Monthly Archives: December 2007

Christmas Eve Thoughts

Jesus probably wasn’t born today. Or tomorrow. Or really anytime in December.

But that doesn’t really matter. We celebrate anyway.

But what do we celebrate? What does the birth of the Messiah mean to us today?

It means God is with the poor and suffering. Jesus wasn’t sent into a family of wealth. He was sent to a poor, young girl and her fiancee.

And he was sent as our Savior. How could someone who was poor and powerless be the savior of the world?

He could be our savior exactly because he was poor and powerless. That was the only way to truly save us.

I guess what I’m getting at here is a time to talk about Substitutionary Atonement and how, when we put so much emphasis on it, we miss HUGE parts of the mission of Christ.

Jesus came as a child. He lived a life, a life probably no one reading this blog can even imagine. It was a life of poverty, of struggle. A life in a society where one’s worth was determined almost entirely by one’s class, which is something that’s better understood by those in India and the Middle East. Not something we really understand in the West.

He lived for 30 years on this earth, after which he began a ministry. This ministry lasted for 3 years. 3 years of him teaching and teaching some of the same things over and over again to his disciples, who at the end, still didn’t get it.

Now let me ask a question. If Jesus’s ultimate mission was to die on the cross, for the purposes of giving us a free ticket out of hell, why in the world would he spend 33 years in poverty when all he needed to do was slip down, get killed, and come back from the dead. Surely it wasn’t just because God needed to take up more pages in the Bible.

My theory is that God’s plan involved more than just Substitutionary Atonement. Much more. And while that was a piece of the puzzle, it wasn’t the big picture. The big picture involves redemption of the whole world, and Jesus’s life came to teach us how that could occur from the bottom up, rather than the top down.

This viewpoint gives Jesus 33 years an actual purpose. He was showing us the way. Not just the way to escape hell, but the way to live life to the full. Through Jesus example, we can see that its not an easy life. The life of a Christian will get you persecuted. But because he died and rose, we have no reason to fear death, for as he rose from the dead, so one day will we. So we are freed to live a radical life such as his, regardless of the consequences. This is the only way that the world can once again be restored to perfection, restored to what God intended it to be all along. Hearts cannot be changed through law. They can only be changed through radical grace and love. And the sooner Christians start to understand that, the sooner things will change.


When Church Makes You Not Believe in God, There is a Problem.

I’ve found myself wanting to drift off in church.

Not for the typical reasons of it being boring or dull. I mean, I still pay attention during worship. I love corporate worship. I don’t know if it was something that God intended for the church to have, but it really does renew my faith.

But, pretty much everything else about church does the exact opposite.

One of my main issues is preachers.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate preachers, or dislike them in any way. From my vantage point, the problem with traditional preaching is that the person doing it, whether very qualified in theological studies or not, often times simplifies things to the point of ridiculousness. They speak in cliche. They say things that nearly everyone in the church has heard a thousand times. And like I said, boredom is not the problem.

The problem is, that simplifying something that is so obviously mysterious and that requires much faith, makes me doubt. When Christian theology is put in such simplistic and absolute terms, I sit in the pew thinking, “I literally can’t believe that I believe this.”

Just the other day, I was reading about the whole Mitt Romney/Mike Huckabee heresy debacle. I dug a little bit to find out more about the Mormon faith. Lots of stuff about planets where people live, Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, aliens, etc. And I laughed. I was making fun of them in my head.

But when my faith is treated in the same simplistic manner, I look at it and think “I believe there’s some unseen being that decided to create this world, then the world went bad, so he sent part of himself, that he calls his Son, to earth to die, so that we can be saved from another unseen place that apparently is much worse than being in poverty in Africa, or in war torn Iraq. And that those people in those countries have got much worse problems than the fact that they live day to day, not knowing if they’ll survive.”

I think, “How is that not more crazy than believing in aliens, or that Jesus and Satan were brothers?”

I guess church doesn’t really resonate with me much anymore. I can honestly say, if it weren’t for relationships I have at Otter Creek, even though I love the corporate worship,  I wouldn’t be there anymore. Its the developing relationships that I have there that keep me planted in my seat when Sermons make me question what I believe, or when someone prays and it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. Its the relationships that often times talk me off the cliff when it comes to faith. Its the relationships and the lives of people that really strengthen my faith.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Ludwig Von Mises

The guy has so many great quotes. This one struck me today.

If one rejects laissez faire on account of mans fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.

How true.

Bush the Liar?

For a while,  even when I stopped supporting this administration, I didn’t want to admit that they straight up lied about intelligence to get us into the war in Iraq. But after seeing that the administration knew that Iran’s nuclear weapons program ceased in 2003, and they continued to push the WW3 (or 4, can’t keep count) rhetoric, it makes me angry. Very angry.

And don’t think that Democrats don’t do the same thing. Anyone remember when Clinton bombed an Asprin factory?

There’s a way to stop this madness. We must get rid of our empire. We must get rid of the welfare/warfare state.

I was gonna post tonight…

but I read this and decided I’ll wait until tomorrow.