Sunday, December 30, 2007

Whatever happened to this thing 'The Gospel'

So I walked into my home to discover my brothers were watching 'Jesus Camp', luckily for me the movie was half done at that point. I sat down to join them in watching this film and I basically want to vomit over all of America. And so, as I sit here watching this film on Christianity in America (and I would argue not simply a few radicals) I ask myself, "What has happened to the Gospel? Where is it?"

They have this guy 'preaching' at these kids about abortion. Encouraging to scream out to God and 'plead by the blood of Christ' that abortion would be ended. Here is a suggestion, how about instead of looking to have laws changed and hope for an immediate miraculous healing of all social ills why don't we as Christians care for these women and men who seek abortions. Why don't we care for teenage mothers, for women with addictions, and for the other people who seek out abortions. There is far more to the gospel than simply demanding morality being legislated.

These kids are brainwashed with warfare language. They are regurgitating this language about being God's warriors who are waging war on the Devil. It is scary when Jr. Highs are talking about how they desire to be martyrs and how God it when people are willing to be martyrs. This glorification of martyrdom is disgusting. Do these white, suburbanite, Americans know many people who have lived through persecution, people who face death because of their faith? Do they even know people who come from countries where wars have happened, where they are happening?

Lets start reading the Bible again, free of political agendas. Let us start actually reading the Bible. Lets admit that America is not God's chosen nation. Lets admit that we are not the deliverers of salvation, that we are not the people who bring about the grace of God.

I wish that Dietrich Bonhoeffer were here today. I think he would seriously have some ball busting words for people.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Simply out of Duty

I feel I should 'blog' because its been awhile but I do not really want to blog right now. I have like three papers due on Wednesday, and I didn't end up doing any work on them this last week. That is ok though because I spent time with family and skied.

The best part of my time in good old PA was definitely making a quinzhee and sleeping away my Christmas Eve night outside. It was warm and wonderful. Nothing like snuggling up with two other guys and waking up on Christmas morning outside. It should probably become a tradition.

I am very happy to be back in Winnipeg though. I missed by beloved city.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Due to a very interesting small group get together a few weeks ago I have been thinking about conversion and wanting to put my thoughts on the subject together in writing. So what follows is my 2 cents on the topic of conversion.

I dislike this idea of personal salvation, that you convert in order to get yourself to heaven. Whether people know it or not what they are really saying is that conversion is something you do to avoid hell. These messages that we hear about our need to repent of our sins to avoid hell rub me the wrong way. Why? Well, allow me to continue by saying that I think God has a will.

Now this notion of the will of God is not new, but I think it is central to our understanding of conversion and salvation. You see I believe that God desires to be our God, that God longs to be in a relationship with humans. The book of Exodus is one place in scripture where we are shown this will of God. God wants to be the God of Israel and he wants for them to be his people. While there are individuals involved in this it is not about individuals. It is about something greater than me or anyone else for it is about God's people, not God's person. And so, at the heart of my understanding of conversion is the belief that God desires to be in a specific relationship with humans.

In scripture we are taught that there is this thing called sin which has greatly affected our ability to be in relationship with God. Through the grace of God though we are once again called into His presence. Those that are unworthy are called by the Holy One to enter into a relationship. In Genesis God fashions proper clothing for Adam and Eve, replacing the clothing they had fashioned out of fig leaves. Fig leaves are probably not the best leaf to use if you want to cover your naked self. Since the beginning God has continually been of grace, bringing people into relationship with himself and the Old Testament is full of stories of God bringing people back to himself despite the sins that they commit. Ultimately we are lead to the death and resurrection of Christ. To this sacrifice that was made.

I have problems when people use the death of Christ as a means of escaping from the consequences for their own actions, escaping the claws of hell. I believe strongly that it is through this grace of God that we are justified but I believe that we have come to forget that this justification exists because of the will of God. The crucifixion of Christ happened because of God's will to be in relationship with humans, with men and women, with children and adults.

Basically I see conversion as the casting away of the old self to follow Christ, to be in relationship with God and to find the new self. It is not an escape plan, it is a movement to God, and in this movement God reveals himself and through God we learn who we are. We learn that we are sinful but that we are loved by our heavenly father. Conversion is a part of something much bigger than repenting and an avoidance of hell. For God has plans for the world, not just for individuals, and I believe that we must think of conversion and salvation in terms of this. It is a kingdom thing, not a individual thing.