Coming off the traditional August writing break, I want to give you a preview of the Fall on Oboedire.
“In-Sight” resumes on September 9th. Each Wednesday I will post something having to do with spiritual formation. I want to recapture this focus for Oboedire, which was why I began it in the first place.
Everything else will be occasional. I will be devoting my writing time to other projects. I will use Oboedire to keep you posted about any new things, and to to provide you with resources to assist your growth in grace.
The Oboedire home page has other icons that provide additional information and resources. Check in there occasionally to see what’s happening.
As I do each year as the Fall begins, I ask you to consider letting others know about Oboedire so that they can join those who receive posts automatically, or simply visit the site from time to time. And as always, I ask for your prayers that Oboedire will be one of the things God uses to enrich your life.
Read: God in the End
I wondered how McLaren would end his book. I cannot imagine a finer way than with the idea of Eternal Creativity.
I found myself caught up in imagining that the same flurry of creativity which was present at the Beginning will be present at the End. The way McLaren describes it makes the whole of time and space pulsate with joy and anticipation.
McLaren’s description of a universe that is winding down (to a Big Freeze or Big Crunch) is matched by science’s recognition that as every galaxy eventually dies, life itself never dies, for new galaxies are being created all the time.
The road we have made by walking with McLaren this past year is one that ends with a message as grand as the cosmos, where death gives way to life, and a promise as specific as Jesus’ words, ” Even though persons die, yet shall they live!”
The Road we are walking is a path of Life that leads to even more Life! That’s the message of McLaren’s book and the Message of our God.
(This concludes the “Journey” series. It will continue to be archived for future use)
Read: Spirit of Hope
I believe in prophecy. I believe the Bible contains passages that point to the final triumph of righteousness, the coming of the Kingdom, and a new heaven and earth.
But I have never been able to buy into the “blueprint for the end times” interpretation so often given to the Book of Revelation. The interpretation that connects the daily news to the last book in the Bible often leaves me wondering how television teachers can be so sure about literature which is apocalyptic–that is, by nature, a mystery.
That does not mean I see no futuristic significance to the Book of Revelation, because I realize all literature conveys truth in ways relevant for the past, present, and future. If that were not so, we would be wasting our time reading anything written in the past.
The question is, what kind of truth is it that the Book of Revelation gives us? And I agree with McLaren that the best single-word answer is that it gives us hope.
Hope that evil does not have the final word, no matter how despots line up and nations conspire. Hope that no matter what befalls us, God is with us. I believe, as McLaren does, that these are the messages the first readers of Revelation saw in its message, and it is what God wants to reveal to us in its pages today. God wants to strengthen us with an all-the-time confidence, not an end-time calendar.
We read the Book of Revelation not to get a schedule, but a spirit–the spirit of hope. When we read Revelation as the first Christians did, we are able to sing with the saints of the ages that “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”
August is one of the months that I cease posting and take a break from writing. “For the Bride” will resume on September 11th.
August is one of the times each year when I cease posting and take a break.. “In-Sight” will return in the Fall as an occasional theme.
Read: Spirit of Life
Someone has said that we are not ready to live until we are prepared to die. McLaren agrees, and he writes a powerful chapter about what happens to life when it is viewed in relation to death–what happens to time when viewed in relation to eternity.
While recognizing that it is possible to be so heavenly-minded that we are no earthly good, McLaren also notes that there is a good way to be heavenly-minded so that we can, indeed, be of earthly good. And one way it happens is as we invite eternity to break into time to give our present lives value, vision, and vitality. Because we are people who will live forever, we should manifest and advance principles that will not pass away.
A godly life shortens the distance between what we traditionally call earth and heaven, so that when our time to die comes, it is a small step (not a huge leap) from one dimension of living to another. And between now and then, it is not wrong to speak about “heaven on earth” as the days of our lives reflect and promote life everlasting.
As we do this, McLaren rightly shows that we can embrace great expectations for what our lives will be like when we go to heaven. When this is so, we can say along with Paul and the saints of the ages, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”
Today, I end my comments on the practice of non-judgment. Like the earlier posts on the principle of love, I am sure there is much more that could be said about this important topic, but I will let what I have written suffice for now.
Douglas Burton-Christie rightly shows how in early Christianity love and non-judgment combined to produce compassion (‘The Word in the Desert, pp. 282-291). This is a good place to conclude our examination.
Much of the Verba Seniorum contains sayings which show directly or indirectly that fulfilling the law of love and practicing non-judgment create a tender heart, marked particularly by compassionate attitudes and actions. For the early Christians, it meant bearing the burdens of others (Galatians 6:2) and being patient with the burdens of the weak (Romans 15:1)–what John Wesley would later call, “Watching over one another in love.”
In our day, Martin Luther King Jr. incarnated the same disposition, making “a tough mind and a tender heart” (‘Strength to Love,’ pp. 1-9) a mainstay in the movement for the equality of all people. This combination characterized the early Christians–something John Wesley would later call the conjoining of knowledge and vital piety.
Douglas Burton-Christie summarizes all this by writing, “The final word in desert spirituality is tenderness.” (p. 287). We can pray for no finer quality of life than this. Compassion is what characterizes the life of a disciple, and it is what the world is longing to experience from Christians, who claim to follow Jesus who, when he saw the crowds, had compassion on them.