According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Wounding of the Body of Christ

Jesus Beyond Jesus

by J.R.D. Kird
May 5, 2012

One thing evangelicals do well is our incessant hammering on the need for each of us to continually respond in faith to the God who is reaching out to us in Christ. We insist on personal accountability before God.

But if the down side to this has been that we’re slow to realize the fully communal implications of our faith.

As I’ve said before, I used to shrug off the old hymn, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Because, NEWS FLASH!, I wasn’t! I was a couple thousand years too late for that one.

But then I started to realize that the body of Christ is all around me every time I gather with God’s people. And I began to realize that these were people I had wounded, people whom I had judged and rejected and injured. I had become an instrument in the wounding of the body of Christ.

So yes, I was there. And I am there. I participate in the crucifixion when I judge and reject and injure those who are, themselves, members of Christ’s body.

When Jesus places His name on someone in baptism, he takes this identification with them with utmost seriousness. It’s not just that the person is bound to the story of Christ (something else we need to learn more deeply than we have) but that Christ is bound to the person of this story.

And so Jesus tells his disciples:
Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me isn’t actually welcoming me but rather the one who sent me. (Mark 9:37, CEB)
The disciples weren’t too sure about this whole, “name of Jesus” thing. So they pressed back a bit:
We saw someone throwing demons out in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us. (Mark 9:38, CEB)
Wrong answer.

Everyone who’s not against us is for us. In fact,
I assure you that whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will certainly be rewarded. (Mark 9:41, CEB).
We too often fall into the trap of thinking that our relationship with God is one thing, and our relationship with people is something else. Sometimes we’ll acknowledge the connection by saying something like, “When my relationship with God is askew, it messes with my relationships with people, too.”

There’s truth in that.

But there’s a more profound truth that such statements skirt; namely, our relationship with other people in the body is, itself, our relationship with the Christ whose name is upon them.

Before us is Jesus beyond Jesus.

God has determined to renew each of us after the image of the firstborn Son.

And so, what we do to them, those who bear the son’s image, is done to the son whose image they bear. When we engage the one who is Christ’s, for blessing or for curse, we bless or curse the Christ to whom they belong.

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