Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Apartheid, Eucharist, Sanctification (Again, not related.)

7 Epiphany
6 Hilary

Hey, check out the new graphic, courtesy of Alan: I have no Inquisition over which to preside, but I am God' s Jack Russell Terrier!

Some of you may be aware that the General Synod of the Church of England has taken some heat over its recent call for the divestment of stock in companies such as Caterpillar, that profit from the current apartheid policies of the Israeli state.

Personally, I think it's the right thing to do. Divestment, that is. Not apartheid.

From Canon Paul Oestreicher in yesterday's Guardian:
But the main objective of my writing today, is to nail the lie that to reject Zionism as it practised today is in effect to be anti-semitic, to be an inheritor of Hitler's racism. That argument, with the Holocaust in the background, is nothing other than moral blackmail. It is highly effective. It condemns many to silence who fear to be thought anti-semitic. They are often the very opposite. They are often people whose heart bleeds at Israel's betrayal of its true heritage.
If you want to discuss it here, read the whole of Oestreicher's piece first.

The over-systemization of our theologies really isn't good for us. Two of my friends have written posts that deal with some of the resulting difficulties, and how that hinders the unfolding of God's salvation in our lives.

Alan has some thoughts on that most sacred of practices, the Holy Eucharist.
...There has always been a faith that has been handed down from generation to generation, in the church catholic, that when the gifts of bread and wine were lifted up, that somehow God takes them and changes them and "this is My Body" becomes real again and that all this is connected to our faith and with the whole Body that is gathered - that somehow God's Holy Spirit is us transmits transformative power and we, also, are changed, healed, forgiven, drawn into further union with Him.
For some, however, "Reason has overtaken them and mystery is no longer acceptable."
- Alan Creech, "this is my body."

Mike Noakes raises some parallel objections to the way we understand salvation" and spiritual formation altogether, upon reading Dallas Willard's Divine Conspiracy:

What do you hear when "gettin' saved" is brought up?
Surely not an invitation to participate in Gods' Kingdom work right now as an apprentice of His Son, King Jesus, as being a reconciled, fully and truly alive human person actively working towards redeeming creation, the whole of the cosmos. Usually it's a little yellow card you feel out after you close your eyes and repeat the line of "God, I'm sorry." and go home (yes, I'm thinking of camp. I'm younger than most of you.) and do naughty things with your girlfriend. At least, that's what I've seen. You?

He argues that "sanctification ... has been held captive by theology systematic" is such away as to put it practically outside the experiene and possibility of real people. This grows to its most painful extreme when we find ourselves believing in our theological systems and trusting our own appropriation of "truth" rather than the living God:
We are told by the Holy Scriptures that Abraham believed God (not theology, not beliefs, but God) and it was credited to him as righteousness. He didn’t merely trust in some arrangement for an eternity at some ethereal party in the sky, he trusted in a very real, personal being who interacted with his life-happenings and was truly a person. He (Abraham) was NOT concerned whether or not he would go to this “heaven” after he passed on, he trusted God to be with him in this life and he worshipped only this being. And for doing so, he was declared a friend of God. And no friend of God will be in “hell.”
He's a bit verbose (pot, meet kettle), but it's worth thinking about, if you've not. Go read the whole thing: "Sin Management: God's Answer?"

And meanwhile, here's a reality check. A band of Muslims attempted to assassinate the Anglican Archbishop of Jos Diocese, Bishop Benjamin Kwashi. Please pray for his family, and all the Christians in the country. Details here, at TitusOneNine.

Christ have mercy.

Update: a letter from Bishop Kwashi, again at TitusOneNine.


Expax said...

Hey I enjoyed the link Kyle. Very good read. Nice new graphic. It had me smiling from year to year.

Bryan said...

Love the graphic Kyle. Pope Benedict would be proud.

Anonymous said...

The more and more I read and hear about Zionism, the way it's practiced today (especially in evangelical churches, of all places), it bothers me. I don't want to be a jerk, or anything. But, theologicaly, I don't see how it stands up. Moraly, it bothers me. Politicaly, it's just... selfish. I think it's something that we will have to deal with more and more in the years to come, due to issues we all see on the news.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Kyle said...

Cheers, Ben and Bryan. It made my week.

I hear you, Mike. I mean, speaking from a Christian theological standpoint, the modern state of Israel has no more "right" to exist than does any other political entity, whether Botswana, Russia, Britain or the United States.

So there.