“Today, as never before, we need communities of welcome; communities that are a sign of peace in a world of war. There is no point in praying for peace in the Middle East, for example, if we are not peace-makers in our own community; if we are not forgiving those in our community who have hurt us or with whom we find it difficult to live. Young people, as well those who are older, are sensitive to this vision of peace. It must continually be announced so that hearts and minds are nourished.”
From the Christianity Today interview with Canadian musical icon Bruce Cockburn:
“To me, everything in life is a process. There is no stopping point; you never land. If you think you’ve landed somewhere, watch out, because God or whoever is gonna pull the rug out from under you, and you are going to have to start thinking again, trying to understand how you fit into things.”
Cockburn says he doesn’t care whether people believe he’s a Christian or not.
“What’s important is recognition that there is a spiritual side of life, and that needs to be paid attention to,” he says. “There’s a real distinction between materialism and a sense of the cosmos being a deeper place than that. If it’s a deeper place, then what does that ask from us? I don’t know the answer. I’m still working on it, and that is perhaps why people are willing to listen to the stuff I put into songs.”
There’s a bit of coded language going on here – though not on Bruce’s part. I suspect it’s other Christians who say that they don’t believe he is Christian, which is another way of saying he’s not their kind of Christian. I really wish we could stop doing that. When you consider the full import of that last paragraph … there isn’t a Christian of any stripe who wouldn’t benefit from asking that question. If the cosmos is a deeper place, then what does that ask from us?
And if you’re fan you need to know about this: Brian Walsh has just released “Kicking at the Darkness: The Christian Imagination of Bruce Cockburn, via Brazos Press. Review to follow…
Jesus, as he shares the Passover meal with his disciples, gets down on his knees to wash their feet.
Peter looks down at Jesus, kneeling there before him, and tells Jesus no. He can’t bear to have Jesus doing the work of a servant. Yet Jesus says that he has to do it, or Peter will have no part of him.
I understand Peter. There’s something modern about Peter’s sensibilities when he doesn’t want Jesus to serve him. It’s hard to let people help, when we’re expected to be so autonomous and all together, and we know that we’re not.
…When Jesus takes Peter’s foot in his hands, pours the water over his dusty toes, makes sure that the mud is no longer sticking to his soles, when Jesus pats Peter’s feet dry with his towel, in this great act of servitude and friendship, Peter is given a part of Jesus. Peter owes Jesus something.
And such is the nature of friendship, giving and spiritual community. We become part of one another; we carry a bit of one another with us. We learn to give and to receive, not as simple commodities, as people buying and selling hours, but as complicated bodies with abundance and necessities. We build community with one another, with all of our assets and all of our needs, taking into consideration the requirements of our hands, hearts and feet. (Tribal Church, / Carol Howard Merritt)
Most of us don’t have much left to give. The pressures of work, finances, family and [fill in your own blank here] are draining. We balk at the concept of community, preferring instead anonymity, seeking interactions – human, economic, cultural, emotional, physical – that give us more than what we have invested. The truth, however, is that the exact opposite is true. At the end of ourselves we recognize our need for one another, we recognize our need to be amidst those who need us, also.
Jay Bakker writing in “Fall to Grace” re: the judgmental God of the Old Testament vs. the forgiving God of the New:
So how do we make sense of these seemingly contradictory glimpses of God? Recent scholars …have suggested that we start by plotting God’s actions on a time line. When we do, we see that there’s a clear evolution in our descriptions of God – a trajectory that points inexorably from judgment and punishment in the distant past through time toward forgiveness and all-encompassing love. It’s not a divide between Old Testament and New, but rather a narrative that unfolds throughout the course of the Bible.
That’s right: Our understanding of God (though not God Himself) changes over time. And we find the fullest expression of His compassionate nature in Christ. By sending His only Son to live among us as a human, God revolutionized His relationship with us. he showed His true nature as clearly as He could: “Jesus,” [Brian] MacLaren writes, “gives us the highest, deepest and most mature view of the character of the living God.“