Tuesday, December 18, 2007

wild Bible stories

Today the snow is falling again and I was without any running water when I got up this morning. Interesting stuff. Messes with ones plans for the day. So I am doing a quick blog while I await the return of water for my shower for one cannot venture out into the stores and banks and post offices smelling like yesterday.

Yesterday I was trotting around on my friend, Dave's, blog (http://www.nakedpastor.com/) and saw his latest video conversation with Shane from http://www.fakerepublic.com/. Excellent stuff. Go there right now and watch the fakenaked show part 2. It is about money and marketing and integrity and they toss in a few innapropriate remarks just for good fun. Anyway, that got me onto Shane's website where I came across this fine quote in one of his posts. I asked if I could include it here and he graciously agreed.

i shudder every time i hear the life-giving message of jesus preached as constricting, fear-inducing, death - the dysangel! i despair when the wild word of god is tamed and tethered to a proof-text in support of prejudice. every time i hear the too-familiar sermons reiterate the same-old slant on complex, tangled, intricate, infinitely new passages, i cringe. i know this is the reason so few spend any time exploring the scriptures for themselves any more - they believe all the gold has been mined from these depths and all that remains is a hollow, black, cavernous carcass. the two-edged sword has been dulled by timid, safe, entirely predictable and unshocking interpretation. tragically, aslan has had his claws pared (to paraphrase the inimitable dorothy l. sayers). - from http://www.fakerepublic.com/

I had just been reading Isaiah 10 where strong and untamed words of destruction are rife, the kind that peace-loving modern tolerants hate, and was struck by the perspective one small phrase brought to the whole wrathful chapter. Here's the gist of the scenario: Israel has gone in a really bad direction and done some very bad things. God sends Assyria to attack them to show them that evil is not alright and you can't get away with injustice. They suffer. It is bad. People die. Then God says he will turn his wrath on Assyria who is now arrogant in its victory over Israel. Sounds like violence upon violence, but listen to the love and careful thought for a people's well-being behind all this slaughter:

And on that Day also, what's left of Israel, the ragtag survivors of Jacob, will no longer be fascinated by abusive, battering Assyria. They'll lean on God, The Holy - yes, truly. The ragtag renmant - what's left of Jacob - will come back to the Strong God. Your people Israel were once like the sand on the seashore, but only a scatterd few will return. Destruction is ordered, brimming over with righteousness. For the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, will finish here what he started all over the globe. Therefore the Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, says: "My dear, dear people who live in Zion, don't be terrorized by the Assyrians when they beat you with clubs and threaten you with rods like the Egyptians once did. In just a short time my anger against you will be spent and I'll turn my destroying anger on them. - From Isaiah 10, The Message.

Our fascination with violence and destruction and unrighteousness is only too evident to God (and to anyone who watches any television or movies). He takes that unholy idolatry and smacks us over the head with it to wake us up out of our deception, and then he obliterates the instrument of violence itself so that we will no longer give it power. How brilliant is that! I love this God! And this complex, tangled, intricate, infinitely new, never timid, nor safe, nor entirely predictable and sometimes shockingly wonderful way he has about him.

These are the woods beside my house in the blizzard on Sunday.

The water has come back on, thank you technicians of the town of St-Lazare. Blessed shower!

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