21
Jan
18

Would We Make Jesus Marvel? (and for the right reason)

I came across an interesting statement in a recent article on my friend Steve’s blog.

“Jesus is recorded as marveling only twice. Once was at the unbelief demonstrated at his hometown of Nazareth. The other time was at the faith of a Gentile soldier, whom Jesus recognized as having faith greater than that of His own people.”

 

Those two instances reflect contrasting and opposite attitudes to faith/belief in Jesus, but each led to the same kind of reaction from Jesus: He “marvelled”.
He was amazed and astonished by both the unbelief of the people who would (presumably) know Him well, the people whose community He’d grown up within; and the belief shown by a person from a totally different culture who was basically an occupying enemy of Jesus’s homeland.

As I thought on this, a question Jesus asked came to mind:  “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

When I refreshed my memory about the context of this statement, I “marvelled” at the fact this it immediately precedes a parable, an excerpt of which I quoted yesterday:

“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

I return to the issue of Jesus finding faith on earth and wonder where would the faith most like that of the gentile soldier be found?
Would it be among those who we’d assume should know Jesus best? Or among the outsiders who didn’t seem to comply with religious expectations?
The Pharisee or the tax collector?

And even before I considered these things my mind had been on Jonah. Not so much the man and his mission, but on the society around him. How much does that wider society contrast to ours?
Today in the west, God is mostly dismissed or ignored. Yes, there are some communities that pay lip service to Him (“In God We Trust”) but to what extent would those communities REALLY put their trust in Him and believe His message in the way that Jonah’s shipmates did, despite the fact that they followed other gods?

And how many national communities would respond in the same way as the people of Nineveh? They essential fell into obedience to the word of a prophet proclaiming what was to them the word of a foreign God.

How does that contrast with the likely (and often demonstrated) actions of today’s so-called “Christian” nations – those that allegedly know God?

Or even todays’ church goers?

Would they recognise the voice of God to the extent of believing and acting on it?

Would we?

 

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20
Jan
18

Pride or Humility?

Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

19
Jan
18

East and West

Christians In The East Lose Their Lives, But Christians In The West Are Losing Their Souls

https://www.dailywire.com/news/26059/persecuted-christians-matt-walsh

 

An article by Matt Walsh in The Daily Wire.

__________________

Thanks to Jeff Weddle for posting details of this article on his blog: anti itch meditation

19
Jan
18

The Danger of Insularity (addendum)

A follow up to the earlier re-blogged article about insularity.

Onesimus Files

My previous post about “insularity” didn’t really head in the direction I’d intended. While it touched partly on the issue I wanted to address, I probably didn’t make my intended points clear.

I mentioned how limited my own understanding had been regarding doctrinal diversity within “the church”. I had a lot of (wrong) assumptions about the general conformity of Christian beliefs.
To a degree that created a “trust shortcut”, giving the illusion that something could be accepted on trust if it had a Christian label.

Those assumptions were changed through interacting with others outside of my familiar theological world. Realisation of significant doctrinal differences across the Christian community made me aware of the need to reassess all of my beliefs: all of those things I’d taken for granted.

One of the points I intended to make in the previous post was the way we can misinterpret the world outside of…

View original post 127 more words

18
Jan
18

The Danger of Insularity in a Political World

The original of this was posted only a year ago – but recent experiences have brought the topic back to mind in a way that convinces me how relevant it remains.
Not only in a political way (as suggested by the graphics in the original post), but in every day life.

Onesimus Files

It is easy to enclose ourselves in a state of insularity and fail to see the realities outside of our chosen “life-bubbles”.

Christians can be especially vulnerable.
Seeing the need to be separate from “the world” there can be a tendency towards naiveté regarding the societies in which we live. The effects of insularity for Christians can be further complicated by exposure to wayward bible teaching and pseudo-Christian political rhetoric. So often our views are coloured by ignorance and assumption, combined with an ill-informed, careless application of scripture. We can therefore make some very questionable judgements about both the church and the world, our objectivity being compromised by those previously mentioned influences.

The first time I recognised how insular my life and beliefs had become was when I first joined a Christian forum. I quickly became exposed to countless different and often contradictory theological beliefs I’d not previously known about…

View original post 380 more words

10
Jan
18

The Apostle Paul, Bellum Romanum, and Terrorism

anti-itch meditation

Bellum Romanum is a Latin phrase used to describe the particular kind of warfare the Romans waged against the Barbarians. It means “Roman War.”

You may recognize the Bellum from the Antebellum South–Ante–Before and Bellum–War–the South before the Civil War.

If you’re familiar with the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire, you know that they spent hundreds of years dealing with barbarian hordes picking on their extremities.

These Barbarian Wars began about 100bc and went sometime into the 400’s ad.

Rome convinced its people that barbarians weren’t totally human, they were sub-human. They were uncivilized brutes. Therefore, since they weren’t official humans, any number of atrocities against them were justified.

Bellum Romanum was all out war without restraint. There was killing, raping, and pillaging. Today we would refer to what Rome did as genocide.

It was the abject destruction of societies. Not just the destruction…

View original post 345 more words

29
Dec
17

Amazing Grace III

 




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