Monthly Archives: December 2011

nonviolence: 2 quotes…


… And I happen to agree strongly with both of them!

Nonviolent resistance is not directed against people but against forces of evil. Those who happen to be doing evil are as victimized by the evil they do as those who are the object of their oppression. Therefore, I will not go to war. I will not support war against other nations. I will resist recruitment into the military. I will encourage others to do the same. – Shane Crash

Nonviolent action on behalf of justice is no automatic formula with promise of success: but neither is war. After all, at least half of the people who go to war for some cause deemed worthy of it are defeated. ― John Howard Yoder

(thanks to Brandt russo, Jason Coker and Jamie Arpin-Ricci for the fb-shares)

What do you people think?

shalom

Bram

When death dies, all things live


The new gungor record is really good. If you read dutch, I have written a review here for cultuurshock.net. Not only the music, but also the lyrics and the stories behind them are impressive…

And last but not least, Michael Gungor is one of those musicians who can make a brilliant album, and yet play even better live versions. This version of ‘when death dies is just beyond incredible…

[Yes, that black guy is playing cello solo's and beatboxing at the same time...!]

When death dies (Gungor)

Like the waters flooding the desert
Like the sunrise showing all things
Where it comes flowers grow
Lions sleep, gravestones roll
Where death dies all things live

Where it comes poor men feast
Kings fall down to their knees
When death dies all things live
All things live

Like a woman searching and finding love
Like an ocean buried and bursting forth
Where it comes flowers grow
Lions sleep, gravestones roll
Where death dies all things come alive

Where it comes water’s clean
Children fed
All believe
When death dies all things live
All things live

Beautiful, isn’t it, the idea of the final defeat of death? Why aren’t we more excited about this idea as evangelicals? Especially when even Harry Potter is…

But to get back to the point of this post: Yes, Christian music with roots in the worship scene can be artistic, and lyrically and theologically challenging!

shalom

Bram

So I guess I’m back


I think my blog silence is over for now.  I’ve been busy with work, studies, family and my incapability to organise myself, but I am a person who can not not write…

So I’ll try to blog again on a regular base, and share my thoughts and findings in my own stumbling towards God, and my clumsily babysteps in being a follower of jesus, or at least die trying… It might be more random than it used to be, and I will probably do more short posts, based on quotes and stuff… But I’ll try to maintain a more regular blogging rhytm.

And even if I don’t succeed, love and peace to ya all… there are worst things in life than an unupdated blog somewhere in a corner of the internet…

shalom

Bram

The worst of all sins, the Jesus creed and an orthodox hell…


Let’s start with a quote that could come from some classic book about Christianity of the sort that should be read by everyone, but in fact just is stolen from a blogcomment by the ever incredible Scott Morizot, on Sarah Moons blog. (The context is a discussion about premarital sex, but I’m not going into that now)

The modern church has largely lost sight of the deeper understanding of the ancient church. The physical passions, lust, gluttony, and the rest can be very destructive, but they are the lesser passions. Greed, anger, hatred, bitterness. Those passions form us into subhuman beings and are more dangerous for most people in the long run.

- Scott Morizot

I think this is really important stuff. We shouldn’t put our main focus on outward sins like a lot of Christian moralists do, but on the structural sins that reside in our heart. We should not fight symtoms, but cut to the core of the problem. And the problem of sin is much deeper than breaking a law and doing what we shouldn’t do:

Sin” in the Christian sense does not mean breaking a law or violating ritual cleanliness. The closest meaning would be ‘missing the mark’ and the ‘mark’ for Christians, as I understand it, is always Christ. Communion with Christ. Forming Christ in ourselves. Being Christ to others.

- Scott Morizot

This is something I’ve been thinking about, since I’ve reread Scot McKnight’s ‘the Jesus creed‘, I’ve very clumsily started to at random times recite to myself the “Jesus Creed”, or Jesus adaptation of the Shema that we mostly know as ‘the great commandment’, and wondering if I do indeed in any way even try to live up to that. Which can be a really confronting exercise!

The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Christ, From Mark 12

First comment here is that loving God is something strange, but I do believe that it means to know God, a personal relationship with God. If we believe that in the afterlife we’re going to be with Him without end, then it’s worth trying to get to know Him in this life too, isn’t it?

Another comment: If the law is summed up in “love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your fellow human as yourself”, then this must be the first thing to which we turn to see whether something is sin, even if we take the definition of sin as law-breaking. Everything that hinders us in growing this double love of God and neigbor in any way is ‘sin’. And the most dangerous sins here would be indeed things like greed, anger, hatred and bitterness. Which is scary sometimes to realise, for example if we consider that our economy does run on greed, when, like Paul says, love of money is the root of all evil…

If we allow those things to grow in our lives, they will hinder love, and in the end make it impossible. And if love is really impossible, we indeed become ‘sub-human’, we become a child of darkness that will never be able to endure the light. Which is a very scary definition of hell which I did encounter in orthodox thought: for the lost soul eternity with God IS hell, an all-consuming fire…

those are just thoughts that are incomplete; so all comments are welcome!

Shalom

Bram

the death of Jesus is our death


When doing some reading on the incarnation, I came to this quote by Athanasius, one of the church fathers from the time of the Nicene creed, regarded by some as one of the most important thinkers of the early church:

The Saviour came to accomplish not His own death, but the death of men; whence He did not lay aside His body by a death of His own — for He was Life and had none — but received that death which came from men, in order perfectly to do away with this when it met Him in His own body.

St. Athanasius, on the incarnation of the Word

I never thought of it this way, but it fist perfectly with my intuitive view on atonement and the cross, in which Jesus took on Himself not like some would say the punishment of sin, but sin itself, and death, and evil. The powers of evil overtook Him but could not hold Him down, the darkness wasn’t able to extinguish the Light itself, death was not able to take Him, since He was Life itself!

So He who was Life took our death, and did away with it…
He who was Light took our darkness, and did away with it…
He who was without any sin, took our sin…
He who was Love, took our hate…
All powers of evil overpowerd Him, who was Goodness Himself. And it could not do a thing against Him!

Jesus conquered all the powers!

The mystery of Christus Victor is bigger than we could understand, or than my words could ever describe… And there’s much more to say about this quote than this incoherent rant…

shalom

Bram