CategoryJesus

The King, Sheep, Goats & Salvation.

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One of the most confronting parables Jesus told was his account of the sheep and goats (found in Matthew 25). The end of the age has come and humanity is gathered before Christ for judgement. Humankind is sorted into two groups: sheep, who the king claims fed him when he was hungry, gave him a drink when he was thirsty, provided hospitality when he was a stranger, clothed him when he needed...

The Space Between Hope and Disappointment. Or Why Following Jesus Is Gloriously Frustrating

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The Space Between Hope and Disappointment. Or Why Following Jesus Is Gloriously Frustrating I live in the space between hope and disappointment. I am a hoper. A few weeks back I stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, at the very spot Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream” speech, and it was profoundly moving. It was a place of hope, a shrine to the possibility that...

When God ceased being a perpetrator of violence and became its victim. A Maundy Thursday reflection

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Today is Maundy Thursday, the day on which Christians remember two great symbolic acts of Jesus: the celebration of the Passover and the washing of his disciples feet. Passover festival was a celebration of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, a liberation that was accomplished through the means of violence that I find almost incomprehensible when attributed to God. The text of...

Christmas déjà vu. Has the whole Jesus thing been a failure?

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Reading the Christmas story in Matthew one has a sense of déjà vu. A violent regime that shows no hesitation in slaughtering innocent people for political purposes forces a family to flee for their lives. We could be describing Syria under Assad, but instead we’re describing first century Judea under King Herod. 2000 years have passed since Jesus walked the earth. The Middle East remains mired in...

If God is too pure to behold sin, how is it Jesus seemed so comfortable around sinners?

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On Sunday, 8 July 1741, in Enfield Connecticut, Jonathan Edwards delivered one of the most famous sermons of history. “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God” painted a vivid picture of the unending and unbearable torments of hell. It is said that as Edwards preached the members of the congregation were so terrified that they repeatedly interrupted with cries of “what must I do to...

The kingdom of Christ or the kingdom of Rome?

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Jesus came to Israel proclaiming a kingdom founded on faith, grace and love and was executed by a kingdom founded on idolatry (the Roman emperor was worshipped as a god), violence (Roman armies had conquered the world and rebellion was ruthlessly crushed) and state-interest (Rome stripped conquered countries of their wealth). Roman crucifixions were intentionally public events, a powerful warning...

Jesus Not So Meek and Mild.

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One of the most famous episodes in the life of Jesus was his “cleansing of the temple.” And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He was teaching and saying, “Is it...

The Other Triumphal Entry. Guess Who Rode Into Town at the Same Time as Jesus

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At church we’re preaching a series based on a book by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg that follows the last week of Jesus’s life as told in the Gospel of Mark. I’m finding it exhilarating. Crossan and Borg are helping me see things in Mark’s story that I never realised before. I thought I’d share a few of them in a series of posts. Jesus’s last week...

Prophecies were made to be broken. Why restoration might be the last word.

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The most horrific of all Christian doctrines is the doctrine of the eternal judgement, the declaration that vast numbers of humankind will experience eternal punishment at the hands of their Creator. In its most extreme form it imagines a house of horrors in which people experience excruciating torments that never end and for which there is no hope of an end. In its milder forms it imagines those...

Is Marcus Borg a Christian?

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One of the most helpful books I’ve read in recent years is a short popular work by the Jesus scholar Marcus Borg. Titled Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Borg describes his shift away from the conservative faith of his childhood to a fresh engagement with Jesus. I found myself excited by the Jesus he described: a spirit person with profound knowledge of the spiritual realm who calls...

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