1860- POLITICS OR RELIGION?
I wasn’t sure how to close up this week- I know how much you guys like it when I do politics! [note- every now and then I drop a joke or 2 in- I realized once that everybody does not know when it’s a joke- but if you have to say each time ‘here I kid’ it kinda ruins the thing].
I did go to the mission yesterday- and Dirk- my homeless friend that I gave a lecture to on the ‘proofs for the existence of God’ [he was kind of going off the other day on how everyone believes what they hear- that there is no real way to know who is right- so I covered the history of apologetics and the proofs for the existence of God- I kinda blasted the guys for about 15 minutes- and wasn’t sure they were following].
So when I see Dirk- the first thing he shows me is this book on Bertrand Russell- the famous British philosopher- I wrote about him when I was doing the study on philosophy.
Dirk was kind of repentant- he must of took my ‘speech’ to heart- and he told me he was going to put more of an effort into researching stuff.
Now- it was a surprise to see my homeless buddy running around with a Russell book- but I got the hint that he did get something from my talk and wanted me to know he was trying.
By the way- being he showed me the book- I encouraged him to read it- but had to let Dirk know that Russell was a very influential 20th century British philosopher- he was famous because he was a public protestor against the use of nuclear weapons.
But in the field of thought he became an Agnostic.
He was raised as a believer- but at a young age he read a book from another famous thinker- John Stuart Mill.
Mill wrote about what we have been discussing these last few days- the law of Cause and Effect- and how things came into being.
Mill said ‘if everything has to have a cause- then why not God? Who caused God?’
Now- Mill wasn’t the first thinker to pose the question- but Russell became influenced by this idea and espoused it for the rest of his life.
Though both of these men were smart- they stumbled over this misconception.
The law of Cause and Effect [also referred to as causality] does not say EVERYTHING has a cause.
It states that all EFFECTS have a cause.
In essence- it’s within the realm of logic to espouse an infinite- causeless being.
Now- some might say this is ‘illogical’ but using the laws of logic [like we covered the last few days].
In the end- the only logical explanation for all things is an infinite being.
Anyway- don’t want to re hash the whole thing again- just thought it interesting that Dirk was reading Russell’s book.
Even though there are a lot of news events that could be covered today- lets finish with a few ‘religious’ things.
I have a verse here [about 200!] hanging on my wall- it’s from Isaiah [I think? I write them down and hang them up- but I don’t write the reference].
It says ‘do these things- and when others read about them- this will be a witness to them’.
There are others along this line that I have come across these last few years.
I started working with the homeless in 1992- with guys that were on drugs- ex-cons- before that.
I never told any of these stories until a few years back.
I started the blog in 2006- Facebook a couple of years later.
I felt that it was part of the ‘next step’- that is doing ministry- that the Lord wanted me to get into.
So- even though I did not even have email until 2006- or even get online until that time- I did my best to put together the blog [amateurish as it is] and start the process.
Now- over the years- as a student of religion, philosophy, ecclesiology [church]- I have written a lot about what it means to ‘do church’ or ‘be church’.
In Christian circles this has been hotly debated in recent years.
Many in the House Church movement have written- and debated with those who are more into the Traditional type churches.
There are many Protestants who have all types of ways they see ‘church’.
In its most basic form- the best definition that I have been able to come up with- is Church is a community.
It’s a worldwide community of those who confess Christ [the universal church].
And it’s a local community of those who follow him.
If you read the gospels- Jesus and his disciples are a good picture of the church.
Now- many will say ‘No John- the church was not formed until Acts chapter 2’.
Okay- I hear that.
I see the whole thing.
But- as community- it’s a mistake- in my view- to dismiss the gospels as ‘pre church’.
I don’t want to get into a theological debate- because I’m not even sure how many are following right now.
But- the point is- if we actually read the things that Jesus told us to do [sounds simple enough].
We would end up doing a lot of the things that most of us call ‘prison ministry’ or ‘street ministry’ or ‘outreach ministry’.
In actuality- these things are a main function of being a community.
So- over the years- because many of us associate church with the meeting [or the building]. We have a tendency to shift the focus from community- to the corporate entity.
Years ago I filed the corporation papers for our ‘church’.
Instead of paying a lawyer- I got a self help book- ‘how to incorporate your church’ and filed.
It was no big deal.
But I realized how we confuse the actual corporate laws of a state- they have ways they recognize what they call ‘a local church’.
And what the bible actually teaches.
In the bible- the church is a community of people- much like Jesus and the disciples going thru the towns- preaching- healing- helping others.
Yet- much of the focus of modern ‘church’ is the corporation ‘how much do we need this month? How many members do we need each month to tithe- and cover the vision of the church’.
Much of the focus- and effort- is spent on raising money for the corporation.
People are ‘challenged’ to sacrifice for Gods work- but the challenge is often seen thru the lens of ‘give till it hurts’.
Look- I’m not against giving- I give lots of money away.
But when you have the majority of church goers- who mean well- when they begin seeing their sacrifice mainly thru a paradigm of giving more money to a corporation- then this blinds them to the majority of teaching in the New Testament that calls us into the world- in real ways- to be the ‘actors’ [ones who act- function- not just give money so others can act/function on our behalf].
That is- the primary responsibility of the believer is not simply to go to church on Sunday [though this is a good thing].
Or to tithe to the ‘church’.
But to be active in helping one another- to be giving our lives away for other people.
This is the heart of the whole New Testament.
So- my purpose in telling these stories the last few years was simply to show one example [out of many- there are many Christians who do see the stuff I just showed you] So these things could be ‘the wisdom’ that the example of people seeing what it means to ‘be church’ might lead others to a ‘more better way’ [Hebrews.]
So- I’ll end the week with the example of my homeless buddy reading the writings of a 20th century British philosopher.
The politics will have to wait- yeah- I know your sad.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to ‘click’ the note App on my Facebook Profile- I have posted lots.