Friday, January 30, 2009


1. The emerging view sees Jesus as a medicinal cure to a lethal infection that plagues humanity (it’s probably better considered an organic/herbal medicine; the sickness is sin), while the conventional view sees Jesus as a legal solution to human infraction against God. The problem is that it relegates Jesus to practical insignificance in relation to human problems in society since the message is about the afterlife and guilt.
2. The emerging view sees God’s primary focus as the transformation and salvation of humanity within (keyword) history while the conventional view offers little hope for history and anticipates complete destruction and replacement. The problem is that people latch on to hopelessness of this world through dreams of the afterlife instead of being motivated and mobilized into action to transform the world here and now.
3. In the emerging view, God’s concern is holistic, integral, seeing individual and society, soul and body, life and afterlife, humanity and creation being inextricably connected. [a great example of this attacked is Rob Bell’s speaking tour and DVD “Everything Is Spiritual”]. The conventional view sees life as more dualistic where things are categorized into spiritual and secular. The problem is that the dualism can tend to keep faith a private and personally spiritual matter so people view themselves as only passing through and remained disengaged beyond church life and family.
4. In the emerging view, God cares about all people and special blessings come to one person or group are to be shared for the common good. They are blessed to be a blessing to everyone (everyone; Abrahamic covenant). In the traditional view, God blesses a select group or person with little or nothing for everyone else (except condemnation). The problem is that it tends to create an us-versus-them mentality or an elitism that can cut Christians off from others.
5. The emerging view sees God seeking to save the world from the suicidal machinery of a society driven by a false framing story (way we view the world). In the normal view, God must destroy the world and all it contains because of sin. Since the destruction is from God (specifically God’s wrath and damnation) it is from God that we must be saved. The problem is that since God’s essential attitude is seen as one of wrath, it’s had to see God as an ally in our world’s transformation. [ a GREAT example of an often criticized example of the emerging view is Rob Bell’s speaking tour and DVD “The God’s Aren’t Angry At Us”; I have no problem reconciling the emerging view with Biblical use of the word “wrath” because I see the terms “wrath” that Paul writes as consequential/resultant or metaphorical not as emotional; you won’t find an example of actual anger in Jesus’ life with the sinners and common folk, only with the establishment and hypocrites; there are actual examples of emotional anger in the old testament between God and the Israelites like in Numbers 11]
6. By postponing the essence of salvation to the afterlife, and assuming God’s plan is to destroy the earth, the conventional view tends to lead us to believe things will get worse and worse and that this deterioration is God’s will and his plan. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy (if you understand the term). The worse it gets, the better some Christians feel because the post-mortem salvation after the world is destroyed is eminent. The problem is that it can lead to a religious death-wish, a celebration in our “progress” towards destruction.

So though there is value in the traditional view, there are negative consequences like the question my friend asked about what to do about Israel and Palestine (and the entire Arab world). Or my friend saw God blessing her and you wonder if somehow there was a way to pass that on. I was proud of the friend (she is slowly growing) instead of keeping the money from that meal (I paid) she actually paid for two lunches of others that week. This is highly unusual as she looks for people to pay for her. I think she exaggerates her poverty because I know having a job at church (though not as great as the church pastors or industry people) gives you enough money to comfortably live.

So I sit and try to work through a lot of what is going on at church, with readings, actions, the world, these views, disunity, and confusion. And hopefully I can be part of the group of Jesus followers that affects the world positively in public way.

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