Tag Archives: Belonging to community

To find ways of Godly understanding

Chad Graham of Onetheology.com is not affiliated with any religious organization, denomination, or church. He thinks

pastors have a responsibility, just as doctors and mechanics do, to become experts in their field for the benefit of society and the expansion of the kingdom of God. {Pulpit Authority}

In his article Pulpit Authority he looks at our world where people try to find specialists in different fields. For him it seems theology, doctrine, or philosophy are essential parts of a church community. It looks like a church cannot exist for him without such leaders who have gone to colleges where they were trained to become specialists in theology, doctrine, and/or philosophy.

He also gives the impression that people are not able to get authority without such an education. Though he forgets for the Word of God, they should not so much receive their education from man but more from God Himself. It seems that a lot of religious leaders, pastors and priests exclude God Himself from the educational field. Too many forget that it is the Word of God as given to mankind in the Holy Scriptures which can educate and edify man. Real knowledge about the True God can come straight ahead from the Bible itself. We do not need lots of theological works to give us an idea about Whom God is and what He has done. All is written down in the Bible. That Book of books is sufficient enough. though we do agree other books may help further to give more insight or to make the way of understanding shorter.

Also when we have several believers it is best that they do come together at regular times. We may not forget one of the tasks Jesus had given his followers was to come together, to  assemble or to gather with like minded, at regular intervals. The followers of Christ had to become part of the Body of Christ and should find unity in that body (the Church). Organising such a system or community demands work and organisation itself. Wherefore certain people can take charge to organise those meetings and to make the arrangements to keep that community of believers alive. Pastors or elders may well be the persons to do such a thing.

Pastors

Pastors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Church needs pastors and leaders who wield their pulpit with authority. {Pulpit Authority}

writes Chad Graham, who also finds that

We need pastors who see their lack of knowledge and work hard to remedy it. {Pulpit Authority}

For him it looks like everything in the church-community turns around a or the Sunday service.

Next Sunday is right around the corner and congregations will show up to hear their beloved pastor deliver his sermon—with authority. {Pulpit Authority}

He does know that reason is not necessary for, or is even opposed to, faith.

However, this position will be showed to be false and the enterprise of apologetics shown to be biblical and worthwhile through the survey of the theological justification for it. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

It is not because the Elohim frequently throughout the Old Testament got His prophets use rational arguments and verifiable evidence to justify their beliefs in God, that today we do need people to show up arguments ,by having full proof of they being educated by a college enabling them to reason about those matters.  Those prophets in the past, not all, went to a high school (universities did not exist yet). God also used non-educated people to go out and to throw out the fishnet for man. Jesus his disciples were not all doctors in medicine like Luke, or doctors in philosophy, nor where the apostles or preachers learned scholars like Paul, but were also ordinary labourers, men and women who used their hands to earn their living.

The writer seems to overlook what he himself quotes:

God, speaking through His prophet Isaiah, said,

“’Come now, and let us reason together’” (Isaiah 1:18). {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

Clearly it was the Most High who invited man to reason with Him. Together they had to plan things. Today it is not different. We too, ourselves have to reason with God. We ourselves have to go into conversation with God. We do not need priests any more, other than the high priest Jeshua (Jesus Christ).

The Supreme Being was,

and is, not opposed to reason when it comes to God, the truth, and the Bible. It is even possible that the account in Genesis 1 of creation was written as an apologetic against the mythical creation stories of other cultures in the Near East. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

As written already in earlier writings, each individual is created in the image of God and has some inner feeling to look for his own being and for that Divine Creator Who made it possible to be, without Him “The I am Who Is the Being” there is no life possible. Chad Graham knows what we all should come to know, that

The stars, oceans, mountains, and planets were not gods nor were they controlled by gods. Rather, the one true God, Yahweh, brought those things, and everything, into existence and continues to sustain them in their existence. This latter element is a testament to the fact that God exists and has a plan and purpose for creation. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

“The Old Testament does not often dwell on why we need to do apologetics, but rather it simply sets out its apologias for those with eyes to see. {Philip Johnson, Apologetics, Mission, and New Religious Movements: A Holistic Approach. electronic edition (Salt Lake City, UT: Sacred Tribes Academic Press, 2010), 125-26.}

It is handy and best to have some one to encourage people in the community of faith to engage in spiritual warfare and intellectually struggle for religious truth. But it surely do not all have to be people who had a university degree in theology. It is not to have much knowledge about the different gods and about different human theories about those gods and forms of worshipping. We do need people leading a congregation who have sufficient knowledge and belief in and about the Only One True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. Other gods are not really of any importance. Scriptural knowledge must lead in the forefront and not a knowledge about all sorts of human fantasies and human writings around godheads.

From the evidence in the Old and New Testaments, the examples of Jesus and His apostles, and God’s character in wanting Himself to be made known, there is much theological justification for Christian apologetics. Thus, fideism and any other argument against apologetics fall flat. Rather, it is shown to be a duty of the Christian to “contend for the faith” and “give a defense.” And it is also shown to be useful in evangelism since many biblical accounts record people being saved after hearing a reasoned account of the gospel. {Is Apologetics Biblical?}

That reasonable account of the gospel is best given by some one who truly believes and lives according to that faith in the gospel, being the Word of God. We can find many priests and pastors who earn their living by ‘holding church’, but do not really belief in God and some even not in Jesus (the son of God). Also we may find lots of priests and pastors who are as weak as any other man, also elders, who are not able to live up to the faith, Christ and God requires from godly man. The last few years lots of scandals came in the news and many priests, pastors and so called educated theologians became defiled by atrocious things they had done. Church can do without them. Church can better use people who really belief in what they preach and do what they demand from others to do.

In the world of theology we can find lots of different writings bringing words against each other, words for sure which could potentially spark a lot of controversy, but worse, also lots of words which could bring people further away from Biblical truth.

Some theologians do know and

oftentimes think what seminary enrollment would look like if they pose a picture of Dr. King dead on a balcony on their fliers. What if they made a banner of Bonhoeffer hanging from the gallows? What if they Really showed what happened to Paul, Peter, James, and our Lord? What would enrollment look like if they showed us what would happen if we truly allowed our academics to be the impetus for our actions?

They know exactly what would happen.

That’s why our brochures are filled kids playing ping-pong. {The Subversive Scholar: The Danger of Being a Theologian in the 21st Century}

Theology without spirituality is a sterile academic exercise. Lots of countries do have universities offering courses in theology, where more time is spend on human writings about philosophy and theology than on the study of the Holy Scriptures themselves. The spiritual factor is often missed out and mostly the courses are given from the only point of view to be taken, that of the own denomination. As such in Belgium most Christian universities are Roman Catholic and offer theology to form people thinking the Roman Catholic way. In Leuven there is also an opening for protestant thinking, but also there only one way or protestantism is allowed to be the backbone to succeed end of year tests.

Street pastors

Street pastors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is not so much the words of human beings we do have to study, but we should make sure that we come to know what is written in the Bible, God’s infallible Word and take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Elohim commanded to God’s people. If we want to belong to God’s people we should live up to it and love the Adonai, Almighty God and worship Him as our only One God, walking in all His ways, keeping His commandments. It is not required from any person to be a follower of any other man than Christ Jesus. He is the cornerstone of the church and not a theologian or some one who can proof that he has received a degree in theological studies. We have to follow Christ Jesus and to hold fast to his heavenly Father, Jehovah God. We do not have to serve churches of man, but be part of the Body of Christ serving the only One Eternal God with all our heart and with all our soul.

We should remember Joshua who gave the departing ones from Egypt a word of exhortation,

Jos 22:5 RNKJV  But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of YHWH charged you, to love YHWH your Elohim, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

The writer of etsop95.wordpress.com remarks

You will note in this word from Joshua two important ideas. First, the Israelites were to pay attention to the Lord and do exactly what He said. Second, they were to have their motivation (love) properly in place. This is the idea behind what some people disparagingly call “pattern theology.” Those who do so speak about that which the Lord set in place! {The Pattern}

When people do find God and decide to become baptised, receiving a “new birth”, we and theologians may not forget that it is the work of God and not of us, elder or theologians

since one can’t “join” the family of God (a work of man, presumably), it is a work of God when one is “born” into the family of God. {The New Birth (2)}

Portrait of a pastor at the age of 35.

Portrait of a pastor at the age of 35. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Too many people stay in the tradition of their family and keep to the faith-group they were born into, though they may not believe or not practice their views. Real faith should come from own choices being made by adult thinking and wise decision.

It is not the result of parental descent, of one’s own willpower, or by “any of man’s religious creeds, systems, or ceremonies.” The new birth is of God; it is a miracle and only God can perform it. {The New Birth (2)}

It is by allowing the Power of God come into our body that our soul (our being) can be transformed. It is the individual who has to make the right decision and allowing God to work in him or her. Only then a spiritual birth, not a miraculous one, can take place.

Nothing in nature has been suspended for one to be “born again.” {The New Birth (2)}

It is when one hears God, and is prepared to do what He wants form His creation that one can become whitewashed and be baptised by the Spirit. Those receiving the Spirit of God than can take up the tasks Jesus has given his disciples and go out to the world, to others, so that they too may find God and convert to the true faith.

Without the foundation in place the strength of a local congregation is only perceived (imagined), not real. {Strength in the Local Church}

It is not necessary by an education institute that we shall come to the God of gods. All Christians should recognise that it is Jesus is who is the way. The Bible tells us even more, that he is the truth, and he is the life. Not the theologians are going to be able to give us life.

Thus, if anyone would know of truth, if anyone would know the way, if anyone would enjoy life, then one must go through Jesus.{Strength in the Local Church}

Furthermore, Jesus said,

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)

We should believe what Jesus says and not so much what theologians say, certainly not when in contradict with what Jesus says. so, when we go to a church where things are preached which contradict Bible sayings we should sincerely reconsider what we want to do and where we want to stay. Do we want to follow human doctrines or Biblical doctrines?

We should look at those theologians and question their thoughts and remember what some students could say about their college

With so many of our finest finishing up at denominational institutions, however, breathing the air of seminaries and schools of theology and salivating at the feet of theologians, we’ve lost our mettle against the idea of theology. {Harding University, twice}

As members of the Body of Christ we never may forget that in the church “educated” men also make mistakes.

There are numerous instances when you have two highly degreed men on the opposite sides of an issue. Some do not have an understanding of the implications of certain “facts” that they read. For example, if someone says

“Scholars believe that Mark was written before the other gospels.”

Would we question that? Is it even important? Some may teach that Mark was written first and have no other implication in mind; however, there is a large group of religious scholars that do not respect the inspiration of the Bible and the dates of the completion of the gospel is one of their places of attack.{Systematic Theology, Rex A. Turner, Sr.}

Too often in theology the focus is not on the subject we as members of the Body of Christ should worry about. It does not matter when and by whom a certain book is written. We do need to know the content and where to look for. The order in which the gospels were written is not the issue per se. What matters most is what is written between the lines and not a Pharisaical theological explanation and historical facts. Historical facts may help to place everything and to see the truth of it, but are not the main issue.

G.C. Berkouwer said:

“We live in a time when even theology is exploding with new and revolutionary problems. There is a danger that the serious student will be so impressed by all the problems in theology that he will circle all certainties by a ring of questions. When this happens, an inverse Pharisaism sets in. The doubting student says:

I thank thee, Lord, that I am not as certain as those naïve people. Let Luther say it again: Spiritus Sactus non est scepticus. Indeed, the Spirit is not a skeptic.” {Bales: certainty is not Pharisaism}

English: Example of appendix from New World Tr...

Example of appendix from New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures, study edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the ecclesia, our Christian community, house church or church-hall or other church-building, we can come together, meeting with brothers and sisters in Christ, having elders, pastors or priest, non-educated and educated people, all together in humbleness wanting to share the same gospel. In that gathered community, the parish, it is not so much the teaching of a theologian, but the teaching of the Spirit which will unsettle false positions and false attitudes,

but it unsettles them by means of truth and not by means of relativism.  {Bales: certainty is not Pharisaism}

It are all members of the ecclesia who have to work together and to share ideas together, not one thinking the other better or worse to give gospel messages. All should follow the task given by Jesus to explain to the lost who the people of God are and why we have to make the right choice to be distinct from the false religions that exist, including those that call themselves Christians but are not, fail to do their duty of proclaiming the gospel of Christ or the gospel of salvation and of the Kingdom of God.

We do not have to have a special platform or pulpit and especially trained people as the only speakers in our community. All people do have to have their ‘input.’ all have to make an effort to help each other to grow in the faith. All have to help the ecclesia to grow and have to make sure that the Body of Christ can continue to grow.

Lets make work of it!

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Preceding articles:

Living in the Wilderness

Getting out of the dark corners of this world

An uncovering book to explore

May we have doubts

Passover and Liberation Theology

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

In Defense of the truth

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

How To Get Started In Sharing Your Faith As a Christian

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

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Further reading

  1. The gods or mighty ones
  2. Jehovah God Almighty – greater than all gods
  3. People Seeking for God 6 Strategy
  4. God giving signs and producing wonders
  5. Elohim, Mar-Yah showing His wonders
  6. Necessity of a revelation of creation 12 Words assembled for wisdom and instruction
  7. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  8. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  9. Church has to grow through witness, not by proselytism
  10. Which Christian sect is the only true Christian church?
  11. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly”
  12. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  13. Why think there is a God (4): And the Rest …
  14. The Presence of God
  15. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  16. Bible God’s Word – to edify
  17. Looking for wisdom not departing from God’s Word
  18. Bible in the first place #3/3
  19. The holy spirit will bring back to your minds all the things told
  20. True God giving His Word for getting wisdom
  21. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  22. Eternal Word that tells everything
  23. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  24. We should use the Bible every day
  25. Feed Your Faith Daily
  26. God’s wrath and sanctification
  27. Bible containing scientific information
  28. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)
  29. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  30. Atonement And Fellowship 1/8
  31. How Many were Bought
  32. Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians
  33. An anarchistic reading of the Bible—(1) Approaching the Bible
  34. An anarchistic reading of the Bible (2)—Creation and what follows
  35. Van Til’s An Introduction To Systematic Theology
  36. Van Til interacting with Bavinck and Calvin on Natural Theology
  37. Christianity without the Trinity
  38. Position of the Bible researcher
  39. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  40. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  41. Epicurus’ Problem of Evil
  42. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  43. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  44. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  45. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  46. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  47. Pulpit reserved for the pastor
  48. May the Lord direct your hearts to …
  49. Victory in rebirth
  50. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  51. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  52. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  53. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  54. Meeting – Vergadering
  55. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  56. Faith is a pipeline
  57. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  58. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  59. Being Missional
  60. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  61. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  62. No other god besides Jehovah who gives all explanation
  63. Politics and power first priority #2
  64. Belonging to or being judged by
  65. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  66. Good or bad preacher
  67. What Should I Preach ?
  68. Determined To Stick With Truth
  69. Oratory Style
  70. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy

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Continued reading:

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Filed under Educational affairs, Religious affairs, World affairs

Helping to create a Positive Attitude

From the previous postings you could come to see how serious we have to take the people around us, because they will influence us in one way or the other. It would not be so much a problem if those out there would have naturally positive attitudes. But we also have to face those with negative attitudes. They might be born with no sunny signs for them or could their dispositions having destroyed or distorted by the negativity of others (parents, teachers, siblings or friends) as they grew up.

We also showed that everything is in the mind of each person him or herself. Everyone can bend the coarse of negative thought in to the line of positiveness. We all have to take up our responsibility to help those who are totally caught up in the negative spiral. We can help them by showing our positive attitude.

By coming to the knowledge that we ourselves are the only person who can create and control our attitude, we ourself can get on the way, but also show to the other that he or she also has that possibility to change her or his track. By showing the importance of the belief in the self, we can get them to reconsider their own position in their own life.

REMEMBER THE DUCK, KEEP POSITIVE !! ...item 5....

Remember The Duck, Keep Positive !! …item 5.. Law Enforcement Prepares For FSU / Miami Game (Fri 7:05 PM, Nov 01, 2013) — The phone number, 850-645-JERK (5375) … (Photo credit: marsmet463)

When we ourselves can get ourselves and others to believe that outside events can’t create our attitude, we can come together to build up together a good attitude. It is wrong to think that we all have to do everything on our own. We should come more to think of a group, helping each-other on the  road to success.

Having come to more non-religous persons, most people have no connection any more with their ‘community‘. Most of them are not part of a parish or an active community. Lots of people live in a neighbourhood but do not know their neighbours personally. Often lots of activities in the community even happen without them noticing it. Sometimes this is also the fault of the community or the parish itself, not inviting the people which live in the neighbourhood, or restricting contact only to those who are member of the church. Lots of churches have forgotten to go out and to do preaching work or investing time in missionary work at their own place. You might find churches having collections for places far away and talking about mission work in countries far away, but their eyes are closed for their own region. There there has to be done lots of missionary work today.

It is important that a person gets that feeling of being part of a community. We need to feel part of something which is bigger than ourselves. We are not made to stay on our own. It does not mean we do have to be married or living together with somebody else. But there has to be a connection with others living around us.

The outside world will always throw challenges in its surroundings and we may not close our eyes for them plus we also do have to open eyes of others for them. Some Christians do think we may not involve ourselves in the politics of the world, but we can not close our eyes for the politics in our own surroundings. We should be aware of it and should protect the weaker ones for those who try to get power over others.

We have to create our attitude in response to how we think about the events going on in our environment. Living in a communal society we do have to decide how we are going to respond to those challenges and to our entourage. Here we do have to make our first choices, how to look at things, how to let it influence ourselves or others and to choose whether to respond negatively or positively to the things it shall come to bring to being. Everything which is said or done  shall request a reaction and shall have an influence on those around it.

Being aware of your position in the community is important to the feeling of yourself but also for the reaction you will create onto others. Having much more in your hands than you might think, you should come to see that really you too can bring lots of changes, not only to your self, but also to others.
This request a strong attitude form yourself and a willingness to help others.

We shall not deny that maintaining a positive attitude in the face of all of the daily challenges in life can be daunting. We may differ with each other, but we shall have to find ways  to live with each other. By respecting the thoughts of the other you too may gain respect from the other. You both can come to the conclusion that each of you might find way to live positively with each other.  It does not matter if you are white or coloured, if you are very highly educated or have a poor education, each one of you can contribute to the community.

Many challenges may be offered to us and the community we are living in. But when we join hands we shall be able to do more than just on our own. Each of us can do it. It’s a personal choice to believe the best about any situation. Start to become aware of what you are thinking and saying, and check in yourself what effect it can make what you our saying.

As soon as we come to the understanding that we all works in progress in we are on a good way to come to changes which can be positive. You should work at it – gently correct yourself when you’ve gone the wrong way and praise yourself when you get it right.

We should be aware that common notion such as ‘long hours and many years’ counts also for us. but we have to be careful how such idea would dictate our life patterns. Believing on ourselves we should pursue our dreams, letting also others know that dream and prove it could be possible to succeed and on our own terms.

In case the surrounding looks boring or unappealing to you, why do you not try to change something to it. Consider more pleasurable surroundings that involve activities you may like, but also know you yourself can bring changes in your own environment. Your attitude and energy level are at their best and your attention span is very keen since you are focusing on something you like.

When you meet people who have grown to believe they can not achieve success due to a variety reasons, why do you not show them too that other side of the coin you have found. Let them and come to see yourself that in fact they put more effort into producing reasons as to why they can not succeed than others may invest into becoming successful. Our and their focus should come onto the vision of success.

Teaching yourself to have a positive attitude takes gentle but consistent work, just like training a young pets or toddlers. Do it for yourself and help others to get on the process of developing a positive world together.

A positive attitude changes everything.

A positive attitude changes everything. (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

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 Complementing reading:

  1. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  2. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  3. Breathing to teach

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  1. 3 Vital Character Traits
  2. 5 Ways Your Mental Attitude Affects Your Success
  3. Fostering A Positive Attitude

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  • Beware of bad attitudes at the Church service (mahustlerszone.wordpress.com)
    You need to beware of bad attitudes at the Church service. Let me make this clear before I elaborate on this topic, that the church is not limited to a physical structure but in fact is every person who believes in Jesus Christ. Also a church service can happen even outside the walls of the church building. A bad attitude at the Church service won’t do you any good. Having lack of faith and trust in the Lord is not helpful. However, this can be corrected as your faith can increase while hearing from the preaching of the word of God.
  • Attitude (darkhighlander666.wordpress.com)
    a good attitude is when you are to do something and you do it without any reluctance.
  • The 5 Ways to Have a Great Attitude Despite a Bad Situation (davidsbodytemple.wordpress.com)
    Have wisdom to know when to have a bad attitude. After all, we are human, but we need to have wisdom when we can’t go anywhere but negative.  Jesus got negative when He entered the temple and drove the moneychangers out.  He got negative when the Pharisee’s tried to make Him look bad.  Pick your battles wisely.  The Holy Spirit will guild you.  We should always strive to be positive; negative should be a last resort, not the first resort.
  • What’s with that attitude? (motivatingdaily.com)
    We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.”
  • I Got a New Attitude (changedmindchangedlife.wordpress.com)
    We spend our entire educational journey learning how your attitude determines your altitude.
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    My attitude is one of my biggest enemies. It tells me how to look at others and judge, it tells me how to criticize no progress, it tells me how to blame others for my failures, it tells me, I’m always right. What my attitude fails to tell me is,  at the end of the day I will be alone, because I choose to keep my attitude instead of my life.
  • ‘Love transforms everything,’ Pope tells sick, disabled (catholicnewsagency.com)
    “Jesus teaches us to live the pain by accepting the reality of life with trust and hope, bringing the love of God and neighbor, even in suffering: and love transforms everything,” the pontiff told the members of the Apostolate of the Suffering and the Silent Workers of the Cross on May 17.
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    Pope Francis said this positive attitude towards suffering was lived and taught by Blessed Luigi Novarese, who believed in “educating the sick and the disabled to value their suffering through apostolic action, carried out with faith and love for others.”

    “He would always say: ‘The sick must feel that they are the authors of their own apostolate,’” recounted the pontiff. “A sick person, a disabled person can become support and light for other people who suffer, in this way transforming the environment in which he lives.”

    Pope Francis urged the sick and disabled to give witness to the example of Christ in their own lives. “With this charism, you are a gift to the Church,” he said.

  • 4 Reasons Why People Don’t Respect Their Leaders (enmast.com)
    Many leaders are not aware of the great power and influence they have over their team. Both directly and indirectly, leaders set the tone, pace and emotional climate of a workplace. Consequently, their actions and attitudes are absorbed by every sponge-like staff member.
  • Maintenance as a Mission (engagethroughgrace.wordpress.com)
    God has given each of us unique callings – ways that He expects us to be involved in His mission of drawing lost people to Himself. He also equips us uniquely to accomplish our callings.
  • Healthy Living A to Z: A is for Attitude (espirational.com)
    Thoughts are highly contagious. Hang out with negative people and you will become negative. Find a group of positive people and you will find staying positive much easier. Watch the online communities you join as well.
  • We all got Attitude (pastorleonard.wordpress.com)
    Our attitude determines so much for us.  Here is a short list of where our attitude impacts the life we are building.

    Attitude is a huge influence in…

    Fait, Effort, Energy, Determination, Courage, Faithfulness, Relationships, Partnerships, Health, Peace joy and hope, How we treat others, How we handle adversity, How we parent, How we approach marriage

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Social affairs

Passover and Liberation Theology

by Jonathan Granoff 

There is a dynamic relationship between identity, community, and grace-awakened values, which, if they are authentic, are universal and without regard to nation, tribe, gender, race, or religion. In other words, God’s love is for all, wisdom is without prejudice, and justice properly wears a blindfold when she weighs deeds. The Passover moment is as an example of how the specific group in which one lives can and should be used to expand one’s circle of compassion. Tribalism is a distortion of God’s grace. The expanded heart alone is capable of knowing a reflection of the Unlimited Heart of God’s love for all.

English: Jewish Community Festival, Downtown P...

Jewish Community Festival, Downtown Park, Bellevue, Washington. “Jew-ish.com” and Seattle Kollel booths. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being Jewish and being part of the Jewish community can be a blessing or a curse. If being part of a community helps develop compassion for others, a sense of being loved, and expands one’s capacity to serve others, then it is surely a blessing to be in such a community. If being anything increases one’s capacity to experience God’s qualities and to share them then that too is a blessing. If being part of anything gives one a sense of arrogance then developing wisdom will be thwarted and authentic understanding of one’s relationship to God as well as one’s fellow human beings will he occluded. Liberation from any identity that separates one from one’s fellow human beings and God is necessary for authentic peace. Commitment to caring for others is a prerequisite for spiritual and psychological growth. Whatever identity one receives from birth or choice will have value based on these principles.

Rights, rituals and practices can deepen one’s sense of gratitude and appreciation for all lives.

For example, Passover can be experienced as liberation theology at its best. It is about social justice, freedom from slavery, crime and punishment, patience and fortitude, courage and God’s grace. It is also about overcoming the Pharaoh of egoism with faith. It is a multilevel source of inspiration for those who participate in its dimensions of family, community, teaching, and eating.

It is for many an affirmation of the intervention in history of God on behalf of a people God protected and to whom He revealed Himself. It can awaken gratitude for being a descendent of those people and not being a slave today. It can create a sense of duty to help free others. It can inspire to uplift us to a clearer awareness of the presence of the sacred. It can help us remember God.

It can create a distorted sense of identity. It can make one think that based on blood one is closer to God than others. One might ask: Is being a Jew a necessary part of being close to God? Only a fool would think so. One might also ask: Does being Jew distance oneself form God. Only a fool would think that. So, if you are a fool, stop reading, otherwise, join me in these reflections.

A heart filled with compassion and a life lived from that place of goodness where the presence of God is remembered will do just fine. So, then the question is what value is there in being part of a community, like a several thousand years history of stories about that community’s relationship with the mystery of life we inadequately call God. It could be good and it could be bad.

Good includes being accountable to people who know and love you. Bad includes thinking that by virtue of being part of that community, or tribe, you are specially blessed and better than anyone else anywhere. Good includes gratitude for the teaching that God is with us and One with all. Bad if that teaching makes one feel different from any of God’s other human creations.

Compassion does not have a boundary of blood, religion, race, caste or gender. It resonates like the circles from a pebble in a pond from the center of the heart where the intention to honor the lives of others and God’s sacred gift awakens when the pebble of that purity descends into the human heart.

So, here are few thoughts for your thinking:

Why do we need a tribe when the message is love and unity with and for all? Is not our God the One God of the one human family and is not the calling of those who accept the calling to love and serve all? Of course, and is that realization not a liberation from the slavery of egoism formed of separation from the overwhelming blessing of the oneness of life’s bounty? The ego mind that identifies with all that we cannot posses forgets what we can really receive, the radiance of the soul.

Crossing over the sea of blood ties into the open space of wisdom:

 

~And This Too~

love without action is

hollow

action without love is

dangerous

love with action

that’s

plenitude

each breath, deep love in action

each thought, deep love in action

each moment, deep love in action

Deep Awake

 where gratitude lives,

 salt changes to sugar

tears of sorrow, sadness and separation

changing to

tears of joy, love and union

a mere whisper of the grace of deep awake,

listen carefully

this whisper is a thunder of healing light

oh may God’s resonance be known.

in love’s way of peace

 

Jonathan Granoff is president of the Global Security Institute and reachable at granoff@gsinstitute.org.

– From Tikkun Special Seder Messages for Passover

+++

  • Queer Passover Seder Helped Me Reclaim Judaism (blogs.forward.com)
    At the time, it didn’t occur to me to be offended or concerned that I was being circled by the cheerleaders and other popular girls who held hands, bowed their heads and prayed for my soul. They were part of “Christian Life” at my high school in Olympia, Washington. I recall several instances when they earnestly attempted to save me from eternal damnation. I didn’t refuse their efforts or consider the implications of their actions. I just wanted to fit in.I grew up Jewish in the Pacific Northwest. But not in a religiously observant family, or a proud intellectual family, or a family of labor organizers who taught me early and often never to cross a picket line. My family was on the fast track to assimilation, and by high school, being Jewish was simply a reminder that I was an outsider.

    By the time I was in my late twenties, I was reeling from a spiritual crisis. A decade of organizing and social change work had left me feeling hopeless and burned out.

  • What Passover Means to Young Adults (ejewishphilanthropy.com)
    Passover is a unique moment. As we learn every year from the hundreds of Birthright Israel alumni who host Seders for their friends through NEXT’s Passover initiative, the holiday provides young adults with a whole new space in which to explore identity, experiment with tradition, and build community.What moves and motivates these young adults to create their own Passover experiences, and what can we learn from their stories? We dug through a trove of qualitative data contained in hosts’ post-Seder surveys to find out. Their stories illuminated important lessons and questions for the entire field of engagement.
  • This Passover (danielswearingen.wordpress.com)
    You tell me to look outside me this Passover, to actualize an infinite need. It seems strange, you asking me for holiness, for blessing a harvest, you of oneness, the lock of my key.
  • RAC Blog: A Fifth Cup ??? Going Beyond What is Required (blogs.rj.org)
    Today, as many of us are busy preparing for Passover, I find myself less occupied by the meticulous aspect of the holiday’s demanded mitzvot, but searching instead for ways to supplement the narrative and to find meaning in a modern context. I commend those who find deep meaning in cleaning out their kitchens and sterilizing their homes, making sure that all leavening ceases at the 18-minute mark and [in the Ashkenazi tradition] nothing that could resemble wheat flour – such as legumes – will be consumed during Passover. However, I would like to offer an additional perspective on Passover by suggesting some meaningful ways to supplement the seder.

    Zionism and living in Israel were the answers to my search for Jewish identity, and to me, Passover became a holiday of peoplehood. The central narrative became the one that we clearly state after we sing Dayenu,that B’khol Dor VaDor: “In every generation we must see ourselves as if we went out from Egypt.” In the traditional Haggadah this statement is followed by a biblical and liturgical reading.

  • The Evolution Of Passover – Past To Present (jewishengagement.wordpress.com)
    Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is the most widely celebrated Jewish Holiday. It begins on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven or eight days depending upon location and religious orientation. In Israel, all sects of Judaism celebrate Passover for seven days with one Seder (Passover ritual feast and in Hebrew means “order”) on the first night, while in the Diaspora (communities outside of Israel), traditional Jews celebrate it for eight days with two Seders held on both the first and second nights. This year Passover will commence at sundown on Monday, April 14th with the first full day celebrated on Tuesday the 15th. Passover is a Biblical Holiday, which commemorates the story of the Exodus—G-d freeing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and bondage; establishing the Covenant with them as a people not just as individuals as in the past e.g. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and in turn creating the beginning of our sacred history as a Jewish Nation.
  • The Worm Moon- Nisan 14, and Happy Passover (ireport.cnn.com)
    “Passover commences on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan.
    In Judaism, a “day” commences from dusk to dusk, thus the first day of Passover only begins after dusk of the 14th of Nisan and ends at dusk of the 15th day of the month of Nisan.
    +
    Passover is a joyous holiday, celebrating the freedom of the Jewish people.
    http://www.policymic.com/articles/31025/passover-2013-5-things-to-know-about-the-jewish-holiday
  • Taking Passover Back to Its Roots (algemeiner.com)
    the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nissan, they’ll wait for the kids to recite Mah Nishtana, the four questions; pucker up to inhale the bitter herbs; relish the sweet Charoset; dip herbs in salt water; sing rousing renditions of Dayenu and Chad Gadya; and knock back four cups of wine.But none of these rituals are part of the Passover observance of Israel’s Karaite and Samaritan believers, who observe the biblically mandated holiday in quite a different way.
  • Review: Two Messianic Passover Haggadoth (messianic613.wordpress.com)
    There’s no lack of Passover Haggadoth for Messianics. The best known are perhaps The Messianic Passover Haggadah by Barry & Steffi Rubin, and the more recent Vine of David Haggadah published by FFOZ. [1] There are many more, especially in internet editions. Some show a beautiful lay-out and are richly illustrated. There seems to be enough material available for all styles and tastes.

    To our taste, however, the materials offered thus far show many liturgical defects and inconveniences. Despite many serious efforts that have been made we haven’t seen a messianic Haggadah which successfully and convincingly integrates the traditional Jewish and the typical messianic features of the Seder. It is our perception that the difficulty of doing so is often underestimated, and that authors and editors are not sufficiently aware of the decisions involved in such a project, or the halachic and theological problems connected to these decisions.

  • Passover: A Time To Remember (jacksonandrew.com)
    The basis for a Christian interpretation of the first of the Seven Festivals as the decisive component in God’s plan for redemption pivots upon the identification of Jesus with the paschal lamb (Ross 2002, 409). There are, in fact, strong associations between Jesus and the Passover lamb in both the Old and the New Testaments. Centuries before the Crucifixion of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah declared that the when the future Messiah appeared, he would be “led like a lamb to slaughter.” (Isa 53:7). As John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching him he proclaimed: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Similarly, Peter described Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God (1 Pet 1:18-20). According to Augustine of Hippo, “The true point and purpose of the Jewish Passover . . . was to provide a prophetic pre-enactment of the death of Christ” (Rotelle 1995, 6:186).And not only has Passover been connected to the death of Christ, but also to the Lord’s Supper, which is also obviously a symbolic pre-enactment of Christ’s death as well as an re-enactment celebrated by the Church since that time. After Jesus’ sacrifice, Paul assured the early Christian community at Corinth that they have been saved “for Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7). Of course, the context of this passage points to the man who is living in persistent sin and thus not being allowed to receive the Lord’s Supper. Cyprian of Carthage also connected Passover to the Lord’s Supper and to the root, being the unity of the church (Baillie 1953, 129).

     

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