Tag Archives: Discipleship

An Epistemology of Peace

Incompleteness is not a temporary human state while we engage in figuring out how to do theology and ethics; incompleteness is the human condition. That is why it does not matter where we begin or what language we use, provided we do not exclude other languages, but it does matter whom we listen to and whether we are able to learn to walk the word…. Continue reading An Epistemology of Peace

Juxtaposing two passages in Matthew

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’” – Matthew 11:28-30

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you.’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of the world.’

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Anyone who would come after me must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for a person if they gains the whole world, yet forfeits their soul?’” – Matthew 16:21-26

These two passages offer a curious tension for those interested in following Jesus. On the one hand, we are to go to Jesus when we are weary. Jesus is the one who revives us, offering us a place of rest and healing. On the other, Jesus calls us irrevocably to a life of hardship, loss, suffering, and premature death. What are we to make of this? Continue reading Juxtaposing two passages in Matthew

The Christian’s Destination as Ongoing Work that is Good

I often find it helpful to think of the Christian life in terms of journey and Good work. And I also find that we best think of this journey or work as ongoing. In this way the destination of the Christian’s journey is journeying in friendship with God. God does not call us to something that is other to Godself, and God does not give us hard work prior to a reward in abstraction from this work. Certainly God promises rewards to the faithful, but these rewards are in fulfillment of the good towards which our faithful actions gesture. Martyrdom, for example, is a confessional embodiment of the Kingdom reality of “living together in love,” which is promised the reward of the loving communion of the resurrection.

This approach has the advantage of not separating God’s gifts to us from our reception of (and participation in) these gifts. Grace and discipleship are brought together rather than severed. Such an approach also holds the potential of dispossessing us of any pretentious to absolute truth. We may be called by God, but this calling does not mean that we know in advance where and how God’s truth may be found. In fact, it actively calls us to a certain openness towards unexpected discoveries of God’s grace. For if our goal is ongoing work, then perfection involves continued growth and learning, not “having it all together.” And finally, seeing the Christian journey as ongoing removes any separation between God’s being and God’s act. God both is love and gives love; resting in God’s love is not different than living a life of love. Continue reading The Christian’s Destination as Ongoing Work that is Good