Good night it was. Book club, night two. Tom Giblin's Irish Pub. I had meself two black-and-tans. And I saw that I could have ordered a Shandy! Wow... I would have Sivin, but alas, my Irish within groaned for a Guiness.
This chapter seemed lighter than the last. A few interesting concepts, but just that... concepts. Ideas of grace, truth, and spirituality in a new light.
Grace always being relational provides for a communal shalom. Truth embodied and incarnated instead of disembidied (like how I was taught to see it in Bible college)... truth never existing beyong a faithfulness to God... truth not as disconnected facts that are absolutebut rather the true-ness of God which is inexplicable. And a earthly spirituality... not the Greek dualism that is so pervasive now (which I might add was a heresy several years back wrapped up in gnosticism).
Conversations like these (ones about what these sacred texts really meant) always make me wonder how we've gotten so far off these last 2000 years. How those who claim to be Christian have often (not always) seemed to have been on the wrong side of battles, you know?
Grace, for example, has become a sort of trump card for not doing good works. Who cares how they live... it's all about what key facts they memorize (believe). Sure, I believe that God redeems/heals us through this grace (both directly and through others), but it is then to be dispensed into the world in action... not hoarded for ourselves.
Truth, which has the Jewish notions of God's faithfulness (and our faithfulness in return), has been completely changed into 'facts'. The 'truth' that Jesus or Paul would have been speaking of was this Jewish understanding. Which means that turning Truth into the 'absolute facts' is not what truth is about at all... or if it is, it is but a small part of it.
Truth has proven to be a violent word in our lifetime and in the centuries before. Take Manifest Destiny, the truth that God wanted the Europeans to take the Cross and the Crown and make disciples (colonize people) all across the Americas. Or the truth of honoring Allah by crashing airplanes into buildings. Or the truth about democracy being the highest form of government and that all the world should have it, even if it is difficult to 'prop up' as VP Cheney said.
And spirituality... we have reconstructed it to be something between just me and Jesus instead of being something that holds redemption for our world in the here and now. As Jesus said, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven," not "God, wipe out this place so we can go to heaven." It's about bringing heaven to earth, so to speak, as my friend Mike would say.
Well, these are just my thoughts. Perhaps some others will bring in some stuff as well. Next chapter gets into some of the Roman world contextualization... sweet.