Reminder of God
July 28, 2006A very interesting class tonight on post-colonialist ideology (Ok, I’m a Geek). In reviewing the writings of Tariq Ramadan, a Muslim political apologist, a sentence jumped off the page at me “One cannot enter into dialogue if one does not recognize the legitimacy of other people’s convictions.” Truth is always where you find it. What is unfortunate is that the presence of this truth in print predates the foundation of Islam by over several hundred years, and yet there is a large segment of Christendom that seems ignorant to it. Large segments seem to think that it is the job of believers to defend the Truth. It is not. Truth is Truth, and needs no defense; instead, Truth needs to be proclaimed. The only thing that needs any defense is why we as individuals have chosen to believe, and then only when we are asked. Take a look.
1st Peter 3: 15
“…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…”
There are some assumptions here. 1st, that one actually has hope. The next, that you’re living a life where that hope is obvious enough to spark questions. Hope. Interesting that Peter did not use the term “good morals,” or “superiority,” but “Hope”. Are we living lives that show hope, and if so, hope in, or for, what? ‘Cuz hope is attractive! What would your fellow workers, family members even, say is your greatest hope? With all do respect, if you’re like most folks, the answer to that would be made in material, not spiritual terms. And when it comes down to it, to defending the Hope of your Faith, is that then done with gentleness and reverence for the other persons belief system? Do you take the time to understand that persons beliefs? The results in North American Christendom don’t bear that out. For very two believers, less than one person outside of the Church chooses to adopt faith in Christ. This means that we are not even effectively reaching our own children. And, frankly, I have to believe that a chunk of the reason why is the lack of gentleness, reverence, with which we approach our fellow man. “One cannot enter into dialogue if one does not recognize the legitimacy of other people’s convictions.” That resonated in a secular class tonight as a great word of wisdom, heard by most for the first time tonight. To bad those who say they are “Christian” hadn’t lived it out with better conviction. Gentleness, reverence for our fellow man’s beliefs. And the courage to live ours, showing a contagious hope…
July 26, 2006I like movies about superheroes. Spiderman, Batman, Superman, even this summer’s spoof, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, are all a blast, and get me pumped. Thinking on superheroes however helped me realize something this week; if one is impervious to bullets, able to conquer heights with no risk to one’s person, able see through walls (or whatever else…), or read the thoughts of others, where, really, is the heroism? Seems like physical risk and emotional risk have all been cast asunder, and there is no need to conquer, or even face, fear. Heroes. I have real ones; even derive strength from them. Not due to their superpowers, or sports prowess, but due to actions, which have flowed from their character, the essence of who they are. The girl who leapt at the chance to put her life very literally on the line to accompany her husband illegally into a country multiple times to smuggle medical and educational materials across the border. The actor who chose time and time again to follow his art instead of following a family career in law or business. The pastor, who founded a Church only to be betrayed by its board, yet went on to start another Church, when coasting could have been an option. Frankly, anyone and everyone who looked at the odds and chose, by virtue of conviction, to take the difficult path, the road that did not make sense, to others, because that was purely and simply the right path for them. Heroes all. Heroes I can relate to. Then, what of the Superhero? The one with Superhuman powers, who chooses not to use them, to keep a “fair fight” if you will, yet still prevails? Think for a moment on this:
“For since he Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
The above verse speaks of Christ. Yes, he was tempted. Fully God, yet fully man, He chose to put his “superpowers” aside, at least as respected His own benefit, so that He could on the anagogic, experiential level understand the depth and ferocity with which temptation hits. And He won. He knows what it is to be tempted, to have the fulcrum at a point where it could swing either way. Yet He didn’t fail, and in doing so, not so that He could condemn, but instead so that He could offer help to those in despair of the powerful sway that temptation holds over them. The enemy has won a great victory if you are not honest with Christ about your temptations. He has felt them all, yet knows the path of victory. Be honest with Him about your temptations. He will be true in His assistance.