just an apprentice

the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Signs of the times...

Why do the nations so furiously rage together?
Why do the nations imagine a vane thing?

When the Son of Man returns...will he find faith on the earth?

What if all the Christians of the world would agree to follow the teachings of Jesus? What would happen if we would love our enemies? Some will say that is just too radical a reading of Scriptures. We have baptized Christianity in the waters of secular politics and the interests of power--at least that is how my Anabaptist tradition would teach me to tell the narrative of history as I read Scripture (Constantinian compromise).

Some would say the questions of peace and justice are just peripheral issues to the gospel. Some read a version of the Bible that diminishes the imperative nature of following Jesus in the way of peace. Just not practical in the real world. Is that the world over which Jesus rules? The world which was created in and through him?

In our day of fragmented, consumer-driven, individualized Christianity it would not surprise me a bit if we have two new versions of the Bible from Zondervan. We have the Bible for Teens, the Bible for the Spirit-filled believer and many others...Perhaps we shall see the Bible for Hawks, The Bible for Doves, The Bible for _______ you fill in the blank.

I will be fine. I just have to rant a little. I just don't want to be a part of a Christianity that makes the Gospel all about me...as McLaren says--"getting my butt into heaven"



  • At 8:25 AM , Anonymous Jim H said...

    Brian, thanks for these last two posts. Your thoughts really "resonate" (as you would say) within my heart and mind. Keep bringing it on. Hey, and have a super school year! Jim H

  • At 8:44 AM , Anonymous kdz13 said...

    heh, i think you should rant over the pulpit... i heard you preach on Sunday. Not that your preaching was boring/bad/off topic/insert downer term here, it's just that your rants are more... passionate? interesting? real? not sure what the word I want to use is.


  • At 1:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Brian, thanks for your rant! It speaks to where I am at too. I'm reminded of Isaiah 59:14 - the image of "truth stumbling in the streets."

    Also, I wanted to say I really appreciated your sermon Sunday -- especially the part about how each of us needs to recognize our own poverty. I was touch by the prayer of confession we used. I posted it on my blog http://blog.myspace.com/clandes.

    Thanks again!

  • At 2:42 PM , Blogger Brian Miller said...

    Thanks Jim.

  • At 2:45 PM , Blogger Brian Miller said...

    thanks for your comments...I will have to give some thought to a rant sermon...(Holy Spirit inspired)...

  • At 3:10 PM , Anonymous dml said...

    "Why do the nations so furiously rage together? ..... Just not practical in the real world."

    Your two comments here reminded me of a conversation I had recently where someone asked me how we should apply our Christian faith to the Middle East crisis and terrorism. That conversation proved again that not all Christians see the relevance of the Sermon on the Mount to our everyday living, especially in our world today. This person focused more on the inevitable conflict between Muslims and Christians which started back with Jacob and Esau and how this conflict has been prophesied throughout the Bible. I kept coming back to Jesus and how he did not intend to set up a polital kingdom and how loving our enemies was one in many statements describing the mindset of the up-side-down kingdom which transcends ethnicity and national borders. How can we label countries and people groups as more or less deserving of rights in the Kingdom of God? Though he agreed in principle, he basically replied with, "it's just not practical, we're talking about real life!" And I also felt like saying, "what is 'real life?' -- Jesus would tell us things that didn't apply to our real lives???"

    I get frustrated by comments like "well, 'they' (whoever that is) hate us ... they want to convert all of us ... we are their enemies since Bible times...God said it!" If a Christian is going to be so ignorant as to categorically label "them" as our enemies, then what does that Christian do with Jesus' call to love our enemies???

    I guess I could go on a rant too, but gotta go. Thanks for the thoughts.

  • At 5:54 PM , Blogger Ted Gossard said...

    Thanks. Very true.

    On one of my postings recently, I got a little carried away in saying that if the Sermon on the Mount disappeared or had never been in our Bibles, and passages similar to it (and how much of the NT would be impacted by that?)- I'm afraid our lives as Christians, and as Christian evangelicals would be hardly different, if at all. Though there are favorite verses and passages in the Sermon. But it needs to be taken seriously as a whole. It has an important message for all of us. And I believe the Anabaptist vision is much better tapped into that, than most of the rest of us.

  • At 10:44 PM , Anonymous dml said...

    I need to clarify something I said in my comment above. I referred to a conversation I had with someone regarding the roots of conflict between Muslims and Christians. I should say, this person acknowledges the start of that conflict with Isaac and Ishmael but also mentioned something he related to Jacob and Essau ... I actually did not follow all of his connections ...

    Anyway, I didn't want to confuse the issue, just was recalling the conversation quickly and realized after posting, that I didn't relate it clearly in my writing.

  • At 7:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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