February 12, 2014

I just love my dad. ūüôā He worries about the condition of my soul and makes sure I know that the Catholic church would welcome me back to the fold at any time. Our discussions range from comparative religion to doctrine, and our respective beliefs. ūüôā I am fortunate he is a man who walks his talk and is such an excellent example of true Christian love.

So today – it’s raining! And already in the mid-30s. I don’t think we have climate change; I think we have climate confusion. ūüôā But, even with snow and slush and ice on the road, I can still walk to the church in 13 minutes, so it’s all good. I’m wondering if I might have to buy an umbrella at some point…

Today’s commemoration was on Charles Andrews, a fellow of Mohandas Gandhi. It introduced two concepts I’d not heard of before: radical discipleship¬†and Christian anarchy. An example of the former comes from Mark 9:42-50 (if your hand causes you to stumble [into sin], cut it off…). The part of that that¬†interests me particularly is what relates back to Pastor King’s sermon this past week: “For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” An interesting commentary on this is from here:

“Mark 9:49,50¬† are somewhat difficult, and interpreters agree not in the sense of¬† them¬† for every one in general, or rather every one of¬† them that are cast into hell, shall be salted with fire, and¬† every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Therefore have salt¬† in yourselves. [1.] It was appointed by the law of Moses, that every sacrifice should be salted with salt, not to preserve it (for it was to be¬† immediately consumed), but because it was the food of God’s table, and¬† no flesh is eaten without salt¬† it was therefore particularly required¬† in the meat-offerings (Leviticus 2:13).¬† [2.] The nature of man, being corrupt, and as such being called¬† flesh¬† (Genesis 6:3; Psalm 78:39,¬† some way or other must be salted, in order to its being a¬† sacrifice to God. The salting of fish (and I think of other¬† things) they call the curing of it.¬† [3.] Our chief concern is, to present ourselves living¬† sacrifices¬†to the grace of God¬† (Romans 12:1),¬† and, in order to our acceptableness, we must be salted with¬† salt, our corrupt affections must be subdued and mortified, and we¬† must have in our souls a savour of grace. Thus the offering up¬† or sacrificing of the Gentiles is said to be acceptable,¬† being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, as the sacrifices were¬† salted, (Romans 15:16).¬† [4.] Those that have the salt of grace, must make it appear that they¬† have it¬† that they have salt in themselves, a living principle¬† of grace in their hearts, which works out all corrupt dispositions, and¬† every thing in the soul that tends to putrefaction, and would¬† offend our God, or our own consciences, as unsavoury meat doth.¬† Our speech must be always with grace seasoned with this¬† salt, that no corrupt communication may proceed out of our¬† mouth, but we may loathe it as much as we would to put putrid meat¬† into our mouths.¬† [5.] As this gracious salt will keep our own consciences void of¬† offence, so it will keep our conversation with others so, that we may¬† not offend any of Christ’s little ones, but may be at peace one with¬† another.¬† [6.] We must not only have this salt of grace, but we must always¬† retain the relish and savour of it¬† for if this salt lose its¬† saltiness, if a Christian revolt from his Christianity, if he loses¬† the savour of it, and be no longer under the power and influence of it,¬† what can recover him, or wherewith will ye season him? This was¬† said¬†¬†(Matthew 5:13).¬† [7.] Those that present not themselves living sacrifices to¬† God’s grace, shall be made for ever dying sacrifices to his¬† justice, and since they would not give honour to him, he will get him¬† honour upon them¬† they would not be salted with the salt¬†of¬† divine grace, would not admit that to subdue their corrupt affections,¬† no, they would not submit to the operation, could not bear the¬† corrosives that were necessary to eat out the proud flesh, it was to¬† them like cutting off a hand, or plucking out an eye¬† and therefore in¬† hell they shall be salted with fire coals of fire shall be¬† scattered upon them¬† (Ezekiel 10:2),¬† as salt upon the meat, and brimstone¬† (Job 18:15),¬† as fire and brimstone were rained on Sodom¬† the pleasures they have¬† lived in, shall eat their flesh, as it were with fire, (James 5:3).¬† The pain of mortifying the flesh now is no more to be compared with the¬† punishment for not mortifying it, than salting with¬† burning. And since he had said, that the fire of hell¬† shall not be quenched, but it might be objected, that the fuel¬† will not last always, he here intimates, that by the power of God it¬† shall be made to last always¬† for those that are cast into hell,¬† will find the fire to have not only the corroding quality of¬† salt, but its preserving quality¬† whence it is used to signify¬† that which is lasting: a covenant of salt is a¬† perpetual covenant, and Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar¬† of salt, made her a remaining monument of divine vengeance. Now¬† since this will certainly be the doom of those that do not crucify the¬† flesh with its affections and lusts, let us, knowing this terror of¬† the Lord, be persuaded to do it.

Christian anarchy, on the other hand, is defined as:

Christian anarchism is a movement in political theology and political philosophy which synthesizes Christianity and anarchism. It is grounded in the belief that there is only one source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable, the authority of God as embodied in the teachings of Jesus, and thus rejects the idea that human governments have ultimate authority over human societies. Christian anarchists denounce the state as they claim it is violent, deceitful and, when glorified, idolatrous.

More than any other Bible source, the Sermon on the Mount is used as the basis for Christian anarchism. Most Christian anarchists are pacifists and reject the use of violence, such as war.¬† Leo Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You is often regarded as a key text for modern Christian anarchism.

So, both of these concepts focus on the grace of God, based on our own internal actions and beliefs, putting God, the love of God and our future with God before anything else.¬† It is interesting that the connotations of both “radical” and “anarchy” bring to mind violence, and yet, in this context, are so focused on the love of God that there is room for nothing else.¬† I think I’ll be thinking about this for a while. ūüôā

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