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Showing posts from November, 2015

The Sin System... Processing the Human Trafficking Conference

Today I attended a Human Trafficking Conference put on by Running for Justice in Elk River, MN.  As I listened to the trafficking investigator and the sociologist and the stories of the victims, I could not help beginning to think about this Biblically and Theologically and about the narrative of the Sin System.  I had a massive surge of emotions ranging from anger to compassion to grief as I listened.  Stirring was the reality of evil and the need we really do have for redemption and deliverance from the clutches of sin.

We often image sin as the violation of a command or as some sort of personal deed.  And while sin certainly involves deeds and commands.  And sin is most definitely a personal action, I think it is so much more.  There is an insidious sin system that captures and rules in our minds and robs us of our true humanity as people.

Our first speaker, the investigator of sex trafficking told story after story of how victims were emotionally exploited and manipulated into …

The Touch of Jesus--The Way of Jesus

One of the books I have been reading is Unclean, by Richard Beck within which Beck examines how human beings "otherize" people.  These "otherized" are considered in some sense unclean--not like us--contaminating.

Consider the Leper in the Bible.  Lepers had a skin disease that rendered them unclean.  According to the Law, they had to keep away from people and call out "unclean" as others neared them.  They lived outside the city and outside the community.  We usually stop at the Leper's healing in this story focusing on the power of Jesus to heal the sick.  But digging a little deeper, we also see the heartbreaking isolation of the Leper.  He might find a bit of community among other Lepers but the Leper is alone... away from family, friends and community.  Jesus not only heals the Leper but restores the Leper to community.  Jesus asked the newly healed man to see the priest, offer the proper sacrifices so he could be declared clean.  Jesus healed h…

The Song of Heaven and Dissonance

In the last post I wrote about dissonance as a clashing symbol or something that disrupts our peace or security in knowing.  I wrote about how believers as those who live by the way of Jesus are a source of dissonance within the worlds they dwell.  As the people of God, we are invited to live according to the music and song of heaven instead of the tune playing in our culture.  For us too, the new song can be a source of dissonance as we come into the new community of God's people.  In the last post, I asked a few questions about which tune we hear and how much of that tune is informed by the world that seems normal to us and how much of that tune is sung by heaven

I think that one of the greatest obstacles to hearing the song of heaven is what we know and what we learn.  Often in my neck of the woods, I hear the idea that those who are educated have somehow been corrupted by the song of the world and those without education or those who have a Holy Spirit education are somehow m…

Crashing Cymbals and Dissonance, More Thoughts on 1Peter

A well timed cymbal crash can create drama in a piece of music or ill-timed, it can create dissonance.  That is what it feels like when one is learning a new concept or a new paradigm or a new narrative.

What is a narrative?  A narrative is a story that informs our way of thinking, seeing and living.  Narratives are often informed by our culture and within the community of which we are a part.  Each family has a narrative--even towns and regions have narratives.  These are stories that inform what we believe and what seems right to us.  Some narratives are shared by a whole nation, others are common to our localized community.  But narratives play a powerful role in what we believe and even more, how we structure our lives together in community.

That is where dissonance comes in.  When God and God's narrative breaks in, our way of seeing and hearing and being in the world is suddenly transformed.  Scripture has a great picture of this in the story of Saul who became Paul on the r…

The Beat of a Different Drum Series in 1Peter - week one

When we answer the call to follow Jesus, we in a sense begin a journey keeping in step with the beat of a different drum. We hear another rhythm, another song, we are invited to another dance.  But that invitation creates a dissonance between the new rhythm to which we walk and the the old tune that carries a different way.

The Apostle Peter says we are like strangers and aliens journeying in a foreign land.  We live by a different ethic, we live within the embassy of God's kingdom, or within a different Household that is nothing like the households of this world.

What is it like to be a stranger and an alien--homeless?

That is what the hearers of Peter's first letter are feeling... as if they are strangers and aliens--homeless.  They may have been literal strangers or figurative strangers, nevertheless, they were feeling the dissonance between the music of their world and the heartbeat of God.  Many believers in 1Peter we in challenging situations.  Some were suspected of …