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Saturday, 30 July 2011

To meet Christ is to meet God

Working through some readings in an attempt to finish my essay on the doctrine of revelation and came across this ...

To meet Christ is to meet God. In this encounter God is at the same time concealed. I encounter my wife. She is disclosed yet concealed to me. I encounter God in Christ. God is disclosed and at the same time concealed to me. It cannot be otherwise. I cannot bring God out of the closet on Sundays and adore God according to my will any more than I can bring my wife out of the house and adore her according to my will. To know God is to know Jesus. It is to be called into a relationship. Jesus commanded a young man, ‘‘Follow me.’’ The young man said, ‘‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’’ Jesus—refusing to be shoved aside like some lucky charm or trinket of good fortune—replies, ‘‘Let the dead bury their own dead’’ (Lk 9:59–60).

God will not be shoved aside. God in Jesus demands to be treated as a living autonomous subject. God will not be manipulated, handled, or treated like some cute child asking for attention.

Preaching Christ Crucified: Luther and the Revelation of God By David C. Ratke
Dialog: A Journal of Theology, Volume 43, Number 4, Winter 2004

Monday, 25 July 2011

Looking at old parables in new ways...

For the last couple of weeks we have attended Crossroads Methodist Church in Papakura.  We have been 'double dipping' as Mum calls it as we have been going to two services on Sunday!

Rev Peter Williamson has been talking about parables and how it's important to find our own ways of telling these parables as hearing agriculture stories today just doesn't have the same effect.   Jesus' stories definitely had a twist and a hell of a bite.  The Kingdom of God turns everything upside down but it's hard to 'rewrite' these stories to convey the same shock factor.
The Rev also gave me a whole new insight on the Parable of the Sower.  He reckons (and I have to now agree) it's not really about what we do with the 'seed' actually it's about how the 'seed' is spread amongst everyone.  No matter if your soil is good, bad or stony.  That's why it was such a shocking story for the original audience.  No farmer would waste good seeds on rubbish soil.  But God's ways are not our ways and this story is just one way that Jesus tries to get that message through!
Bible Gateway passage: Matthew 13:1-9 - The Message

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Divisions in the Church...

A topic I think about a lot but find hard to express how I feel about it.  Luckily for me there are a lot of clever people who think about it too and are able to write about it!  Found this today in one of my readings...

It is thus an inescapable part of the theological task to ask, What is the whole gospel that holds the church together in the bond of faith, hope, and love?  If matters of race, gender, and ethnic heritage threaten the unity of the church, is that in part because our understandings of God, human beings created in the image of God, and the nature and purpose of the church are insufficiently formed by the gospel of Jesus Christ?  If the church bears an uncertain witness on ecological issues, is that in part because the doctrine of creation has been badly neglected or is insufficiently integrated with other doctrines of the faith?  If the church sets personal redemption against concern for social justice or concern for social justice against personal redemption, is that in part because its understanding of salvation is truncated?  If the church is disturbed by the voices of the poor, women, blacks, Hispanics, the unemployed, the physically and mentally challenged, is this note because its quest for the whole truth of the gospel is arrested?  When a deaf ear is turned to these disturbing voices, is it not because we assume that we are already in possession of the whole truth?  In every age Christian theology must be strong and free enough to ask whether the church bears witness in its proclamation and life to the fullness and catholicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The church is always threatened by a false unity that does not allow for the inclusion of strangers and outcasts.  Theology exists to keep alive the quest for the whole gospel that alone can bring unity without loss of enriching diversity, community without loss of personal or cultural integrity, peace without compromise of justice.  Theology must not only ask, What is the true gospel? but also, What is the whole gospel?  What is the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of God in Christ (Eph 3:18-19)?

Daniel L. Migliore, 'The Task of Theology', in Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology, 2nd edn. (Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2004), p. 13 (emphasis added)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

It is not the greatness of our faith, but the greatness of God, which counts...

I have a feeling that there will be lots and lots of quotes on this blog coming out of this book in the next few months.  It's one of my text books relating to my theology papers I'm doing through Otago University.


Here's one for today from Luther noted in McGrath's book:

Even if my faith is weak, I still have exactly the same treasure and the same Christ as others.  There is no difference ... It is like two people, each of whom owns a hundred gold coins.  One may carry them around in a paper sack, the other in an iron chest.  But despite these differences, they both own the same treasure.  Thus the Christ who you and I own is one and the same, irrespective of the strength or weakness of your faith or mine.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

How can we talk about God?

Just an interesting quote I came across while studying 'how to do theology' today...

"If you can understand it, it's not God" - Augustine.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Max7 - Great Children's Ministry Website Resource

We helped out with the Youth Group at Crossroad's Church in Papakura today.  What a lovely service.  Before we headed out with the youth we were delighted by the children's talk (aways my favourite part of the service)!

The Pastor made use of a great resource called Max7 (http://www.max7.org/) .  By checking out the website myself at home I have discovered that there are loads of great audio/visual resources that can really boost your talk and make it relevant and memorable for everyone.

Today we watched a cartoon of the parable of sower.  Admittedly it was a little scary but it was memorable and no worse than the violence our kids see on screen everyday.  Check it out.