Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ugly girl thought beautiful, asked to Prom

What it must have felt like to be a "sinner" in Jesus' time. I wonder if it was like other outcast groups today - they mock the "in" people, further the gap between themselves and the majority (including the "in" but not only them). But would really like to be accepted unconditionally. Would really like to stop working so hard to find an identity, especially one that is a contrast and not self-contained (not a tick but a real dog).

So when Jesus shows up and actually CALLS one of the "sinners," perhaps it is no surprise that the rest of them show up. And to actually EAT with Jesus - not just be acknowledged or "reached out" to. They are asked to enter Jesus' domain (albeit in Matt's home - but it's Middle Eastern intimacy to eat).

I read this passage and thought of all the cheesy, musical-like movies where the top-kids mock the bottom-kids but then there is that cross-over moment. And then the top-kids freak!

So do I see myself as a top-kid, bottom-kid, crowd? Do I let Jesus love all "sides?" I was just enjoying the story . . .

My Proof that God Forgives

I was wondering if there was a way to know that God will forgive no matter what someone has done. The following came together in my mind.

What would define "the most difficult to forgive"? For me, it would be the most personal offense. Something in regards to my family, perhaps? But I can imagine myself not forgiving my family (I've done this once or twice, although God has adjusted me) which kind of nullifies that offense as being "the worst."

For me, it would have to be something offensive as it pertains to my ideals, values, etc. - things in my brain. [While I am going to see God through this lens of myself, I am not claiming this is God's only perspective. I am elaborating on this aspect of God only] The following scenario came to mind.

When Jesus is towards the end of 3+ years of Gospel-recorded activities, He has been emphasizing the servant role for Himself and His disciples. In this context, James and John and their Mommy come to Jesus and ask to be First.

If I were Jesus, I would kick them out of my discipleship group (sic). How could they ask, nay, manipulate unto the goal of me-first, anti-servant?!?! Hadn't this been the POINT of all human-to-human interactions? And to have 2 of the 3 closest disciples pull this stunt! If I were Jesus I would have toasted them right there. Or I would have deliberately and recordably gone back in time, with Mark or Q or someone, and changed my calling of the Boys Of Dumber.

Yet when it's all over, one is His best friend and one is the pillar of the Church.

For me, that would have been an unforgivable offense - in my very face, ASK for me to go 100% contrary to that which is most important to me, for the sake of destroying one of the top 3 purposes for my existence. And they SO should have known this!

From a mental/rational point-of-view, I cannot see God as being unable to forgive.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Active vs. Passive - When God talks first

I have a lot of ponderings lately about God's sovereignty and/or "listening" to God and/or "Jesus as Head of His church." This has bubbled up.

The primary passage quoted on Spiritual Warfare states, "stand firm." Not really what I was taught to do by every action movie I've ever seen. It's even contrary to a lot of the John Eldridge stuff I like.

Why such a passive posture?

I would think that it has to do with that whole "faith" thing that Jesus talks about over and over and over (seriously, read the Gospels quickly and see if "faith" isn't perhaps the most dominant thread). I have to "leave it in God's hands" kind of thing.

So here's what struck me as I was passively (sic) listening to a sermon-thing this last Sunday at our local church.

I would rather have a Christianity that causes activity not unlike the offense in a football game. But God, I'm thinking, is asking me to play defense; I am supposed to react to what God is wanting, doing, etc. I am even supposed to react (stand firm) to what Satan et al. are doing.

I don't get to cause the play but I do get to pick, sometimes in advance, how I'm going to respond. Not just preparation, but actively picking my defensive posture (e.g. blitz, stunt, prevent, etc.).

I don't like this. It means I'm not in control. More on that . . .