Thursday, February 23, 2006

personal salvation

Is it possibly the result of a culture more and more individualized, self centered and self serving, that the gospel has become about my personal ticket into heaven? And does it seem again to be a cultural pressure that has further reduced this to believing the right things and keeping my penis out of trouble?

I mean, is this the radical message of Jesus? Believe these ten things, and don't be naughty and you are over the line? What happened to love your neighbor as yourself? What happened to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God? What happened to God's will being done on earth, like it is in heaven?

the rev

13 comments:

Kieren Green said...

You seemed to have neatly summarised the message of many mega-churches, Rev.

Without the ticket to heaven, why would anyone bother with the life-transforming message of Jesus? Or is it a combo of being filled with the holy spirit and the reward?

But is universally radical? Well, yes, when you compare it to our self-centred western culture. How does it rate in other cultures?

What would be even more radical, is people behaving in the "other-oriented" fashion (putting others' needs ahead of one's own) without any eternal reward or supernatural motivation.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. While this statement is certainly true of some people, I have seen many members of mega-churches who have forsaken much to serve their neighbours.

The Rev said...

Well, I live the way I do because I believe it is right, and Jesus lived this way, (though I fall short, I am no Jesus)

And yes it is universally radical to live other centered life, it is just as radical in the tribes of africa as in the eastern cultures and the eskimo tribes in Alaska. Though how it works itself out may be different.

I think the reward I receive is fulfillment, and a love I did not know I am capable of. What happens when I die does not motivate me.

the rev

Rebecca said...

yeah, ditto rev - though I've upset quite a few friends when I said that I wasn't particularly concerned with what happened after I die!

As Brian pointed out, much flows from our interpretation of "salvation" and the "kingdom". I'm not sure whether individualism and consumerism lead to an individualistic sense of salvation, or whether it's the other way around, but I do think that in Australian Christian culture, there's an emphasis on individual salvation, and social justice because it proves we're Christians and it might convert people. I prefer to interpret "salvation" me being "saved" from my own selfishness, from finding fulfillment and demonstrating love that I didn't know I was capable of, and the "kingdom" is in the here and now...it's not some far-off place where we sing among the clouds, but something that Jesus inaugrated and Christians are called to build right here, right now.

Kieren - I think that notions like "the last being first" and "the least of these" is unique to Christianity. I can't think of any culture in which these sorts of precepts exist...though I'm open to being wrong!!

Kieren Green said...

In a way it doesn't matter when an idea was first articulated, it's a matter of historical curiosity.

But there is a lot of thinking bearing on the subject of living in community morally, in support of others, etc. This marketplace of ideas is crowded with politicians, sociologists, religious leaders, journalists, philosophers, taxi-drivers, etc. Christianity is but a subset of voices.

Whether the ideas and practices of "personal salvation", "God's will being done on earth", "the last being first", and all the others from the Christian faith are beneficial can probably be argued for quite well (especially by their practitioners).

But is the Christian set of ideas/practices the best or are they enough? They only seem to work for a few people. For example, I get the impression that they work very well for the Rev.

Ideas from other faiths for example get scant attention from Christians. Why not? Are they inferior?

scott said...

Its been one of these things that has been troubling me as well for a while. One of those religous words which I think goes along with 'disciplship' is 'sanctification'. That salvation is an ongoing process where we are constantly been saved. That thoughout our life we will have to change direction to keep following Jesus.

The Rev said...

Well Kieren, many Christians thing other religions are of no value at all. Some are scared that other religions will somehow damage them. And still others believe they are rooted in demonic activity.

I think if a thing is true it is true. Therefore, the kingdom of GOd is good news, and it is good news for all. Gandhi was inspired by this Kingdom, yet he was not Christian. There is much truth in other religions, but I believe Christianity is the completion and personification of ultimate truth.

And as CK Chesterton has said, "it is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting, but rather it has been found difficult and left untried"

the rev

the rev

Anonymous said...

First, I feel the need to apologise ( Repent) for previous comments. yes! i am the sour voice that dumped on the pastor who washed the dishes! I am sorry!
Secondly, ... Can anybody tell me where i can find a desert in the city?

The Rev said...

well, I know a few places where you can get a nice dessert

KenOath said...

According to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology the average annual rainfall at the Melbourne regional office is 653.2 mm. All of the coastal cities of Australia exceed 250mm rainfall/year, the level of precipitation below which a region is considered 'desert'.

For desert conditions you will need to go further inland.

Hope that helps you with your query.

Tim said...

Preach it Rev! See you Sunday.

ben said...

I think that we have to be careful to not do the classic pendulum swing with this one.

Jesus talks over and over about heaven and reward. He goes and prepares a place for us, he is coming with a reward etc, run the race to win the prize, store up riches in heaven. Desiring to go to heaven is definetly a major new testament thought. Besides the fact that we will be able to see God and be with him in a way that is somewhat different to now. And also, to be finally free of my sinful attitudes etc has to be a major bonus!!!

by the way....i really get tired of the whole mega church bashing thing. Do we really think that if suddenly there are 2000 people in your church that it's now being run by a satanically inspired, ego centric, money grabbing sociopath?

If someone says Jesus died so that you can have a mercedes then I would be among the first wanting to throw BIG stones but these are few and far between.

Lots will say that Jesus wants you to have life and life abundantly - without defining what 'abundant life' is. but that is different from "life with a mercedes".

The Rev said...

I drive a mercedes, you gonna throw rocks at me?

Well its thirty years old.

Is falling apart.

And was given to me.

:)

I do not believe its a pendulum swing, I believe it is Jesus core message. Yes we will be in heaven someday, but Jesus seems to warn us to work as though we are expecting the boss back any second. That does not suggest planning a welcome back party. From my reading God has the party covered my job is to in the words of Jesus, be a violent man violently taking the kingdom of God be force.

Now don't read that as if I was some american gun toting psycho. I just believe that we are to be about the kingdom, my getting to heaven is already taken care of, thats not the point

the rev