Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pledge of Allegiance... to whom????

This last week, I had a high school student ask me if the pledge of Allegiance to the USA was an ok expression in response to his undying allegiance to Christ. He felt it was probably unwise and generally not ok but he wanted my opinion.

What Faith. To deny the Pax Romana (Roman Peace used as a symbol for The Empire offering Peace, USA) and follow only our Lord. I wish we all had this faith. Most of us follow the empire with the great exemption "unless it crosses or defies God's word." The problem is: (1) this assumes that the country is or has followed God's will and (2)we are to always and only to follow Christ.

What do we do in response to this faith?

Friday, October 2, 2009

N. T. Wright's "The Challenge of Jesus"

I had to read N. T. Wright's The Challenge of Jesus and then had to answer these 3 questions in response in only 200 words for all three. The book shifted my paradigm of the gospels and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking about the Historical Jesus and what he means to us, to anyone thinking about our mission in response to Jesus, to anyone wanting to expand their faith!

(1) if Jesus remains anchored in the first century Judaism, as Wright suggests, does not his relevance for us today diminish? If I were to answer question one in reading only the first three chapters, I would have to say, “Yes, Jesus' relevance is diminished being so firmly rooted in the 1st century.” Wright portrays a Jesus that is solely for his day. He gives Jesus a mission and passion for 1st century, second-temple Israel that simply cannot be scripturally denied but is fully present in our gospel narrative. I very much lamented Wright's conclusions to come after reading these chapters only to be fully raptured by Wright's re-definition of our Christ-centered vocation.

(2.) What, according to Wright is, and is not, the significance of the resurrection for understanding Jesus? Resurrection did not signify that one had had some sort of personal experience and that everything was going to be ok because our Messiah had died and is spiritually in heaven. Rather, it meant the climax of exiled Israel being freed. It meant that Jesus was physically re-embodied as the 1st century Jews believed the righteous would be, but there is only one who is righteous. It meant the beginning of God's new creation.

(3.) What is the relationship between our present work in reshaping our world, and the future world that God intends to make? It is not simply to hold a dualistic approach in which God has set everything good, but it will fail again, so we sit idly by and wait for the end (Dispensationalism). Rather, it means that we are to be engaged in society and the world, letting Jesus' redemption shine. We are to build on the Jesus foundation, continually pointing to Jesus' new creation, free from exile and forgiven.


Be Blessed and peace be with you!