Sunday, August 21, 2005

Looking for comments from Wednesday morning?

So, what are the lingering thoughts from our conversation at the Bite this past Wednesday? Post your thoughts in the comments section here.

Thanks also to Andre, Rob, Jerry, and Curt for leading us through the morning. It was much appreciated.

Our first comment came from John Frye:

It was a good conversation. I felt Curt challenged our thinking, our received categories; Rob fleshed out incarnational-missional ministry with his stories and Jerry was interesting to hear and watch. Andre asked the captivating question: Is belonging, behaving, believing a linear proccess or cyclical? There's more to just saying, "Well, it's linear." Why? "Well, it's cyclical." Why?It seems for all our conversation about grace, redemption and acceptance, there's still the shadow of a sin-management gospel in emergent w mi. We're still scared that sin is bigger than forgiveness, that holiness can't go all the way against unholiness and some of us have to play Junior Holy Spirit in others' lives. Am I wrong?

Randy said...
I am going to add three cheers for John Frye's comment.
It seems that we really desire to point out the sins of people. And it ends up being the bigger issue for us than extending grace.
It seems to me that Jesus usually began with the grace piece and then moved to point people in the right direction.
i.e. Healing and then... go and sin no more.
How do we get beyond playing the role, as John put it, of 'junior Holy Spirit"?
12:20 PM

steve said...
I don’t believe you can be a xian and not agree with John Frye’s comments about grace. I think Paul makes this abundantly clear throughout Romans and is a major theme throughout the story of God. My only concern is that we begin to over-emphasize the grace of God at the expense of the fear of the Lord.
We certainly all can agree that it’s not our role to be the fourth person in the trinity, but we do have roles as shepherds of people to guide people toward righteousness. The crescendo of Jesus’ message throughout the Gospels especially, shows Jesus getting increasingly more clear that the people of God (the people of faith, Israel) have exploited the declared standing given to them by God… the son comes, he pronounces judgment on the temple and ushers in the beginning of the end through the cross.
The tragedy is that the people whom God graced to bring about this message failed miserably. Grace propels us to love, to heal, to reach out, to embrace… and also to confront to stand up against evil, to walk along with others in the shadows, to say the tough things, to be prophetic voice to God’s people and to a world that rapes, kills and destroys the weak and vulnerable. There are things that are unacceptable and I think we profane the name of Jesus if we only portray Jesus a loving the little children and fail to catch the fire in his eye.
The goal is redemption, healing. I don’t think I’m ‘scared that sin is bigger than grace.’ I think people fear that grace means we don’t get dirty and fail to get to the deep issues in our relationships. God have mercy on me if I ever use grace as a synonym for being nice. Grace propels us deeper than we can ever imagine…

John Frye said...
I don't think the issue is that grace-oriented people don't ever address sin in the lives of others. I think the issue is the whole "time-table" question. To ask "When are we ever going to address the sin(s) of someone?" presupposes a standard (and let's imagine we all actually agree on the standard of holiness, but I doubt that we do) AND a "grace time zone" and the clock is ticking, ticking, ticking. "All right, Buddy, time's up!" We've got to move you from belonging-believing to BEHAVING. This seems so un-Holy Spirit like; so artificial. After Paul addresses a call to moral purity to the young Thessalonian church (so he does indeed address holiness), he concludes with "Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives us his HOLY Spirit" (1 Thess. 4:8 emphasis added). The standard is moral purity and the time-table is ???. Paul is willing to trust the HOLY Spirit to transform people morally. No quoting the Levitical moral code, no quoting Psalm 119: 9, 11. God gives us his Holy Spirit. So, relax.

John Frye said...
One more note on the 1 Thess. 4:8 text: the verbal form for "gives" in the phrase "...God, who gives us his Holy Spirit" is present, active, indicative. The idea is that when it comes to moral/sexual purity, God keeps on giving his Holy Spirit to be at work in that very vital aspect of our Christian formation. Did Jesus harange the women at the well with Old Testament quotes about marital fidelity after revealing her chain of failure? No, he gave the woman "living water" (the Spirit, see John 4:15; 7:38-39) and she became convincingly faithful to Jesus and an evangelist to boot. So, do we want to leverage people into holiness with our moral code and timetable or believe that the Father "keeps on giving HIS HOLY SPIRIT"?