Category: Member Blogs

Podcast: Can Government Be Saved?

Greg talks about Shane Claiborne, government, and ministry. Send Questions To: Dan: @thatdankent Email: askgregboyd@gmail.com Twitter: @reKnewOrg http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0430.mp3 Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play | RSS
The post Podcast: Can Government Be Saved? appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Syndicated from Greg Boyd – ReKnew

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Season of Advent 2018 Year C – Third Sunday: The Epistle Passage – What should we do in return?

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Thinking about this, beloved reader, it occurs to me that another thing has changed from the concept of “group” rescue and redemption to individual rescue and salvation. Now we are assured of grace and mercy, and are being asked to respond to the Lord God’s grace and mercy. In the past, that is in the “group” motif, proper behavior and worship was expected FIRST, then salvation would come. Now isn’t that interesting. Of course my supposition is not a hard and fast rule; and some level, understanding, acceptance, and belief was expected. But in the early Christian church new believers learned what it meant to live this new life. The Hebrews/Israelites/Judahites/Jews were expected to know, accept, and practice right living before Yahweh’s blessing would be bestowed.
Could it be that the disciples were gentler task masters of correct Christian living and belief than the Old Testament prophets, preachers, and scribes? You know what the difference was – the disciples learned directly from Jesus Christ the Lord God. The Old Testament leaders went on their own assumptions of what the Almighty Lord would want. I am not saying they distorted God’s message. Maybe the Lord God, the Mighty Divine of the Old Testament was a tough task master. Scholars have puzzled for generations about the change, and I have yet to hear an explanation that allows the two Divine Differing Dynamics to be united. Maybe that is just me.
But it seems to me, beloved reader, if we put aside that perplexing question and just focus on what we learn from the New Testament by way of Paul and the other apostles, there is very good reason to rejoice. And especially during Advent, that is very good thing to do! Selah!

Syndicated from Pondering From the Pacific

Keeping the ‘Baptism’ in Anabaptism

 When I applied for the pastoral position at my current congregation, during one interview, I asked the Search Committee when they’d last celebrated a baptism. They thought for a moment. “Years,” they answered.
Many Anabaptist congregations are like my current one, celebrating baptisms only rarely. In five years of ministry, I’ve presided at about one baptism per year, which is more than some of my pastoral peers.
Anabaptist churches are defined by their relationship with baptism: a symbol of voluntary participation, where individuals request a ritual of commitment instead of having one thrust upon them at a mandatory age. Baptism must be a choice, and is only made once, for life. During the Radical Reformation that birthed Anabaptism, many believers made this choice, renouncing the priest’s baptism they’d received at birth and requesting, like the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, to be baptized by another believer.
The declining popularity of baptism is linked to the word choice, an almost sacred word in secular Western culture. Everyone wants to choose, to decide, to have control over what and how they consume. Choice is one of the highest cultural values—evident in the many advertisements appealing to customizable products that give you what you want, when you want it.
As choice meets pluralism, baptism becomes a weightier decision. Choice now means accounting for all world religions and selecting one spiritual path with total certainty. For many teenagers nearing the traditional Anabaptist age of baptism, choosing baptism feels like a fraught decision requiring absolute certainty of the nature of divine truth. Choosing baptism has become just one more consumer decision on an endless list. Framed as a once-in-a-lifetime decision that binds you to a certain relationship with God, it’s nearly impossible for anyone in our fear-of-missing-out culture to confidently request lifetime membership via baptism.
It’s not only adolescents who are wary of baptism. Many Anabaptist adults were raised with an experience of baptism as choice-but-not-a-choice. Youth of a certain age were required to take a baptismal preparation class and there was heavy social pressure to “choose” baptism. These adults, now raising children in the church, carry a deep fear of denying choice to their children. Choice has become even more important than the ritual itself. This was the church environment I was raised in, and the primary message of our baptism education was “you should never feel pressure to be baptized.” But this message implicitly suggests baptism is not important.
Anabaptist churches need a new way to talk about baptism that balances the weight of choice with the reality of choice paralysis. A way to emphasize the ritual as a symbol of a spiritual journey and not an exclusive membership in one small denomination. A way to see baptism as integrative to spiritual growth instead of a sign of full maturity.

Syndicated from gathering the stones

Family Feels #4 – Disappointment and Abandonment

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Family. It makes us ‘feel’ things. Being a part of a family isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult at times. “Family Feels” is a series that looks at some of the challenges and expectations people have in their pursuit of peaceably loving and living in a family. We will also take note of the kind of family that Jesus ultimately recognizes above our biological ties: the community of faith that does the will of the Father. No matter our struggles with our physical family, the church is invited to be a spiritual family that reflects the goodness of God.

Syndicated from PangeaCast - Pangea Church

Podcast: Shouldn’t Pentecostals Be More Inclined to Accept a Christus Victor View of the Atonement?

Greg looks at the evolution of Pentecostal beliefs. Send Questions To: Dan: @thatdankent Email: askgregboyd@gmail.com Twitter: @reKnewOrg http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0429.mp3 Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play | RSS art: “The Winged Man (The Fallen Angel)” by: Odilon Redon Date: 1880 modified by: Dan Kent
The post Podcast: Shouldn’t Pentecostals Be More Inclined to Accept a Christus Victor View of the Atonement? appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Syndicated from Greg Boyd – ReKnew

Revealing Jesus (A Revelation of Jesus) | S2 E2

Subscribe via iTunes or Google Season 2 | Episode 2 How does Revelation "Reveal Jesus?" The opening line of the book makes a compelling claim: "A Revelation of Jesus Christ." This is the purpose of the last book of the Bible, but we often struggle to understand how the Jesus of the Gospels is anything like the image of him we see in Revelation. When we step into the ancient world, these struggles start to resolve. These episodes are the first several videos in a course called: Revealing Jesus. They can be listened to without video (especially if you are driving!) or can be utilized for the visual content as well. The full version of Revealing Jesus is available for pre-order at: https://theologycurator.com/revelation.  Here’s a free resource: Revelation Cheat Sheet, pdf! GIVE THE SHOW SOME LOVE 1) If you would be so kind to hop on iTunes (or your feed of choice) and leave Rapture Drill a review there, that would be amazing. The more reviews we can get will lead to greater visibility in iTunes. And I (Kurt) LOVE reading your comments! 2) Also, please consider hitting up Rapture Drill on Patreon online tip-jar (think Kickstarter for ongoing content creators). For $5 per month, or more, you can make a direct impact on this show. Financial partners like you really do make this all possible! Through Patreon, you make a tangible difference in this show’s sustainability and quality! http://patreon.com/kurtwillems
Syndicated from Rapture Drill: Reframing Revelation, the End Times, and our Weird Obsession with the Apocalypse

Season of Advent 2018 Year C – Third Sunday: The Old Testament Passage – What has been done for us

“Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak.
The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.” (Zephaniah 3:14 – 18)

We know from last week that this “group” rescue was a hope that the Israelites and Judahites had and held on to during their dark hours. It gave them hope, if not for the present generation than at least in the generation to come. Most parents will tell you they wish for something better for their children than what they had. And the Lord God, as a Loving Parent (it was presumed) would bring about something better for their descendants than what was being experienced now.
“I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.” (Verses 19 – 20)
The book of Zephaniah is actually a plea to the Judahites to honor the covenant and commitment that they had made to the Lord God. It was presumed to be written after Israel fell (again, presumably) because of their disobedience to Yahweh. Chapter three is to be read as the joy that might be there if they are faithful. And it does sustain my idea from last week that there is a “group” dynamic of their salvation – a group of people being saved and restored as opposed to individuals finding rescue.
So, what about my question/title. What is being done for us today, modern times? Well, let’s tally it up. Through our Lord Jesus Christ our judgments have been taken away, and we need not bear reproach. The Lord through the Holy Spirit is in our midst, so we need not fear that we are alone in this world. But our enemies are still around. However, we can count on the Lord God gathering us up and taking us “home” to be with our Lord God. It would seem that we still need to exist and cope in this mortal material world – in that we have it no different than the Judahites and Israelites. But we know our hope is not in the future, it is not just for future generations but is here with us now. That is one of the messages of Advent – actually one that we tend to minimize. We have connected Advent to waiting that we forget what we are actually waiting for is the time to celebrate it, not the time that it will become actual. All that can be done for us in this world has been done. So let’s celebrate that as we wait for the big celebration of Christmas! As the book of Zephaniah says, “Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!” Selah!

Syndicated from Pondering From the Pacific

How to Pray for People Experiencing Life-Threatening Illness

In the time of Jesus, many people would go to the pool of Bethesda in search of healing. One day Jesus met a man there who was unable to walk. He may not have had a life-threatening illness, but it was certainly a life-altering condition, for it had rendered him unable to walk for thirty-eight … Continue reading How to Pray for People Experiencing Life-Threatening Illness
Syndicated from April Yamasaki

All in Pieces: My Journey toward Integration after Childhood Sexual Abuse

I was sexually assaulted by my father, paternal uncles and paternal grandfather as a child. My mother was aware of the abuse by my father and participated on one occasion. It started when I was a toddler, before the core of who I was had fully coalesced. I grew up in pieces, segmented and regimented into the Girl Who Goes to School and the One at Night and such. The level of dissociation I experienced was total and sustained. I spent my formative years attending a Lancaster Mennonite Conference church (now known as LMC: A Fellowship of Anabaptist Churches). All I knew consciously, based on the church’s teachings, was that I was bad and that there was something broken at my core. Nothing I did, including choosing to be baptized, took away the shame which had been transmuted to me through the sadistic acts to which I’d been subjected. My relationship with my body was that of hatred and derision. The self-abuse and starvation in which I engaged were insufficient in ridding me of the soiling. The way I treated myself, coupled with my social awkwardness and the unattractive quality of “smarts” I possessed, alienated me from my peers. I did […]
The post All in Pieces: My Journey toward Integration after Childhood Sexual Abuse appeared first on Our Stories Untold.

Syndicated from Our Stories Untold

Revealing Jesus in Revelation (Introduction) | S2 E1

Subscribe via iTunes or Google Season 2 | Episode 1 In this first episode of season two, Kurt Willems frames the unique video formatting of the next several episodes. These episodes are the first several videos in a course he created, called Revealing Jesus. They can be listened to without video (especially if you are driving!) or can be utilized for the visual content as well. The full version of Revealing Jesus is available for pre-order at: https://theologycurator.com/revelation.  Here’s a free resource: Revelation Cheat Sheet, pdf! GIVE THE SHOW SOME LOVE 1) If you would be so kind to hop on iTunes (or your feed of choice) and leave Rapture Drill a review there, that would be amazing. The more reviews we can get will lead to greater visibility in iTunes. And I (Kurt) LOVE reading your comments! 2) Also, please consider hitting up Rapture Drill on Patreon online tip-jar (think Kickstarter for ongoing content creators). For $5 per month, or more, you can make a direct impact on this show. Financial partners like you really do make this all possible! Through Patreon, you make a tangible difference in this show’s sustainability and quality! http://patreon.com/kurtwillems
Syndicated from Rapture Drill: Reframing Revelation, the End Times, and our Weird Obsession with the Apocalypse

The God of Surprises

Several years ago, while leading a group of EMU students on a Cross-cultural program to Guatemala, I was walking along the street when I met a young woman carrying a baby in her arms. She looked worried. By her dress, I judged her to be quite poor. Since my pace was a bit faster than hers, I soon passed her. I had gone no more than 10 steps past her when I discovered a wad of bills lying on the sidewalk. I bent over and picked up the bills without counting them. There was no one around, either on the sidewalk or in the nearby houses. Without thinking about it much, I turned around and handed the bills to the poor young woman behind me. “Who knows where they came from,” I said flippantly. Her face brightened up with joy, and she responded to me with a beautiful smile that completely covered her face. Without hesitating for an instant and without the slightest doubt in her mind she responded, “from God.” The poor young mother had received a surprise from God. Not only had she received a surprise from God, but she had to be astute enough to recognize that the surprise she had received was from God.Well, this God that became flesh and moved into our neighborhood, is a God of surprises. A God who does the unexpected, the unforeseen. Unfortunately, because he is a God of surprises, many people do not recognize what he has done! They might call it a coincidence, or a chance happening. But for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, the presence of God in these surprises will be recognized and affirmed. Jesus’ birth narrative in Luke chapter 2 contains quite a few surprises. First the shepherds encounter with the baby, and then two more obscure stories of when Jesus is presented in the temple by his parents and how Simeon and Anna responded to their encounter with the Word made flesh. All of these characters have extraordinary powers of vision and hearing. In spite of being marginal people in their society, the shepherds had eyes to see the surprises that God had in store for the people of Israel. Simeon and Anna, in spite of being old, also had eyes to see God’s surprises. The birth narrative in in Luke is what we mostly think of when we think of Christmas. This story of the shepherds in Luke and the story about the wise men in Matthew are so well known and sentimentalized that we miss the surprises that are contained in them. We also ignore other portions of the birth narrative that surround the story that we know. We are blind to the “upside down” way God works among us. We have closed our eyes and covered our ears to the radical and surprising message that these scriptures contain.Let’s start with the shepherds. They are not exactly princes. One would suppose that the Master of the Universe, the God Almighty, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, would be accompanied by an escort of kings and princes and other high officials of the royal courts of the earth awaiting the announcement of the arrival of a new king, the son of the almighty God. One would also suppose that there would be thousands of soldiers mounted on the finest of horses waiting for the announcement of the arrival of the son of the King of Kings. But it was nothing like that at all. The shepherds, probably the most despicable of all human beings of that time, were the ones who received the announcement of the birth of the King of the Heavens. The shepherds were rough and crude men of the country side. They were compared to slaves. They didn’t have any civil rights. They worked hard leading the sheep and goats hither and yon to find places to eat and drink. At night they had to be alert to protect their flocks not only from wild animals but also from thieves. When these humble and uneducated men received the message from an angel, they responded immediately. We are all familiar with the story of how they went and found Mary and Joseph and the baby in the manger. After finding the God-child, they imitated the heavenly host of angels glorifying and praising God because all had taken place as they had told them.But, what are the surprises that we find in the story of the shepherds? As already mentioned, the announcement of the birth of the son of God was given to despised and course men. It was not given to the customary officials in the majority of societies; neither to princes, kings or soldiers. Where were the roman officials? Nor was the message given to the people with the best religious education. Where were the rabbis, the Pharisees, the men who knew the law and those with the best possible education? Nor was the message given to the wealthy. Where were the Chief Priests, the Sadducees, the large land owners and other wealthy people of the time? They were completely absent. I am convinced that the announcement was available to anyone who had eyes to see and ears to hear it. But only the shepherds had their hearts ready to receive it. That’s the way it is. The humble and the meek will inherit the Kingdom of God because they are neither blind or deaf. What a surprise! God reveals the most important message of all time to a group of vagabond shepherds because they were ready to receive it. After Jesus was several days old his parents took him to the temple in Jerusalem to fulfill some ritual laws of the Jews. At the temple we find an old man named Simeon who was waiting to die. He was probably suffering from some debilitating disease, or perhaps he was so advanced in age that he was fed up with life and he wanted to die. But he had received a promise long ago from the Holy Spirit that he wouldn’t die until he met the Messiah. From what we read of him in the scripture, there is little doubt that this old man was very devout. Immediately upon seeing the young Jesus, he recognized him to be the Messiah, the promised one of God for the salvation of the people of Israel and all the nations of the world. Right there he took the baby Jesus in his arms and blessed him and said, “my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” After blessing both Mary and Joseph as well, he said some surprising things. “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” What he was saying, is that the message Jesus would bring would be so surprising that it would cause divisions, arguments and fights. Doesn’t sound like the kind of glory or revelation we normally think of. Aside from that statement of division, what are the surprises we find in the story of Simeon? Who were the officials in the temple when Mary, Joseph and Jesus arrived to consecrate their first-born? Weren’t there priests to perform the rites and the ceremonies? Weren’t there any Sadducees to supervise the comings and goings of the people of the temple? Weren’t there any Pharisees to be sure that all the peculiarities of the law were obeyed? Weren’t there any Rabbis there to teach the about the wisdom of the Jews? Weren’t there any scribes to conserve this historic moment n the life of the people of Israel? Weren’t they the religious people of the time? I wonder, why didn’t THEY recognize the Messiah? I am convinced that the ability to recognize the Messiah was available to anyone who had eyes to see and ears to hear. But only a pious old man had a heart ready to understand the message. The humble and the meek will inherit the Kingdom of God because they are neither blind nor deaf. What a surprise! God reveals the most important message of all times to an old man ready to finish his walk on earth. At the same time in the temple there was an old woman named Anna. She had served God for many years with fasting and prayer. She was an 84-year old widow who was also a prophetess. Somehow or other, when I think of her, I think that she must have been like the many beggars I have seen over the years surrounding the huge churches in the cities of Latin America. Dressed in old rags, very poor, but with a certain dignity because of her pious activities. But I also imagine that the people who passed her by ignored her, or avoided looking at her directly, either because she was very poor, or because they thought she was crazy uttering her prophesies. How often have we passed by a homeless person, or someone ranting, denying their personhood by ignoring them or avoiding them?But this old widow, like the shepherds and Simeon, recognized the Son of God, the Messiah. She announced to everyone within earshot that she had seen the Messiah. Do you think the sellers there in the Temple Square paid any attention to her? You know, the ones who were selling animals for the ritual sacrifices of the Jews? Do you think that the many visitors who came and went through the temple courts from scattered Jewish villages paid any attention to her? Do you think the pious gentile god-fearers who were always present in the courts of Jewish temples and synagogues paid any attention to her?I am sure that the ability to recognize the Messiah was available to anyone who had eyes to see and ears to hear. But only an old widow had a heart ready to understand the message. The humble and the meek will inherit the Kingdom of God because they are neither blind nor deaf. What a surprise! God reveals the most important message of all times to a poor old widow whom many considered crazy because of her prophesizing. So, what do some crusty shepherds, a dying old man and a crazy old prophetess have to do with us today? Perhaps like many of the characters who passed through the three stories from Luke 2 that I shared, your own eyes have become blind and your own ears have become deaf to the recognizing the Messiah as a person or receive his message. What are you doing to prepare your hearts so that you will have eyes to see and ears to hear when Christ comes? Are you ready to see the unexpected, the surprising message that the Master of the Universe has for you? Are you ready to acknowledge the presence of God every minute of the day, every day of the week? When something unexpected happens, even something so simple as finding a wad of bills on the sidewalk, are you ready to proclaim God’s providence to the world? To the people who missed the Messiah in these stories, Jesus later said “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
Syndicated from Klymer Klatsch

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