews that the kingdom of God was defined by loving one’s enemies, so that they might be true children of their father in heaven.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:43-45)
Hence, when he was asked “who is my neighbour”, Jesus answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan, pointing out to the Jew who asked that question that the Samaritans whom Jews hated were actually their neighbours.
In effect, Jesus was saying that the kingdom of God was no longer centered around 1 nation – Israel – but was now a multinational, multiracial, multi-ethnic, multi-gender, multi-social domain across the world. Yahweh, the God of Israel was no longer interested in just one nation of people anymore, he now considered all humanity to be one, and his goal was to teach them to abandon their gods and be faithful to him only, together with his previously chosen people – the Jews. This was the number one reason why Jesus was killed – instead of preaching violence, he preached a way of peace and an identity that enabled humanity to transcend our differences. The Jews needed a violent Messiah to overthrow their oppressor (Rome), and weren’t going to fall for this “love your enemies” bullshit. Hence the leaders had him dispensed off with false charges, though he was innocent of them.
This new identity is what Jesus calls his disciples to. Of course, every human will be born into a nation and a family, an identity which they will need to own. But followers of Jesus, by agreeing to be baptised into his death and resurrection (Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27), die to their nationality and rise up first and foremost as disciples of Jesus (aka Christians) before they continue life as citizens of their country.
That is why there is no such thing as a “Christian nation”, because the church worldwide is one Christian nation. The church is made up of people who are “neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free” (Gal 3:28). By baptism, one’s identity as a disciple is now more important than one’s nationality, ethnicity or tribe.
If you find this difficult to understand, then you are a better disciple of Christendom than of Jesus, and Christendom has trained you well. Christendom needs your nationality to be more important than your identity as members of the transnational and trans-ethnic “kingdom of God”. In its benign form, Christendom breeds a false sense of unity around the nation so Christians care more about their nation than about the next one who may be in suffering. But in it’s dangerous forms, Christendom uses this to say “that nation and its citizens are our enemies, let’s go to war against them”. This is how many Christians in Europe were whipped up into “righteous fervour” in killing each other in the name of “defending their nation” for centuries on end. Christendom, not true Christianity, was the one calling the shots.
In this regard then, when a movement like Aglow is more known now for being the organizer of intercessory prayer for Ghana than for the transnational kingdom of God, the false masquerade of Christendom, which equates national progress with kingdom progress, has won the day. Jesus the Messiah didn’t teach us to be identified by the fervour we have for our nation’s progress, but for the fervor we have for the kingdom of God’s spread in a boundary-less world. And the evidence of progress of the kingdom of God is signified by growth in our love for the neighbor, even if, and especially if the neighbor was an enemy.

Christendom and Abuse of Scripture

To enable this blindness to fester and blossom, Christendom needs to pretend that it has a biblical basis for existence. Afterall, once it’s in the bible, then it must conform to the will of God, right?
Therefore since time immemorial, the most obvious modus operandi of Christendom is to equate the nation in which it’s found with ancient Israel. This it does by taking passages from scripture (especially the Old Testament, which is where people always go when they want to distort Christianity) about Israel and replace them with the nation, in this case “Ghana”. In doing this, Christendom conveniently forgets that this was the case for ancient Israel in the OT because ancient Israel as a nation had a covenant with Yahweh in which every child born to a Jew was automatically a worshipper of Yahweh and commanded to obey the Laws of Moses. Modern Christians, including the “Women’s Aglow” members, will vehemently deny that they must obey the Laws of Moses, after all they are “under grace, not under Law”. But being unfortunately under the influence of Christendom, they will continuously appeal to the Old Testament as a basis of prayer topics, not realizing the dissonance. If Aglow International wants to use the Old Testament as a basis of praying for the nation of Ghana, the fulfillment of those prayers are dependent on the observance of Torah (laws of Moses), including circumcision, food laws, keeping a strict Saturday Sabbath, not wearing men’s clothes as a woman etc. Of course, Aglow International will reject this in totality, but you can’t eat your cake and have it.
So far as Ghana is a democracy, allows freedom of religions and doesn’t use the Torah as our constitution, Ghana is not Israel, and this abuse of scripture, one of the oldest tricks in the book since Constantinian Christianity began, must be condemned as an abuse of scripture. It takes scripture out of context for our own nationalistic agenda, and has been used by countlesss nations against one another in the name of “Christianity”.

The transational and transethnic church of God, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” (Eph 2:20) is the only nation of Yahweh, the God who raised Jesus from the dead. And this church is given only one constitution – “Love Yahweh your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourselves” (Luke 10:27). I await the day that Aglow Women will dedicate concurrent months prayer topics to the political turmoil in Togo, the violence in Burkina Faso, the inter-religious wars in Central African Republic, the uprising in Syria, which are all affecting fellow Christian women and children. That will be the day they would have overcome the blindness that Christendom produces in caring only for ourselves, and not for the Christian body at large.

Christendom and Political Manipulation

Because Christendom places the nation first above the kingdom of God, leaders of Christendom oriented Christian organisations very easily fall pray to deception and alignment with one political organisation or another, whether perceived or real.
Every Christian body is lead by human beings, who have their own political ideology. Hence, despite all their efforts at being neutral, because their first loyalty is not to the kingdom of God but to the nation, their political ideology always colors the organisation’s activities, whether they like it or not. In a democracy, this leads very easily to the alignment (real or perceived) of such Christian organisations with a party in government or in opposition, and easily creates divisions amongst Christians. God knew this, that’s why he demands followers of Jesus to be loyal only to Jesus, so they can easily discern when they are being used and manipulated by the political systems for their benefits. Because Jesus is king now and his kingdom is being experienced now (not waiting for when we go to heaven), it means Christians spend their energies caring for the world of their king and for their fellow humans as much as possible, and whenever political governments come alongside them, they celebrate their help. They however do not need to wait for governments to dictate what they should do. And if individual members do enter politics, they simply need gauge their political activity and words by Jesus’s standards, and nothing else.
But as with many corruptions of Christianity, the Christendom church has been so busy collecting money to keep the clergy comfortable whiles baying at government for not dealing with “the economy” or poverty that, whenever it perceives that one political party candidate seems to promise heaven, Christendom aligns with it.
Many people in Ghana have complained (probably falsely) that Aglow International seems to be a pro-NPP women’s group. The perception is that these “intercession for Ghana prayers” during the tenure of the past NDC government seemed to be focused on desperately pleading with God to save Ghana from wicked rule. However, since the NPP came to power, these “prayer topics” have changed to asking for blessings from God for Ghana.
In the words of a relative of mine, when the NDC was in power, the prayer topic was “when the wicked rule”, yet now that the NPP is in power, the prayer topic is “Any tongue that rises up against the nation Ghana …”.
This perception may be false, but that is what Christendom produces. When the focus of any Christian organization is not on the transnational kingdom of God and how to make it felt in every small community within each nation, but in uniting people via an appeal to nationality, it will become a tool of political manipulation. Aglow International is no exception to this rule, and is as easily manipulable.

And So Is Intercessory Prayer Necessary?

Yes it is, but only as part of what a church community (or para-church community like Aglow International) pray for. Aglow International (and all these “intercessory missions”) doesn’t need a monthly prayer session for hours on end to pray for Ghana, it just needs 5 minutes of prayer in its fellowship groups for Ghana. And what should the prayer for Ghana be like? Let me give you an example.
“This then, is how you should pray – Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our tresspasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen”. (Mt 6:9-13).
But if you still feel that this prayer is not enough (I believe it is, if you understand the Lord’s Prayer well enough), then let me give you another one, a more long winded one with “Ghana” in it, to placate you.
“Father, we thank you that you have called us into the nation called the church, scattered over the world. We pray that your call to love you and to love our neighbour will be felt in every small area of Ghana where Christians are gathered, especially through the work of Aglow International women. Teach us to dedicate our lives to letting your kingdom be felt on earth, and give us good leaders in this nation who can enable peace to exist for us to continue to do your will here. And we pray these things for our brothers and sisters who are caught in war zones and in political strife across the world. Give them the patience to endure, and the strength to be faithful, knowing that you have called us to lose our lives for you if we want to save it. We pray these things not only for the faithful, but for all who are created in your image and likeness across the world, and yet who are deceived by the accuser into thinking your way is a way of foolishness. For you are God, and you are good, and in your way is salvation indeed. Amen”.

When the kingdom of God is being felt in every neighbourhood via the Christians who are giving their lives for their neighbours, we don’t need hours of intercession. We only need lives of faithful, loving disciples.

Vicit Agnus Noster, Eum Sequamur – The Lamb Has Conquered, Let Us Follow Him.

Syndicated from Vicit Agnus Noster, Eum Sequamur

Shane Claiborne: The Gospel of Trump vs the Gospel of Jesus

Originally posted on PCPJ.
This weekend, activist theologian Shane Claiborne and his friends at Red Letter Christians will arrange a Red Letter Revival in Lynchburg, Virginia. That’s right, the town where Liberty University, the world’s biggest Christian university whose president Jerry Falwell Jr. is a passionate Trump supporter.
The Revival will be themed “Jesus and Justice” and include sermons, worship and workshops on how to fight Trumpism by going back to the Sermon on the Mount. I got the chance to speak with Shane Claiborne on this historic event.
– The reason we do the Lynchburg Revival is that Christianity and Republicanism have been fused together, Shane Claiborne says. They have become almost indistinguishable from each other. When you have the First Baptist Church in Dallas singing ”Make America Great Again” as if it was a hymn in worship, when the American flag is bigger than the cross, what happens is that you begin to see a discrepancy between the values of America and the values inherent to the Gospel.
– When you make idols out of fame and wealth and power, Donald Trump is the natural result.
Ten years ago, Shane Claiborne and his friend Chris Haw authored Jesus for President, a book challenging the evangelical mindset on politics. It emphasized nonviolence, economic redistribution and creation care. I ask him if he could have imagined 80 % of white evangelicals voting for Donald Trump eight years later?
– It’s important to remember that what we’re talking about is white evangelicals. As you include other evangelicals than white ones, that number drops significantly. Part of what happens is that folks don’t want to identify as evangelicals because of that.
– And there’s a generational gap, too. I do think this is an incredibly significant moment in the history of the United States. We’re going to see some major shift, people are rising up like we’ve never seen before. Even when you look at the civil rights movement, some of the numbers of folks that are rising up now are surpassing those numbers.
Jesus for President was quite sympathetic to the traditional Anabaptist stance of not voting, even though the book didn’t suggest that’s how all Christians should do. When the choice is between Barack Obama and John McCain, that might have been easier. But how about the age of Trump?
– I’ve been to schools where their political science majors and folks that might go into politics have absolutely dropped. I was talking to one of the teachers and asked why, and he said ”It’s because of books like Jesus for President.”
– When we wrote Jesus for President, one of the principles we suggested that I think is a good one for Christians is damage control when we vote. Voting for the political candidate that we think will do the least damage in the world. That’s kind of how I thought this last election. God changes hearts, but I think God also expects us to change laws. 

I ask Shane if there is something we can learn from Donald Trump.
– Trump isn’t changing America, he’s revealing America. All of this dirty racism and white supremacy has been here the whole time. We need to heal the wounds from our history. You know, it’s kind of like we’ve swept it under a rug. Now the rug’s up, let’s do something about it.
– These are symptoms of a bigger disease. Trump will be here and gone, probably sooner than four years, but this residue of racism and slavery is still with us.
It’s no coincidence that Shane speaks of revival. The social transformation that America needs is a spiritual transformation, according to him, and the key is to take Jesus seriously again.
– The message of the Sermon on the Mount: ”Blessed are the poor, the merciful, the meek”, those are the antithesis to what’s being idolized in America. We don’t celebrate meakness, or the poor, or the peacemakers. I think that’s where we got to focus on Jesus again, and a lot of white evangelicals have lost their grounding in Jesus and in the Sermon on the Mount. What if Jesus meant what he said? We got to preach that and live that out.
– The gospel of Trump is very different from the Gospel of Jesus. And the lifestyle of Trump is very different from the lifestyle of the Gospel.
Coming up: Shane Claiborne on his charismatic faith and how he thinks miracles should be combined with peace and justice.
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world. If you like what we do, please become a member!

Syndicated from Holy Spirit Activism

On Awkward Family Meals

I read this week about a family gathered around a table for a nice Thanksgiving meal. Things were going well until Uncle Larry said, “Hey, Steve, you need to pay me back that $200 I loaned you last year.” And Steve said, “I don’t have the money to pay you back, Uncle Larry.” And Uncle…
Syndicated from Spacious Faith

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