- I pray that class has been worthwhile for those attending. Yes we’re going slowly, and yes we’re rehashing some things, but I pray that the discussion the last two weeks, as well as the coming two weeks, will help us use the stuff we’ve been learning.
- Yesterday I put up a graphic of a picture of how the Old Testament describes the world. I’ve gotten some feedback that there’s some curiosity about that. First, I meant to talk about it a little more, but in the moment chose to move on. Secondly, I put it up to try to challenge another perception of what we bring to the text, i.e., we carry the image of the world as a planet to Genesis 1, it wasn’t written with that picture in mind, at least from the readers’ perspective. More on this later.
- I’d like to reiterate something I said near the end of my admittedly rushed ending (11:59 on Potluck Sunday is a horrible time to be still preaching 😉 ). The point of my sermon was to talk about a concept which applies and affects us now, that living out being a hotspot, a thin place of heaven, living out the qualities of God in Heaven and not just living for one day far away is our current mission. If there are questions that arise from anything else I said, feel free to ask me.
There’s not too much, at least in my mind, to recap. We started talking about some questions to prep for some more ethical scenarios coming up. One thing I’d like to bring up again is the concept of sanctification and being spiritual as a habit. James brought up that practicing vices or virtues is much like practicing habits, that you have to develop and sometimes rewire your mental pathways to do or not do certain things. This emphasizes both disciplines, realizing and intentionally practicing certain things, we well as repetition, which then implies opportunities to deliberately do the things we’re trying to make a habit. For example, if you need to practice your love, who are you intentionally trying to love that’s hard? If your mercy needs to be increased, in what ways are you trying to be merciful? If you want to give more, what ways are you looking to give?
Also, it was brought up (I’m sorry, I can’t remember from whom) that your thoughts influence behavior, i.e., what you think on becomes what you do. This isn’t just a good thought; it’s a psychological fact. This is why just not doing vices doesn’t work – if you still are dwelling on them, you’re not moving towards God. Therefore, what you DO dwell on eventually becomes your action, which can be powerful. Even if it takes 99 times of doing the wrong thing while striving towards the Godly thing if, after the 100th time that’s now your habit, that’s worth it.
I began with talking of how we shouldn’t mistake real metaphors for the real things behind the metaphor, that we shouldn’t mistake the scales of justice, while they’re indeed real, for what true justice is and how it can manifest in the world. Meaning, we shouldn’t get too concerned with what the scales look like, how tall they are, how much can be put on them, etc. for what the scales represent. I was not saying heaven is a metaphor. God’s space, heaven, is a real place. But how heaven is used in the Old Testament is mainly to connect the transcendence of God with who God is or something He does. In other words, when heaven is referenced it’s used to describe something about God, not where God is. Because, as Genesis 1 tells us, where is God? He’s here. He’s never left Earth, but the barriers between God’s space & human space, and specifically how to enter that space, have been more defined due to sin. Hence which brings us to the ‘hotspots’ of access to God’s presence – the tabernacle, the temple, Jesus.
Grace to you.