Archive for February, 2011

                Brian: This is, I guess, the ultimate news flash. Maybe the last one. Just a couple of minutes ago a lot of people ascended up into the air and met the returning Jesus Christ. At least that seems to be what happened. As you can see, our cameras are on scene and there seem to be about a quadrillion people gathered in one place around a shining throne.  We go to Brit, on the scene.

                Brit: There’s a good deal of consternation here right now, Brian. A lot of milling around, though perhaps expectedly, people seem to be moving to the right and to the left side of the shining throne. It looks like the Man on the throne is about to speak. No, but wait. There’s a tall figure dressed in black walking up toward the throne. Are you getting this?

                Brian: Yes, Brit. Look, is he about to speak?

                Brit: It looks like it. Yes, he is.

                Dark Figure: Hah, hah, hah! So, you just could not do it, could you? Let’s see.” ALLLLLLL power and ALLLLLLL authority has been given unto me, in HEAVEN and on EARTH.” Yeah, right. And, uh, there was this choice bit: “You will receive the Spirit of God and I will be with you always.” Right. Hah! “Go and disciple all nations!” But you just could not pull it off, could you? Pathetic!!

                Brit: Whoa!

                Brian: Amen to that! But we have just set up our panel, and we welcome contributors: Gabriel, Ariel, and Uriel. So, Gabriel, what’s you’re assessment of what we’re seeing?

                Gabriel: Well, Brian, to be honest I’m confused. I was told to blow my trumpet, and I did, but I have to say that I did not think it would happen so soon. After all, we heard him say that all nations were to be discipled!

                Brian: Any comment, Ariel?

                Ariel: Frankly, I’m equally befuddled. As Gabriel said, he was clear that all nations of humanity were to be theocratized under him. That certainly has not happened. In fact, he has ended history at a time when vast numbers of people have never really heard the gospel he proclaimed and brought. What was the meaning of all the martyrs and all those who sacrificed for him and his kingdom, if he never intended to spread his grace from pole to pole? I’m beginning to wonder if truth really lies with him.

                Uriel (interrupting): Yes. This is like some vast joke. And I don’t like it. Weren’t the humans supposed to take dominion over all creation? To be sure, some ignorant humans have always said “He’s coming soon” or “We should expect him at any moment,” but that was obviously idiotic in view of what he clearly said. Now he ends history without doing anything like what he said he would do. I’m beginning to think that the Dark Lord was right all along.

                Brian: I’m beginning to become very much afraid.


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Risky Business

I was once a church-planting candidate in the largest conservative Reformed denomination in America. During my seminary preparation I watched as prospective church-planters jumped through various hoops, including raising money. At the time, it was not unusual for a single church-planter on the West Coast to have to raise $500,000 but I have heard recently that the amount needed to execute a church-plant, before the first worship service is ever planned, is over $1 million in some metropolitan areas. Is this a good and desirable thing?

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, being interviewed by Radio Bremen in 1962, said the following:

Money corrupts. If I have to solicit great foundations for money for my research, then I have to propose something which is already obsolete for me. I know no researcher who in the first moment of a new inspiration could have found the sympathy and approval of the establishment. Whether it’s Galileo, Copernicus, Fichte, or I myself, it’s always the same: the new thought has to break through in battle against the vested interests, the power of the establishment, the conception of squandered money, against money itself—in short, against power of all sorts.


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Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who knows where mythology leaves off and history begins–or which id which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom–Lucifer.

I am not up on all of the commentators of Genesis 3, but I am unaware of any commentator who takes the line that James Jordan takes on the two trees in the Garden of Eden. All commentators, of which I am aware, concentrate on the sin of Adam and Eve in their disobedience to the explicit commandment of God to not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and of the consequences for the first pair and for the human race. Bonhoeffer for example, in his Ethics emphasizes that since eating of the tree, and coming into a knowledge of good and evil, we have become a people of divided soul, and that the original unity of the world and of human action has been lost. This culminates in the Scribes and the Pharisees, who he terms as “men of conscience.” He emphasizes that in Jesus, there is a recovery of this original unity that is very striking as Jesus knows God, and all of His action springs from that.

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