Monthly Archives: August 2016

Privileged

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“Creative Commons critizing privilege” by Daniel Lobo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1 Peter 2:21 21 You were called to this kind of endurance, because Christ suffered on your behalf. He left you an example so that you might follow in his footsteps. (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

 

Privileged to have heard God’s call
responsible to make God present in the world
wisdom instead of foolishness
honor instead of humiliation
justice instead of corruption
mercy instead of meanness
peace instead of violence
healing instead of woundedness
unity instead of alienation

One Tribe

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“Creative Commons ”You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.’ – C.S. Lewis” by PROQuotesEverlasting is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 12 Now in light of all that, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you? Only this: to revere the Lord your God by walking in all his ways, by loving him, by serving the Lord your God with all your heart and being, 13 and by keeping the Lord’s commandments and his regulations that I’m commanding you right now. It’s for your own good!  (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

So, O Christian, now that you have become Caputo-ized, what is it that you understand to be required of you? Only to respect the insistence that embroils my inward self. Pay attention to that unheard inward calling and follow it, walking in the way taught and lived by Yeshua. Only in that way will I be of service to that which we name as God. Perhaps. Attending to (and heeding) that insistence, that inner beckoning, is like a divine commandment which I ignore at my own peril. We all desire a heavenly origin for the insistences that burrow into our inward being, we want to believe that we (and our tribe, our ancestors) have a special “in” with God. We want to believe that we have been chosen from the beginning of time, and that our being chosen grants us special privilege. Wrong (and, yet, at a deeper level ‘on target’)! No — me /my tribe / my ancestors do not get more or less insistence than others. YES — when I / we pay heed to those inner unheard callings by executing justice for the least, the last, the lost, and the left out… when we open ourselves to strangers through acts of kindness and generosity… then we have made God present in the world for a brief moment. Unfortunately, when I tire of our efforts, when I cease to direct our concerns outward to those in need, then God evanesces, disappears, goes up in smoke… then God dies! The “living” God has only one tribe… those who enflesh the godly insistence (the divine calling) to reach out to the hurting world and its distressed inhabitants. that is the only great and awesome action that deserves the name of God. Perhaps.

Magnificat

By MicheletB (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By MicheletB (Own work) [GFDL], CC-BY-SA-3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Luke 1:26-28 26 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, 27 to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!”
[Scripture quotation from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

When we understand that angels are not supernatural beings but, instead, anything or anyone who bears a divine message for us then we can understand that this mythic metaphor of a story is an angel presenting to us.

This is an awesome story of how, even before Yeshua, there have been those who were willing to say “Here I am… let it be” when confronted with an insistence in the name of God. Perhaps. The insistence doesn’t always make sense in the normal human ways of reckoning sense. There seems to be a different way of reckoning in the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice.

Revelation comes to a young woman (barely beyond childhood) rather than to the long robes well aged within the tradition. The seeming impossible (especially to the long robes) become immediately possible. The poor and disenfranchised are exalted over the ‘high and mighty.’ Fear is replaced by affirmation. And history is transformed.

Rules or People?

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“Creative Commons Wheat” by Sleepy Claus is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Matthew 12:8 8  The Human One is Lord of the Sabbath.”

With the freedom and approval of Yeshua, his disciples did the unthinkable — they gathered grain to feed their hunger on the sabbath. As maintainers of the thinkableand the sanctioned possible, Pharisees challenged Yeshua by citing Jewish law. Yeshua, much to their dismay, turned the provisions of the law inside-out and up-side down. Yeshua clearly read the law in a different voice. According to Yeshuas reading, the law was not designed primarily to restrict human creativity, but only to keep human creativity within the bounds of appropriateness. Of course, this angered the religious authorities, whose goal seems to be restricting the human spirit by rules and regulations, assuming that this would perfectthe human spirit. Instead of human perfection (that is, sin and evil being removed), Gods insistence through the prophets is for a messianic wholeness that enables individuals to grow through sin and evil toward maturity by harnessing faithful trust. This Way of Yeshua had the crowds wondering if he might be in alignment with the ideals of David.

Preposterous!

Preposterous
Genesis 17:1-2 1 ”When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am El Shaddai. Walk with me and be trustworthy. I will make a covenant between us and I will give you many, many descendants.” (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

Abram was an old man when he experienced an insistence that seem to arise from an over-whelming sense of the presence of divinity, named by the Canaanites as El Shaddai (that is, the god who overwhelms or destroys or the breasted one). That divine presence seemed to bond with Abram, bring about changes, and create within him endless possibilities. Henceforth Abram would be known as Abraham. This old man with no children would be the ancestor of a multitude of nations.Preposterous? Probably, but the unthinkable (sometimes even the non-sensical) seems often to be the substance of a calling in the name of God. Perhaps. The key to transforming such a preposterous calling into concrete reality is that having heard and affirmed the calling usually provides a passionate commitment to fulfill the calling. Such passion can be the stuffof accomplishment.

Don’t Give In

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“Creative Commons Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)” by Tito & Eva Marie Balangue is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mark 8:33 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

Yeshua decided to check out how he was being perceived by the crowds. The disciples indicated that some saw him as a John-the-baptizer-type of apocalyptic preacher; others, Elijah re-vivified; many simply saw him as being in the long line of the prophets of Israel. The Yeshua turned the tables on the disciples, “What about you? What do you think about me?” Peter jumped in, “That’s easy.You are the long awaited Messiah.” Yeshua told them not to spread such rumors about him. Then he began to teach the disciples — not about the Messiah, but about the Human Being. When living a inner life of full communion with the inner God-process and an outer life of resisting the Domination System, the result is inevitable rejection and suffering and probably death. He added that death cannot defeat the Human Being — kill off one person and the same spirit is in another… and another… and another… Peter, brash peer-leader among the disciples, took Yeshua aside and suggested that these teachings were not helpful. In fact they were disturbing. Not daunted, Yeshua returned to the group and said, “If you reject what I have just said, you are giving in to the power of the Domination System that wants to control your every thought and tame you so you won’t resist. That will sap the life out of you.

“Yet!”

Yet!

Matthew 26:36-37 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” 37 When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious.
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]


We don’t want our heroes to have feet of clay. Even more, we don’t want the one to whom we have attached the title “Savior” to be all too human. Of course, we are glad that he went aside to pray and took with him three of the disciples. How else were they going to learn real prayer. Well, we find out (no surprise!) that the disciples have feet of clay. While they were asked to stay alert, they fell asleep. It becomes clear that the growing consciousness of Yeshua regarding opposition and the likelihood of impending death is more than their conscious minds can comprehend at this time. So, they anesthetize themselves with sleep — three times over.

Yeshua, on the other hand, cannot sleep. The depth of his personhood is being tested. He senses that death is in his immediate future. In addition to the end of his life, it also means the end of his mission to demonstrate a new way to be connected with a newly understood God. How distressing and frustrating must that be! Not a surprise that he prays that such a fate not befall him. What is surprising is the next word — “Yet” (“Howsobeit” in the KJV). “Yet,” Yeshua’s ultimate commitment is not to his own safety, but to what has been insisted in him since his baptism — a calling to release the inner dynamic of the God-process, to invite humankind to access the messianic possibilities within each of us, to free redemption for the stranglehold of the external and institutional. “Yet” allows Yeshua to change his tone with the disciples — let them sleep.

Everything New

"Creative Commons new creation" by Jane D'Souza is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Creative Commons new creation” by Jane D’Souza is licensed under CC BY 2.0

2 Corinthians 5:17 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

There is a confidence that builds in us as we learn to listen to the insistence of God (perhaps), that unheard inner calling. That confidence is also known as faithing. Faithing is flip side of calling. When we sense that insistence, we become accountable for our response – a response which makes God present in the world. This pattern (insistence -> response -> presence) is crucial for God exists in name only unless we act in God’s name, thus manifesting God to the world. And what is the nature of that manifestation of God (perhaps) — it is simply the spreading of the effects of the Way Yeshua lived and taught, the presence of the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice. During his earthly existence Yeshua did remarkable well. We see the messianic hopes of Israel unmistakenly present in all that he did and taught. We are confident, therefore, that the creation has turned a corner. The Commonwealth is already present, like yeast in the bread dough.

New Life?

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 John 3:1-2   1 There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”

[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

Creative Commons Francisco” by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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One night Nicodemus, Pharisee, leader among the Jews, came to Yeshua and said, “Rabbi, as a teacher you have truly demonstrated what it means to live a holy life in the name of God. Yeshua replied, “Holiness comes from living a new life through insistence, that unheard inner voice in the name of God. Perhaps.” Nicodemus, somewhat confused, asked, “New life? How is that possible for an old man? Do I have to return to the womb and be born another time?” Jesus answered, “The Commonwealth of Peace and Justice is peopled with those who have experienced a spiritual rebirth — turning their attention away from the normal standards of the world. (You know those worldly standards… “might makes right” “the golden rule — whoever has the gold, makes the rules” “whoever dies with the most toys wins.”) The Way of the Commonwealth, insisted upon in the name of God (perhaps), turns our attention toward a high set of priorities and standards — “a preferential option for the poor” “replace hate and violence with love and compassionate action” “if you have, and see a sister or brother in need, share” “resist / subvert the principalities and powers” “love, compassion, justice, health, and wholeness rule.” This is the directional arrow that pierces the hearts and minds of people in the name of God. Perhaps. It is in that spirit that I live my life and teach the Way in order that people like you and your neighbors might have abundant life.

Family Re-Purposed

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“Creative Commons Family” by Laurel Harvey is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mark 3:32-35 32 A crowd was seated around him, and those sent to him said, “Look, your mother, brothers, and sisters are outside looking for you.” 33 He replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 34 Looking around at those seated around him in a circle, he said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother.”
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

Yeshua’s popularity was a mixed blessing. The crowd rushed in while he was trying to eat a meal. Some were saying that he was a mad man. His family was concerned that he might react inappropriately and went to where he was dining. Yeshua had shouted to those in the crowd who were mocking him, “You consider me devilish and evil? If that be the case, how do I then help others to resist devilish evil in their lives and find the healing light of goodness? I teach forgiveness – that even irreverence and disbelief can be forgiven. Where forgiveness is not effective, however, it is the haughty arrogance that ‘knows’ it is right and has no need of forgiveness. At this point his mother and brothers and sisters arrived. Being unable to make their way through the crowd, they called out to Yeshua. A few who close to him said, “Your family is here and they are asking for you.” “Here is my real family,” he replied, gesturing to those who sat at table with him. “Those who follow in the Way of God that I teach, they are my brothers, my sisters, and my mother.”