Taize is an ecumenical monastery in Burgundy, France. The Lakota are an American Indian nation on a reservation in South Dakota, USA. You might not expect them to feature in the same story, but recently they did. It is a moving story.
Jason Micheli joined more than a thousand pilgrims attending a Taize gathering, this time not in France but on the Pine Ridge Reservation, at the invitation of Lakota nation.
During a time of worship centred around the cross, he had some insights into the cross, human suffering and oppression.
I came across them on Tony Jones’ blog, Theoblogy, and then back on Jason’s blog Tamed Cynic. I felt they needed to be shared.
Check it out. I think you’ll find it worthwhile.
Photo taken from Theoblogy
The battle lines used to seem so clear.
Religion taught that we earned favour with God by “being good” or “doing good works”.
Christianity, on the other hand, taught that we received favour from God by grace, through faith. Ephesians 2:8-9.
It doesn’t take long before a thoughtful Bible reader comes across some rather odd and nasty things, especially in the Old Testament. And non-believers use the odd and nasty things as a weapon against christians: “How can you believe in a God who is genocidal?” they might say.
What are we to make of these things? Do they make it hard to maintain faith in Jesus? And how should we answer the critics?
A friend asked me about this the other day, and I had to research it, so I thought I would post what I learned.
The idea of an immortal soul which lives on after death is part of many people’s understanding of christianity. But it probably isn’t true.
I’m currently reading Knowing Christ Today by Dallas Willard, and I found this quote:
“Prayer is God’s arrangement for a safe power sharing with us in his intention to bless the world through us.”
I like this, because it touches on a number of important things.
The stories keep on appearing – there’s definitely something happening here.
This time it’s the story of a keen mission-minded christian who was condemned by the ‘doctrine police’ for questioning a few of the less important doctrines of some sections of the church. So he left the church, to serve God in other ways.
Read Jeremy’s story at Till He Comes.
Earlier today, in God without religion?, I referenced a book which warns us that religion can lead to us getting “caught up in obeying Old Testament laws instead of experiencing New Testament freedom.”
In a comment, Julie suggested otherwise:
“The biggest problem with religion is that Christians can get caught up in experiencing New Testament freedom and fall into the heresy of antinomianism and ethical permissiveness.”
It’s a valid concern. But is she right?
A friend of mine (G’day T!) sent me this link to a new book called God Without Religion by Andrew Farley (he’s pastor of a church in Lubbock, Buddy Holly’s home town). I think it’s worth a look. Here are some quotes from the article:
Hell is being discussed lately, as a result of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. Some of the questions people are asking are “Should believers fear Hell – and God?” and “Without the threat of hell, would people be good?”
It is good these questions are being asked, but I think they miss the point for two reasons.
Sometimes I think we forget.
We make pronouncements about God. Philosophical ones like whether God lives in time, or whether something is wrong because God says so, or he says so because he knows it is wrong. Theological ones like whether God chooses who will be saved and who will not. Ethical ones like whether God cares about the environment or not, and whether we should eat meat.
If you’ve spent any time on the internet this year, you probably know that Rob Bell is a much-loved and much vilified US pastor whose latest book Love Wins has caused a great deal of comment and even anger. The cause of the anger is many commentators’ fears that Bell has subtly espoused a doctrine they regard as heretical.
Is the fuss warranted?