Archive for October 26th, 2009

I’m pressing my luck using this series, but I want you to understand that even though at this point much of Claiborne’s argument is lost on me, I am trying hard to understand his point of view. I think he has many, many important things to say and that we should listen when we can and even when we cannot.  So if I am arguing with you loudly during these posts it’s not because I necessarily disagree with you it is because I’m am speaking out loud my objections to what I read in order that others among us can help clarify what I may have missed.

So I press on in the hope that I might have a deeper understanding of the faith that I profess and cling to. Since the Lord has seen fit to silence my voice for now and prohibit me from entering the pulpit for a season, I think it best to learn to listen to those around me. This means reading books by authors I might not otherwise read (like Claiborne, or Lamott, or MLK). It’s all a part of the reshaping of my faith all over again for the first time ever. It happens about every ten years or so for me. So here’s today’s ‘whaddya think?’

Hell is not just something that comes after death but is something many are living in this very moment: 1.2 billion people groan for a drop of water each day; more than thirty thousand kids starve to death each day; and thirty-eight million folks are dying of AIDS. It seems ludicrous to think of preaching to them about hell when we would do better sitting at the well and asking them for a little water. We see Jesus spending far more energy loving people out of hell, and lifting people out of the hells in which they are trapped, than trying to scare them into heaven. And one of the most beautiful things we get to see in community here in Kensington is people who have been loved out of the hells they find themselves in–domestic violence, addiction, sex trafficking, loneliness.

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…Jesus reassured Peter that the ‘gates of hell will not prevail against you.’ As adolescents, we understood that to mean that the demons and fiery darts of the Devil will not hit us. But lately we’ve done a little more thinking and praying, and we have a bit more insight on gates. Gates are not offensive weapons. Gates are defensive–walls and fences we built to keep people out. God is not saying the gates of hell will not prevail as they come at us. God is saying that we are in the business of storming the gates of hell, and the gates will not prevail as we crash through them with grace.

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People sometimes ask if we are scare of the inner city. We say that we are more scared of the suburbs…As Shane’s mother says, “Perhaps there is no more dangerous place for a Christian to be than in safety and comfort, detached from the suffering of others.” We’re scared of apathy and complacency, of detaching ourselves from the suffering.  (Jesus For President, 291, 292)

Whaddya think? There is much in these statements that I agree with entirely. But I want to know what you think. Later, if I argue with you, don’t get angry. Let’s learn together.

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And the amazing thing is that when we have nothing else to say, He is still willing to listen. Happy Monday.

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