I found this on the internet, by ‘The Thinking Atheist’…..I only wish we had more ‘Thinking Christians’ like this guy! Although he might not like me saying it and many others will not like me saying it….but this guy’s message is more Christlike than so much of the garbage, that is promoted by “Mindless Christians”! Thank you Mr. Atheist…Live loved!
Here are two wonderful presentations of, ‘A Beautiful Gospel’!
Brian Zahnd and Brad Jersak both show through this simple approach/telling, how we Christians have too often made the ‘Good News’ not so good..but then they show/tell it as it is..the greatest news of all! A Beautiful Gospel indeed!
It is always wonderful to me to find that there is a bigger picture than the one that is constrained behind the blinkers…that I never thought I now had!
The following teaching by Greg Boyd was blinker shattering for me! It resonates with what I believe is the voice of God in me…leading me to a more intimate and freer space where love is at the centre!
I have for years been a passionate Christian Zionist, who is seeing more and more, that much of my understanding on Israel and the last days is flawed, through a blinkered and often times distorted understanding of both scripture and God! I hope this teaching challenges you as it did me….I hope it brings you closer to the heart of God….I hope that instead of trying to justify your entrenched position, (as I have done too many times), you will allow the gentle voice of love to lead you into all (unblinkered) truth!
Keep your eyes upon Jesus…..!
When it comes to theology, I find it hard to love those with whom I disagree. Especially those who attack my beliefs or the beliefs of others whom I love and respect. Yet the Lord clearly tells me to, “Love one another as I have loved you”. He even tells me to love my enemies! I find it hard enough to love the twits who write disingenuously of my Sisters and Brothers in Christ!
How do I move forward then?
I sincerely pray that I may hold my theological convictions with humility and love those with whom I disagree! Here are six good suggestions (from the Book, Simple Church – Unity Within Diversity), for maintaining humility whilst discussing theology…
1. Realise that you are wrong. All of us are – no exceptions! You may not be wrong about everything, but you certainly aren’t right about everything either. Since you are guaranteed to be wrong about some things, you still have more to learn.
2. Learn how to learn from others. I’ve found that I often gain the most from those with whom I most strongly disagree. God gifted us all differently, and that includes our areas of understanding. If you’re convinced a fellow believer is wrong in one area, you probably have a lot to learn from that person in other areas.
3. Make every effort to understand differing view points rather than trying to disprove them. You can’t truly understand a belief by reading a book written against it – such efforts rarely represent the other side accurately. Instead, try getting to know people who hold different beliefs. Ask them personally for explanations. Don’t defend your own beliefs; just listen.
4. Seek the truth together. Ignore the desire to prove your theology. If your current beliefs are wrong, you should want them corrected. If they are right, they will hold up without your defence. Winning a debate doesn’t prove a theology, but debates can tend to polarize people away from each other. Be ready to explain your beliefs when others ask, but be even more ready to listen as others give their explanations.
5. Remember that you are part of a family. If you would not separate from a family member over theology (and I certainly hope you wouldn’t), remember that your union in the family of God is far more important than that of any physical relation. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and there is no reason we can’t agree to disagree.
6. Keep your eyes on Jesus. When He is the focus, little else matters. Determine, along with Paul, “to be concerned about nothing … Except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1Cor 2:2)
(Excerpt taken from ‘Simple Church – Unity Within Diversity’ Edited By Eric Carpenter
Chapter by Chuck McKnight – A Church That Holds Theological Convictions With Humility.) (Redeeming Press)
Br. Michael Daly.
Here is a link to an excellent article by Bishop Quintin Moore of the CEEC (Communion of Evangelical and Episcopal Churches) on his recent trip to Rome and the call to Unity, which the late Bishop Tony Palmer helped ignite through his friendship with Pope Francis.
Pace e Bene
There seems to be today the idea that if you disagree with certain lifestyles you are hater of those people/persons. This is particularly true within the LGBTQ community, but covers a multitude of life choices much bigger than these. When I was a young man living a debauched hedonistic prodigal lifestyle, my father disliked and disagreed with my lifestyle…but he never hated me. I may dislike and disagree with my son’s choice of lifestyle but I do not hate them! I have friends with whom I disagree because of their lifestyle choices…but I do not hate them! I know a multitude LGBTQ people as well as heterosexuals…I may disagree and/or dislike some of their lifestyles…but I do not hate them! To promote such an idea (that if you dislike or disagree with another’s lifestyle, gender orientation or choice, means you are a hater of them) is part of the dumbing down of our humanity and a way that will inevitably lead to the death of reason, free thought and society!
Brother Michael Daly. CJ May 2014
On April 12th 2013 Richard Francis Xavier Manning known to us as Brennan Manning, was caught up into the furious longing of his Abba. He was a man who had struggled all his life with his humanity. “When I am honest, I admit that I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt. I hope and I get discouraged. I love and I have. I feel bad about feeling good. I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games.”
When ambushed by Jesus, Brennan’s life though broken in many ways was caught up into what he called the furious longing of God. He knew that Jesus not only loved him, but liked him. Saved by grace and called to preach grace, he never stopped, though at times crushed by the impostor he had wrestled with from his youth, he pressed on because he was caught up in the love of his Abba. For those of us who have found ourselves broken, dirty, messed up, ragamuffin’s, outcasts, prodigals wrestling daily with sin, hoping against hope that God would still love us, Brennan would resound with the heart of God and take you again and again to the feet of Jesus.
“For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said ‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy burdened’, He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged and disheartened along the way.” Brennan knew this from experience and he wanted to pass on what he had received from the Lord, “…..I have received from the Lord Jesus….His unconditional acceptance of me as I am, not as I should be. He loves me whether in a state of grace or disgrace, whether I live up to the lofty expectations of His gospel or I don’t. He comes to me where I live and loves me AS I AM….Will we let the healing power of the risen Jesus flow through us to reach and touch others, so that they may dream and fight and bear and run where the brave dare not go?”
In his book the ‘Signature of God’, Manning wrote of a dream he had of the last judgement and how he was there with a multitude of people and famous personalities, his name is called and he writes; “I hear my name: “Brennan.” As I step forward, like a bell sounding deep within my soul, I hear the words of the poet T. S. Eliot, “O my soul, be prepared to meet him who knows how ask question”
The Man looks directly at me and then looks through all my bluff and pious rhetoric, through the content of my books and sermons, through all the minimizing and justifying of my lifestyle. For the first time in my life, I am seen and known as I really am.
Trembling, I ask, “What is my judgement, Lord?”
He hands me the Book. The word I spoke has already judged you.” A long pause…then he smiles. I walk up to him and touch his face. He takes my hand and we go home.”
Brennan has now gone home to his Lord, to his Abba and yet his writing and thoughts will continue to encourage, edify and comfort all who are seeking a true and living relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Jesus Christ will return in glory. Every man who has ever drawn breath will be appraised, evaluated and measured solely in terms of their relationship with the Carpenter of Nazareth. This is the realm of the really Real…..The eschatological lordship of Jesus Christ and his primacy in the created order (see Ephesians 1:9-10) are at the very heart of the Gospel proclamation. This is reality.
If I ask myself, “What am I doing walking around this planet? Why do I exist?” as a disciple of Jesus I must answer, “For the sake of Christ.” If the angels ask, it is the same answer. “We exist for the sake of Jesus Christ.” If the entire universe were suddenly to become articulate, from north to south and east to west, it would cry out in chorus, “We exist for the sake of Jesus Christ!” The name of Jesus would issue from the seas and mountains and valleys, it would be tapped out by the pattering rain. It would be written in the skies by lightning. The storms would roar the name “Jesus Christ, God hero!” and the mountains would echo back. The sun on its westward march through the heavens would chant a thunderous hymn. “The whole universe is full of Christ!”
This is the Apostle Paul’s vision of creation, his Christocentric concept of the universe. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1: 15 – 16)
If there is any priority in the personal or professional life of a Christian more important than the lordship of Jesus Christ, he or she is disqualified as a witness to the gospel. Since that glorious morning when Jesus burst the bonds of death and the messianic era erupted into history, there has never been a new agenda, new priorities, and a revolutionary hierarchy of values.
The Nazarene Carpenter did not simply refine Aristotelian ethics; he did not
merely reorder Old Testament spirituality; he did not simply renovate the old creation. He initiated a revolution. We must renounce all that we possess, not just most of it (see Luke 14:33). We must give up the old way of life, not just correct some aberrations in it (see Ephesians 4:22). We are to be an altogether new creation, not simply a refurbished version of it (see Galatians 6:15). We are to be transformed from one glory to another, even into the very image of the Lord – transparent (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). Our minds are to be renewed by a spiritual revolution (see Ephesians 4:23).
The primal sin, of course is to go on acting like it never happened, basing our lives on pop religion and the power of positive thinking, trendy spiritualities and power politics, rather than on the Sermon on the Mount and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
With Manning, “I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behaviour or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery.”
Remembering Brennan Manning !934 – 2013
Michael Daly, CJ
April 13th 2013
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a godly person. Yet when I look at the yesterdays of my life, what I see, mostly, is a broken, irregular path littered with mistakes and failure. I have had temporary successes and isolated moments of closeness to God, but I long for the continuing presence of Jesus. Most of the moments of my life seem hopelessly tangled in a web of obligations and distractions. I want to be a good person. I don’t want to fail. I want to learn from my mistakes, rid myself of distractions, and run into the arms of Jesus. Most of the time, however, I feel like I am running away from Jesus into the arms of my own clutteredness. I want desperately to know God better. I want to be consistent. Right now the only consistency in my life is my inconsistency. Who I want to be and who I am are not very close together. I am not doing well at the living-a-consistent-life thing. I don’t want to be St. John of the Cross or Billy Graham. I just want to be remembered as a person who loved God, who served others more than he served himself, who was trying to grow in maturity and stability. I want to have more victories than defeats, yet here I am, almost 60, and I fail on a regular basis.If I were to die today, I would be nervous about what people would say at my funeral. I would be happy if they said things like “He was a nice guy” or “He was occasionally decent” or “Mike wasn’t as bad as a lot of people.” Unfortunately, eulogies are delivered by people who know the deceased. I know what the consensus would be. “Mike was a mess.”
Mike Yaconelli. ‘Messy Spirituality’
Br. Michael Daly. C.J.