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January 31, 2006

Evil

It is worth noting that Mark's gospel represents Jesus' first public ministry in the temple, with opposition coming from the religious people. At the other end of the gospel we find opposition coming from within the twelve - Judas. In the middle, immediately following the first proclamation of faith, we find Peter being told by Jesus to "get behind me, Satan". What are we to make of this?

The focus of preaching and proclamation in the church is invariably on the evils of the world, and rarely on the evils within. This is an age-old phenomenon, one which blinds us to many realities. In the Hebrew Bible it was a continuing problem for Israel, believing that their status as God's people and the evils of the surrounding peoples exempted them from such close self-examination.

When we read the gospels, we tend to read ourselves into the best roles. We see ourselves as the friends of Jesus, as those who understand his kingdom and his message. Such an approach continues to blind us to the realities that we are too often much more like the religious people in the text, opposing the work of God.

A counter to this tendency is often found in the many voices of faith... the different views which are often found within the faith community. But too often we either dismiss such voices as 'whingers' or ignore them for being way out. The strength of christian community comes from an ability to question each other, and particularly prevailing orthodoxy. It is a vital aspect of unity which needs to be nurtured and fostered.

And who provides that voice when we are the church dispersed? When we find ourselves in our workplaces and social settings, when we are often the only christian present? It strikes me that we need a level of christian community in which such questions and critique of our daily lives can take place.

But that's a more difficult question.

Posted by gary at January 31, 2006 09:29 PM

Comments

Specifically relating to your last passage, have you read much stuff by David Wilson? He's a lecturere at Kingsley, where I study. He's all about the church dispersed and who we are to be as those people. Seeing as we only spend about 5% of our time as the church gathered, it seems right to me that we ought to focus more on how we interact with the world as the church dispersed. We are always the church, we just alternate between gathered and scattered.

Posted by: Megan at January 31, 2006 10:49 PM

Good point Megan,
Off the top of your head, how much intentional conversation in the church is about what happens when we are the church dispersed? Do you reckon this is a well-understood concept by most christians?

Posted by: gary at January 31, 2006 10:59 PM

Gary,

Great to chat over a boost. Here are the two links to the sights we discussed:

http://odyssey.blogs.com/odyssey/

http://www.allelon.org/main.cfm

cheers

AM

Posted by: Andrew at February 1, 2006 04:58 PM

I'm not sure it's a well dscussed topic in Church. Unfortunately people seem to 'respect the privacy of others' too much. If I can phrase it in such a way. Like they don't want to intrude on what others so during the week. But how do we challenge each other and keep each other accountable if we dont' talk about it?

Posted by: Megan at February 2, 2006 02:03 PM

Isn't it the nature of evil to deny accountability and to conceal realities which we need to address? Which, of course brings us back into the synagogue where Jesus' encounter takes place... and to the church. Church systems which prevent true community, genuine accountability and support surely must be named for what they are.

How is this evil system broken down?

Posted by: gary at February 2, 2006 05:05 PM

I totally agree! Genuine accountability is so hard to get. It takes effort and vulnerablility, which people are generally bad at. It takes effort to let your guard down in front of another who is also flawed. They can hurt us! But if we never let our guard down, then what is the point? For what is the point of life if not relationship, with God and each other?

Posted by: Megan at February 3, 2006 12:27 AM

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