June 15, 2007

Mark 13.9-13

"But take heed to yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them.

"And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.

"And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

"And brother will deliver up brother to death; and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved."


At 6:18 a.m., Blogger david said...

This is a call to perseverance in the face of oppression/persecution. Its a promise of reward to those who carry forward the work to the end.

Evangelization in this age has become marketing. Packaging church for unchurched as a consumer good -- your life will be peachy. Your life can be meaning. If you have it all -- but are still missing something -- WE CAN FILL THAT EMPTY SPACE.

This approach the emerging/converging church/meeting movements are taking may be absolutely essential in our era. North America has become that kinda world -- overfilled with stuff -- and that's how we need to market faith and spirituality. But if feels a little like selling out to the spirit of world empire -- and we know how that worked in 313 CE chalking pax signs on shields as we marched into battle for world dominion.

Yet this passage puts all this to a lie. This project, whatever it may be about, is not about "meaning of life" stuff -- its about carrying on the work of proclaiming the reign of God not the reign of Caesar (or Walmart or Exxon or GWB or Stephen Harper). When/if "meaning of life" and filling that empty space inside comes into play it comes not as consumer product but as by-product of doing good and doing well in the work.

At 7:10 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

Hmmm. It sounds like you'd rather have churches telling people: "You were born into this story (although you may not know it yet!) and certain things, as a result, will be required of you!"

But that is what many of our society's false gods tell people: our family, our country, the collective demand of all those bosses for our forced labor...

That is, they behave as in the Bob Dylan song, trying to make us forget "that it is not he or she or them or it that you belong to!"

Before people can freely choose to serve the Kingdom, don't they need to understand that this is to their benefit?--to everyone's benefit?

The culture of enticement has no doubt limited the range of goods most people can readily see value in; hence it makes sense to approach them in that familar, annoying "We can enhance your 'ego-self'!" tone.

But is this any worse than the traditional gospel package: Create an imaginary threat, instill the utmost personal fear of it, then sell them the 'cure'?

At 8:20 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

"False fears?"

Your mother wasn't lying if she told you, "Stop it or your face will get stuck like that!" But of course you do eventually stop whatever made her say that; even if your face did get stuck something would always around to unstick it!

I can't give anybody mystical experiences. God's way of doing it is called "life," and I've always found that a good thing (with and without the unpleasant bits.) I know, "It takes a strong stomach to eat the world," stronger than mine maybe. From this perspective, there's more cluelessness and suffering than I'd think necessary, but that is a limited perspective, after all.


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