Anonymous

Kingdom of God

I composed this song as I was challenged by the life of Daniel who we know of in part, his life marked by several extraordinary events, but what do we know of Daniel in those silent years—from the period when he interpreted the dreams of the king to the writing on the wall to the moment his devotion to Yahweh sentenced him to the snares of a lion’s den. Approximately fifty years had passed between those illustrious days. Fifty years of anonymous living, his past glory lost in a past kingdom. Fifty years unrecorded; unnewsworthy. All we know of those subdued years is recorded in Daniel 6:10 “He went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

ANONYMOUS

Verse 1:

Fifty years have gone, from the time the scrolls recorded I interpreted the dreams of a king/Displaced in a land alone, but in the season of the common I persisted to pray everyday/ Blameless in the eyes of God, yet imprisoned in the den of the lions my faith carries on.

Chorus:

How will I live between the verses;

when the days are so ordinary still?

How will I live between the verses.

Has my heart become indifferent to Your Will?

How will I live between the verses;

I won’t surrender my Passion just to live for the thrill

Bridge:

Just to honor you, to give you the glory is never redundant.

Just to honor you, mired in mediocrity you are extraordinary still

Verse 2:

I’ve been ignored so long, searching for praises and flattery for my labor…I’m done/ But the Spirit whispers please hold on, despite the sheer obscurity and the fear of inattention, press on/ Six feet underground, my life left anonymous but I hear the lord say, ‘well done.’

Pentecostal Politics

Church, Kingdom of God, Politics

Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology and Ph.D. Director at Regent University School of Divinity, just wrote a book on political theology titled: In the Days of Caesar: Pentecostalism and Political Theology.  Haven’t read it yet, but based on his other works it should be a interesting read!

Citizenship

Church, Kingdom of God, Love, New Creation, Politics

WE NEED NEW LANGUAGE:

The apostle James writes that the way we speak controls our lives.  In the same way that you are what you eat, it’s true that you are what you say.  Our language changes the way we view the world…The kingdom of God implies a new citizenship, giving Jesus’ followers a new identity.  If our citizenship is in heaven, this truth should change the way we talk.  The word we, if a person is truly born again, will refer to the new people into whom a Christian has been born: the church.  Christians can no longer refer to “our troops” or “our history” because of their new identity.  Fabricated boundaries and walls are removed for the Christian.  One’s neighbor is not only from Chicago but also from Baghdad.  One’s brother or sister in the church could be from Iran or California – no difference!  Our family is transnational and borderless; we are in Iraq, and we are in Palestine.  And if we are indeed to become born again, we will have to begin talking like it, changing the meaning of we, us, and our.  We see the question of whether we should intervene in a case like Hitler in a whole new light when we change our allegiance and language: the resounding answer is yes: we, the church, should certainly help and intervene – but as Christians.

Shane Claiborne & Chris Haw (Jesus for President, 314)

How to be Faithful in the Next Two Days and Beyond

Jesus, Kingdom of God, Law, Love, Politics

In an article posted today on Christianity Today entitled “We Must Not Despair”, Chuck Colson (one-time Special Counsel to President Nixon and now founder of Prison Fellowship, a Christian prison outreach and criminal justice reform organization [1]) with Catherine Larson, addressed what he views as a Christian withdrawal from politics.  He asks the question “is ‘faithful presence’ enough for Christians even as the forces of secularization grow stronger and more militant”  and assumes that “faithful presence” is the same as disengagement from politics.  While Colson does not define “faithful presence” it is likely that he is referring to another article, “Faithful Presence”, in which Christopher Benson reviews the book “To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World” and interviews the author James Davison Hunter. Hunter asserted that Christian faithful witness or “faithful presence” occurs in the public sphere in a compassionate act rather than in a political sphere that demands a coercive act.

Colson fails to differentiate between Hunter’s understanding of the the public and political spheres, and seems to ignore the questions of power and coercion that go along with political (read state/federal government) involvement.  He suggests that it is imperative that Christians be engaged in all realms of public life, including the coercive political realm, and that there is nothing un-Christian about being intimately involved with the application of socially-sanctioned coercion and violence.  In fact, it seems that in his opinion to disengage from this mechanism would constitute unfaithfulness to the witness of the Kingdom of God.

Hunter’s distinction between the public and political arenas give us hope for an engagement with our culture that is more like Christ in his humble entering into the world.  If you find yourself lacking in love as you engage in the political process, perhaps you need to rethink the way that you are a witness to the love of Jesus.  Instead of electing those who will legislate your beliefs you should put your beliefs into public action. For example if you are really against abortion, find a way that you and your family or church can support young pregnant women who aren’t sure if they can get through a pregnancy and are considering an abortion.

Political action requires no real immediate sacrifice: you can vote and put the matter out of your mind (and blame the people you voted for for “giving in” to the other side).  However, you run the risk of looking unlike Jesus in his humility and like the coercive forces that put him to death.

Public action, when motivated by the love of God for the world, is the extension of the offer of a better way, the free gift of grace that is not forced upon us.  This kind of action requires much more sacrifice, and looks a lot more like Jesus and those distant brothers and sisters in the faith who were once called Christians because that acted like Jesus.

How could we not?

Church, God, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Love

Earlier this morning, the entire campus of my university was shown the following video during one of our chapel services. As I sat there listening to the words of a famous comic and magician, I was convicted. And it was bad. Take a look…

His analogy got me. Completely got me.

As disciples of Jesus we clearly understand the IDEA of following the Great Commission, but it’s hard to remember to put that into action. Personally, I know how easy it is to get caught up in the day to day of life. It’s easy to sneer at the person that cuts you off in line. It’s easy to be angry towards a stranger. It’s easy to speak scarring words. It’s just too easy. And we blame it on life.

Now sure, there’s the whole “easy” way of evangelizing where we stand on street corners and pass out tracts like advertisements. But frankly, I’ve become embarrassed to be called a part of the “Christian” body when people are yelling and saying these things. Demanding change without interest in who the people are could never ignite a full change. When did we decide this was the appropriate way to bring in the lost?

Instead, we are called to love our neighbor, and we should be using every opportunity we have to show that love. Every action, every word, every deed. Eternity is too important for us not share the hope that we have been given.

Investing in lives is the key. It’s growing a foundation of communication, a foundation of compassion. It’s letting the lost see past the “hypocritical Christian” and allowing love to take center stage.

Sharing the truth and grace has a tendency to become uncomfortable, but why should we be afraid of such a thing? The love we have been given is undeserved, so a little discomfort is nothing compared to Christ’s sacrifice.

So truthfully, how could we not give it back?