A passion for Jesus and for justice

Justice is inherent in justification.

This understanding of justification will have enormous effects on the church’s understanding of mission. Like Paul, the church that lives by this account of justification will not merely be trying to “save souls” but will want to be God’s agent in the creation of a justified and just people – transformed and participating in Christ and his current work in and through the church.

Evangelism – sharing the good news – will be a message about liberation from all sorts of sin, including hatred and violence and injustice, and into a new life. Centrifugal activity, or outreach – embodying the good news in the public square – will mean siding with those who are neglected and mistreated, whether in the neighborhood or in another part of the world. In fact, the differences between terms like “evangelism” and “outreach” will in part collapse, not because Jesus is being replaced with justice, understood in some generic, secular way, but because Jesus is justice, the justice of God incarnate. The result will be a deeper spirituality, not a lesser one, a closer walk with God (the God of justice), not a more distant one. In fact, the result will be a passion for Jesus and for justice.

— Michael J. Gorman, from Becoming the Gospel: Paul, Participation, and Mission

Painful but true words about gifting

If you are entrusted with a certain gift, most of the people around you won’t be similarly gifted. They won’t be able to see as clearly because God has not equipped them to. But being gifted with discernment does not give you permission to be spiteful, arrogant, or judgmental toward them. It is your responsibility to help the community by raising uncomfortable questions and then waiting patiently while it struggles with them. And more than likely, you’ll have to wait much longer than you want.

— Hannah Anderson, from All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment

links for 2010-02-09

  • "It is time to take stock: What has the intelligent design movement achieved? As science, nothing. The goal of science is to increase our understanding of the natural world, and there is not a single phenomenon that we understand better today or are likely to understand better in the future through the efforts of ID theorists. If we are to look for ID achievements, then, it must be in the realm of natural theology. And there, I think, the movement must be judged not only a failure, but a debacle."

    I'm not ready to take sides in this debate, but this is a very thoughtful piece, worth reading.

links for 2010-02-02

links for 2010-02-01

  • "Religious / clergy-based leadership often behaves like an overbearing conductor, not partnering with the orchestra but managing and controlling the musical conversation. Talgam concludes, “The worst damage I can inflict on my orchestra is to give them a clear instruction, for it prevents the sectional ensembles from listening to each other.” The global-virtual ecclesia is listening to each other – moving their focus away from the podium, towards a harmonious priesthood of the commons."

    Interesting analogy and thoughts here.

  • Henry was right, says author Richard Mouw, in his view that the church should not address political or economic specifics:

    "The church is obliged to "declare the criteria by which nations will ultimately be judged, and the divine standards to which man and society must conform if civilization is to endure."

    "…A constant theme in his writings was that the church as such has neither the competence nor the authority to address political or economic specifics. He would usually add, though—probably with the memory of Nazi Germany in mind—that there may be "emergency situations" in which the church would have clear mandate from God to address specific evils. But in the normal course of things, the church should leave it up to individuals to take a very general mandate to think and act Christianly in the public arena."

links for 2010-01-26

  • "As I indicated in the first post in this series, I think authenticity is important, even indispensable in Christian communities. But it is not a sufficient rule of practice to tell us either how to act (because we’re being authentic) or how we shouldn’t (because doing a particular action wouldn’t be authentic).

    Our rule of life is not who we are, but who we are being made to be in Christ, and the road he has led us on by which to get there: the way of the cross, which is the way of death, which is the formative narrative that determines what our life in community looks like."

    I promise I won't start linking every post, but this series from Dr. J. R. Daniel Kirk is really good stuff. Quickly becoming a favorite blog of mine.

  • Geof is upfront, as ever, about his struggles with mental illness. A good brother who needs our prayers.
    (tags: cjh_comment)

links for 2010-01-25

  • "First, did you notice that our worship of God is given back-seat to our relationships with God’s children? Against our individualistic tendencies that see worship as a matter between me and God, or my heart alone before God, this passage says no, the quality of your community as a place that is living into the reconciled relationships that God himself establishes with us is our first priority."

    Good good stuff from Dr. Kirk.