Monthly Archives: May 2012

God fulfills the sermon on the mount? (E. Stanley Jones)


I wanted to share a piece of E. Stanley Jones (1884-1974), who was an important figure in Indian Christianity in the 20th century. I’m currently reading in e-version of ‘the Christ of the mount’,¬† a commentary on the sermon on the mount that is really interesting. I wanted to share this part, which coincidentally seems to fit perfectly with ‘virtue reborn’ by N.T. Wright in describing what Wright would call ‘Christian Character, but here he also turns it around, to apply it to God Himself. Which gives us quite the opposite of what some fundamentalists and new-reformed christians want us to believe, who have a godview that would make me an atheist! (And which looks more like the Capitol from the hunger games, as Sarah Moon points out here)

The reward of this kind of living which Jesus has been setting before us in the Sermon is in the quality of being : “Ye shall be sons of your Father,” or as Luke puts It “sons of the Most High.” Being willing to be the sons of the most low, you turn out to be sons of the Most High The reward is in the very make-up of your character.
It is not in being given a harp in heaven, but in winning a heart that has learned its song ;not in being allowed to walk on streets of fine gold, but in having the refined gold of character.
Your greatest reward will be that you will be like your Father. And that is heaven, whatever the future may bring. Every man will reflect himself in his environment, he will draw around Him in his environment qualities like his own. Any man that takes heaven with him is bound to have heaven. But the basis of that heaven and the degree of that heaven is character. As I have already said, in these twenty-seven marks of perfection there is not one that is irrelevant, and not one that will not be utterly necessary in the make-up of the perfect character for God and man. In the Father too ? Yes.
For these twenty-seven marks are in the Father himself:

He is surrendered in spirit in Christ he surrenders himself to the limitations, the trials, the buffetings and the cross of an earthly life; he mourns1 the cross is the symbol of that deep vicarious mourning ; he is the serving meek, if Jesus is the image of his person; he hungers and thirsts after righteousness not in himself, but in others, in his children the God of moral indifference has faded out and a God intensely ethical Is here. But in all Ms holiness he is the merciful toward imperfections in others; he is the pure in heart in him is no darkness at all ; the peacemaker an active intervener in love. He is persecuted and falsely spoken against, yet he rejoices and is exceedingly glad. He is the salt of the earth the silent power that keeps it from corruption and that pnts taste and worth and meaning into life. The light of the world take him out and the world turns to night. He keeps the least commandment that he lays on others. He is not indifferent to the painful struggle upward. He does not destroy it, he fulfills it. He is not angry with his children in the sense of revenge, but only in the sense of redemptive, moral indignation. He is quick to agree with his adversaries, going more than half way. He is above all impurity, even in thought. His word is simple and Yea, yea, and Nay, nay not subject to whimsicalities. He resists evil on the high level of turning the other cheek, going the second mile, and giving the cloak also. He gives to them that ask and from those that would borrow he turns not away. He loves Ms enemies and does good to them that despitefully use him. He sends the rain on the just and on the unjust, makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good.He loves them that do not love him and salutes those who pass him by he is the Perfect!
This kind of a God can have my heart. For as Jesus has been sketching for us the likeness of the Father I see in it his own likeness. God is Christlike; and if he is, then he is a good God and trustable.

The christ of the road, p 199-201

Shalom

Bram

New blog: Hortus Brambonii


Besides my ‘blog of Brambonius‘ in dutch and the blog of the same name in English there is now also the ‘Hortus Brambonii‘ blog (latin for ‘the garden of Brambonius’) which will be bilingual. The topics on this blog will be restricted to nature, gardening and a bit of cooking with alternative ingredients. There is also a new Twitter feed that goes together with it.

At first I will be reposting all my relevant articles that I’ve ever written on those subjects, most of which will be in Dutch, but I’ll start writing in english sometimes too. We’ll see how the evolution of the blog will be…

So I invite ya all to go over to the hortus Brambonii to take al look…

shalom

Bram

A modesty cramp?


Someone posted the next video on Facebook and asked what the guys think…

So before I go further: I don’t know the US and its conservative culture, I only have encountered this modesty debate in fragments, and also: my grandfathers was a painter whose speciality were weird abstrad female nudes, which I never percieved as erotic.
(and anyway: I can speak only of one man, that man being me….)

My first reaction: I find this freaky! And I can’t connect to this at all!

My second reaction: This guy is in such a cramp! I don’t know what his definition of ‘lust’ is, and to me it seems like even experiencing the least of attraction is considered the worst kind of lust, which seems to create an impossibility to ever do right when seeing a woman. Seeing a beautiful woman does not at all mean that I want sex with her. It’s not because I feel attraction that my thoughts go ‘hey I need to betray my wife with that sexy body!’.

And yes, staring at an attractive person is wrong and could easily lead to wrong thoughts, and Jesus says that if you look at a woman to lust after her, you’ve committed adultery in your head. Which is not good at all, and is quite dangerous to the oneness of your relationship. But I don’t believe that every bit of attraction is ‘lusting’ in that way.

And I don’t think that this kind of lusting, and the way in which men react wrongly to seeing someone attractive is provoked by the¬†woman anyway, it exists mainly in the mans reaction himself. And no matter what, a woman, or any person cannot avoid being found attractive to everyone. A man with the wrong mindset will lust after every woman anyway, no matter how she’s dressed and how much of her is visible.

(And saying ‘modest is hottest’ is just contradictory and plain nonsense, sorry)

I don’t think that the stereotyped sexiness is the only thing that’s provoke attraction in a man anyway. As a teenage boy I found girls with baggy sweaters quite cute, because I find pyjama-like clothes quite cuddly… Which did not mean I had sexual thought about them, but I definitely found it attractive! And frankly, I’m also quite an ‘eyes guy’. The most sexy there can be is beautiful eyes.. Should I make videos about how women should wear sunglasses and cover their eyes, and write letters to TV companies not to show beautiful eyes?

The problem is that we’re living in the world we’re living in. And if you’re not able to cope with how most women in this world are dressed, then you have a problem you should work on.

(If you’re conditioned to view women the way the media wants you to see them you have a problem already. Most ads want us to see images women as a sexual impulse to buy whatever crap they sell. Quite dehumanising for both sexes, as I’ve said many times, and we should not at all conform to such destructive nonsense)

The whole modesty debate makes me think that we should have a different mindset. And I mean this in the light of other cultures in which the human body and sexiness are perceived completely different. Some tribes in which people walk around almost naked don’t see breasts as erotic, while other cultures cover people up completely, so that even ankles are too sexy to cope with.

Makes one think about how this perception of sexiness is formed, and how we want to form in ourselves the perception of the opposite sex (for heterosexuanals that is). It is, after all a form of training, and following this modesty cramp will still be training us in the wrong way! I think as a Christian that training to look at every women as our sisters, mothers and daughters is just plain logical, isn’t it? Yes, I speak of ‘training’. This whole debate is clearly about nurture, not nature, and following Christ and loving our neigbor requires us to be transformed by the renewal of our mind!

(Also, why does this kind of modesty stuff always only focus on men as if men are all visual and women are all just objects to be seen. There are also women watching porn, so women can be quite visual too… So why do I never see such a thing about men being modest. (Maybe I should be glad that I’m not that attractive, hah!…))

What do you people think?

shalom

Bram