Saturday, November 15, 2008

Responses to the blogging community

Another full post is in the works, but here's a little bit of material in the meantime: I appreciated my brother Matt Richey's post on a fuller pro-life position. It's so good to always seek out the areas where our thinking systems are inconsistent. War creates opportunities for human wickedness and cruelty to express itself, and is certainly not desirable. I see again and again just how quick our video-saturated culture is to laugh at violence, or to be intrigued with that which ought to be appalling, and not to feel any remorse because it's "only" a video or movie.

Venti Americano raises a good question about the term religion. Somehow we have to distinguish genuine practice of a relationship with God through faith from the many things that bring shame and scandal to the term "religion." I'm not convinced that we can honestly reject the term, because evangelicalism fits one definition of religion. But we must make a distinction when we explain our faith between true religion, which includes relationship with God and transformed living, and that which is hypocritical and uses the labels and structures of religion for harmful ends.

If you are one of the weirdos like me who has one foot in the Baptist church and one in the world that adores hip-hop, you'll get a good laugh out of the video my good friend Brad posted. Maybe we should get this choir to perform for NBS chapel.

In line with my earlier posts about the purpose of Christians engaging in seeking to help the poor and better the world, I want to share a poem I ran across last week that has encouraged and inspired me. (Please forgive the hints of sacramentalism - there is still much to be learned from it).

A Future Not Our Own

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
It is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny
fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No programme accomplishes the
church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives
includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that will one day grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing
that they hold future promise
We lay foundations that will need
further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond
our capabilities.

We cannot do everything
And there is a sense of liberation in
realizing that
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a
step along the way
an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and
do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
But that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw
(often attributed to the late Archbishop Oscar Romero)

1 comment:

faithbornfromdoubt said...

I really liked that poem Nate!!