Friday, April 14, 2017

The Triumph of Love

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

As a kid, once I was old enough to grasp the significance of Good Friday...that it is the day we  observe the anniversary of the crucifixion...the name became an enigma.

In my head, it call a day 'good' that saw such unspeakable cruelty. A day on which, to all appearances, evil had its way. A day that saw innocence suffer for the guilty.  I had a hard time reconciling that with the word 'good'.

To be honest, I still struggle with it from time to time when I think of the human-ness of Jesus suffering the abuse and trauma he in no way deserved.  But I think I understand now why we call it 'good'.

It was the day evil ran rampant.  When the enemy threw his full force behind the destruction of good. And it seemed for a time that evil triumphed.

But, when all was said and done, when the enemy had delivered his best shot...that shot came up short.  Evil could not overcome good.  Or, to put it another way, when all the evil had been poured out, the good covered it and had more besides.

The enemy could not get Jesus to stop the process.  Jesus took everything the devil threw at him.  Physical pain, humiliation, verbal abuse, rejection, the horror of the guilt of sin...Jesus drank the cup to the very bottom.  He did it.  We see the triumph three days later, but I think the real triumph was in the words 'It is finished!'

He had endured the worst the enemy could do and it wasn't enough to stop the love and grace of God that day.

Oh, there may be liturgical and theological reasons why we call today 'Good Friday'...but in my mind and heart, it's good because today is the day love won.  Even if it was three days before anyone knew it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

What is Truth?

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
I had to make a quick stop at Publix on Tuesday night and glanced at the magazine rack as I checked out, in something of a hurry, and saw this:
Had I not been in such a hurry, I might have paused to consider that I might want to actually read the pertinent articles, but I paid for my purchases and left.  When I realized later that I really should have read it, I decided to pick up a copy when I got my next gallon of milk...which was today, but the new issue was in the stand.  Too late.

A little internet searching turned up that, first and foremost, they were discussing politics and the media.  There may be more discussion about the place of truth in our increasingly post-modern society, but that wasn't mentioned in detail in the little discussion blurbs I found.

But this has been percolating for a bit.  I just finished class number 11 out of 12 in the pursuit of the masters of ministry degree, which was on Biblical preaching.  But the textbook was a series of interviews with 20 prominent preachers of recent years.  Some were old school, while some were part of what is increasingly called the 'emerging church'.

It showed the tension between the modern exegesis, based on a structured presentation of a solid concept of truth, and the post-modern narrative, which comes at truth in a different, more experiential way.

It was eye opening, to say the least.  I found I am completely modern in my thinking; one of the characteristics of modern thought processes is the axiomatic acceptance of the existence of absolute, objective truth.  That certainty is reflected in the kind of engineering and scientific thinking that developed rockets and put men on the moon.  But the post-modern thinker is not so sure there is such a thing as absolute, objective truth and really doesn't consider it to be important if there is.

It was a shock; having just come to the realization that my core value is truth, I suddenly saw myself as a dinosaur.  That kind of conviction affects absolutely everything I think and believe.  That anyone would be basically unconcerned about truth is...incomprehensible to me.  I just can't fathom it. So how can I communicate with a person to whom the word 'truth' has a whole different meaning than it does to me?

One of the interviewees in the book (I'd look it up, but I took the book to work and it's on my shelf there) made a statement to the effect of '...millenials don't care so much if Christianity is true.  We can't argue them into accepting Christianity because it is true.  What we have to do is convince them that it is beautiful and good, then they will be open to considering that it might be true.'

All of my logical arguments for Christianity...why I believe it...are basically meaningless to a post-modern thinker.  I might as well be speaking a foreign language.

And the enemy has done a very thorough job of throwing bad examples of Christians before people who have no basis by which to know they're bad examples.  All they see is something that, to them, looks harsh and judgemental and controlling and...ugly.  If it's true, they don't want it.

This is the challenge of the 21st century for the modern thinking Christian...and it's going to require a lot of effort in uncomfortable ways.  We can no longer proclaim Christianity...we have to display Christianity in a way that is relevant to folks who aren't at all interested in learning more about something they think they know already.  I think it was the same person who made the above statement that also said something close to 'They will come to Christ not through argument but through influence.'

That's going to be quite a challenge indeed.