Category Archives: Christian Thought

Holy Saturday Reflection

In Peter Rollins’ book The Orthodox Heretic, there is a parable called “Being the Resurrection.” The parable describes a group of Jesus’ disciples who left Jerusalem after the crucifixion, before the resurrection, so they never knew of their Messiah’s resurrection and ascension. They travelled a great distance over many months until they found a place suitable to begin a community. A community, “where they vowed to keep the memory of Christ alive and live in simplicity, love, and forgiveness, just as he had taught them.” Over years, decades, and centuries, Rollins tells that, the community spent “their days reflecting on the life of Jesus and attempting to remain faithful to his ways. And all this despite the overwhelming sorrow in their heart, …despite the belief that death had defeated him and would one day defeat [them] also.”

One day, the communities’ isolation was broken when a group of missionaries reached the settlement. Rollins tells, “Without hesitation, the missionaries gathered together all the community members and recounted what had occurred after the imprisonment and bloody crucifixion of their Lord. That evening there was a great festival in the camp as people celebrated the news of the missionaries.”

During the evening’s celebration, a conversation occurred between a respected elder of the community and one of the missionaries. This elder was in sorrow, despite the great news that his Lord’s life had been vindicated through the resurrection and ascension. This elder, explaining his sorrow to the young missionary said, “Each day we have forsaken our very lives for him because we judged him wholly worthy of the sacrifice, wholly worthy of our being. But now, following your news, I am concerned that my children and my children’s children may follow him, not because of his radical life and supreme sacrifice, but selfishly, because his sacrifice will ensure their personal salvation and eternal life.”

This parable raises so many questions for reflection. Rollins says in his commentary on the parable, that in many ways the community, living their lives in a sort of extended Holy Saturday, described in the parable “affirmed the reality of the Resurrection in a more radical way than many of those who confess such a belief.” Too many Christians profess a belief in the resurrection, but their lives show no resemblance to the life of the Christ the resurrection was a vindication and justification of. How does the life you live reflect a belief in the resurrection of Christ? How are you living a life of resurrection? If Jesus’ life, as the Son of Man or the Human One, was lived as an example to show humanity its full potential, how is your life reflecting this potential as an image bearer, as part of the body of Christ, as someone who has been born again through water and spirit?

Use this Holy Saturday to reflect on the life Christ lived, and the sacrifice he made for us all. Finally reflect on how the example of his life and sacrificial death moves you towards a life of sacrifice, of taking up your own cross to follow him. Resurrection does not come to those who do not first die.

WCAGLS: John Dickson – Humilitas

Humilitas, by John DicksonThe presentation by John Dickson at the WCAGLS was one of my favorites of the summit. The presentation was entitled “Humilitas,” and was based on his most recent book, which is titled Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership. Dickson is a writer and speaker, a Senior Research Fellow at Macquarie University, and Co-Director of the Centre for Public Christianity in Sydney, Australia. His presentation at the summit was geared towards leaders, obviously, so the thesis of his talk was, “Humility makes the great greater.” Dickson’s presentation set out to convince the audience of this thesis.

If we’re going to be convinced humility makes the great greater, we should all have a common understanding of exactly what is meant by the word. Humility is not the same thing as humiliation, even though the two words share a similar root (humilitas). The difference between humiliation and humility, which both involve being lowered, has to do with how a person is lowered. Humiliation involves a forcible lowering, as in being defeated in battle. Humility involves a person lowering him or herself. Dickson gave the following definition of the word: Humility is to hold your power in service of others.

So, now that we know what is meant by humility, why should a leader develop it in his or her life? Continue reading

Are People Basically Good?

So a few months ago I was reading Donald Miller’s blog and he had a post entitled “Are People Basically Good?” The post focused on the doctrinal idea of “Total Depravity,” which is used to summarize what the Bible teaches about the fallen nature of man. To help get at where I think Miller was coming from in the blog post, the idea of Total Depravity is associated strongly with Calvinism through the acronym TULIP (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Preservation of the Saints).

Miller questions the idea by saying that he’s “never really trusted people who believed that we were totally depraved.” He later says that a pastor friend of his clarified the idea by saying the term doesn’t mean we “aren’t capable of doing good, but that [we] aren’t capable of redeeming [ourselves],” which I think is true (depending on how you define “doing good”). To end the post Miller asks two questions to his readers: “Ever thought of this? And do you think people can be good?” Continue reading

Notes From LMNC: Bits, Bytes, Blogs, & Bibles

Ed Stetzer was the first speaker at the Bits, Bytes, Blogs, & Bibles Preconference. Below are the notes I took from his talk.

  • Social media is not a replacement for community, it is a supplement to community.
  • One problem with social media is the inability to convey complicated or detailed thoughts. Trying to do this is called simplism, or reducing something to a point beyond its capacity to be understood.

Tim Challies was the second speaker at the Bits/Bytes Preconference. He spoke on the conduct of online communication Below are the notes I took from his talk.

  •  In his introduction Challies quotes Paul, “Speak truth in love.”
  • When communicating online or anywhere else truth needs to be the heart of the message, love should be the means of relaying the message.
  • A great quote that I believe Challies was quoting from someone else: “Truth becomes hard if not softened by love, love becomes soft if not strengthened by truth.” Continue reading

Knowledge and Pride

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) 

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Hosea 4:6 (ESV)

The Bible is replete with verses discussing the follower of God’s need for knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Philippians 2:12 tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Romans 12:2 tells us that we should be “transformed by the renewal of [our] minds.”

For the follower of God, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are essential. The Christian faith is not a faith of ignorance and illogicality. 2 Peter 3:15 says that we should always be prepared to “to make a defense to anyone who asks…for a reason for the hope that is in you.” Psalm 34 says that we should “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Romans 12:2 says that we should test the Word to discern the will of God and to find out what is “good and acceptable and perfect.” Continue reading