Showing posts from August, 2020

Overcome Evil With Good- Rom 12

Exodus 3:1-15 Romans 12:9-21 Matthew 16:21-28

Again, we have amazing readings this week. Moses encounters God in the burning bush and commissions Moses to lead the charge as God saves the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. And God shared the Divine name with Moses- “I AM That I AM” (or "I AM who I AM")- he is the self-existent being.

And in our Gospel reading Jesus reveals to his disciples that part of his being the messiah involves him being rejected by the leadership, suffering at their hands, and being killed. Peter pulls Jesus aside and scolds him for his misunderstanding of the role of the messiah. He plays the role of Satan, tempting Jesus away from his path.

Today I want to look at Paul’s letter to the Romans, again. Paul gives guidance for living the Christian life. This section almost sounds like a list of proverbs, and there is a lot of wisdom there for living the Christian life.

This section starts in a way that seems to state the obvious. “Hate what is evil, …

Be a Living Sacrifice- the way of transformation- Rom 12:1-8

Romans 12:1-8
We know what a dead sacrifice is. In the Old Testament an animal is killed and dedicated to God as a part of a religious ritual. There are a number of kinds of sacrifices- sometimes the sacrifice is to deal with sin, or perhaps it is to offer thanks to God. So we understand a dead sacrifice. … Paul uses a fascinating image. He speaks about a living sacrifice. 
It means handing your life over and it is no longer yours. It has been sacrificed. It means handing over all that is yours- all your wealth, all your talent, all your strength, all your time. This is a shocking idea in a world where we often treat Christianity like a hobby- Some people build model boats, other people go to church. Are we willing to be living sacrifices? - every day offering ourselves, our talents, our time, our treasure, and our will to God?

We should remember that a sacrifice isn’t a waste. There is a kind of return. For ancient Israel, sacrifice had to do with their relationship with God. O…

Racism on the lips of Jesus? Matt 15

Genesis 45:1-15 Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32 Matthew 15: 10-28

Once again, we have wonderful readings this morning. It’s hard not to comment on them all. The Genesis reading is a good companion to our discussion about suffering from last week. Joseph looks back on his life and the suffering that he went through, and he saw that God was able to use the awful things that happened to him to save many people. It is a hint of the cross. The suffering of Jesus was used by God to bring salvation to humanity. This story shows us that sometimes there is something going on that we can’t see from our limited perspective. Sometimes as we look back, in this life or the next, we might see how our suffering makes sense.

In our Gospel and Epistle readings we see the ugly head of racism. Racism seems to be a persistent problem throughout human history. It is so persistent across cultures and throughout time that it seems to arise almost naturally in our fallen state. We are profoundly broken people. Our min…

Why do I teach my children martial arts?

I am fairly non-combative person. I don't jump into conflict, and for many years I considered myself to be a pacifist. This is because I take Jesus' words to turn the other cheek and love my enemy quite seriously. At times I have been very convinced that John Howard Yoder's view of violence and war was the last word on the subject, and violence was not something the Christian could enact. While my views on that are no longer so black and white, I still lean that direction quite strongly.If that is the case, then why do I teach my children martial arts. I do this for a few reasons. I grew up doing martial arts and I found that it challenged me in broad ways. It might be trying to kick higher, or punch faster, or break a board, or using breathing exercises, or dealing with your ego when you lose a sparing match. Martial arts challenged me to grow a lot. I spent time as a kid doing a mixed martial art that was called Zen Karate. I'm not completely sure why it was called …

Can Zen co-exist with Christianity?

This is a paper I wrote while I was in university doing my B.A. in about 2005. Generally, I am not in favour of syncretism when it comes to religion. I DO think religions can learn from each other.  but sometimes it can be a way of not diving deeper into your own tradition by getting side tracked with another tradition. It's like being in the desert and you start digging a hole. You can keep digging deeper in that hole and maybe there is water at the bottom if you dig deep enough. However, if you run around all over the desert digging little holes, instead of digging one deep hole, then it is unlikely you will find water. What I'm trying to show in the paper below is that Zen is quite a different creature than what we usually mean by the word "religion", which makes it more possible to approach Zen as a Christian. This is not possible when a Christian approaches Islam for example, or Wicca, for example. There as certain inherent contradictions that require too much o…