Spirit Loops 2

Posted: December 15, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
Tags: , , , , , ,

The writing of Galatians is Paul writing about coming into his own. The balance within the community between extremes, and coming to the Via Media (middle path). Preston Manning wrote in his leadership book about two pillars of the Christian political world in Canada- Woodsworth and Aberhart- they were two sides of the same coin. Woodsworth with the Social Gospel was focused on the community transformation; Aberhart was focused on personal transformation. Both necessary, yet one movement emphasized only a piece of it.

That is what Paul is laying out here, the danger of extremes, and the danger of exclusion of one piece or one population:

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.¬†2¬†I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those¬†who seemed influential) the gospel that¬†I proclaim among the Gentiles,¬†in order to make sure I was not running or had not¬†run in vain.¬†3¬†But even Titus, who was with me,¬†was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.¬†4¬†Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in‚ÄĒwho¬†slipped in to spy out¬†our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus,¬†so that they might bring us into slavery‚ÄĒ¬†5¬†to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that¬†the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.¬†6¬†And from those¬†who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me;¬†God shows no partiality)‚ÄĒthose, I say, who seemed influential¬†added nothing to me.¬†7¬†On the contrary, when they saw that I had been¬†entrusted with¬†the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised¬†8¬†(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),9¬†and when James and Cephas and John,¬†who seemed to be¬†pillars, perceived the¬†grace that was given to me, they¬†gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.¬†10¬†Only, they asked us to remember the poor,¬†the very thing I was eager to do.

-Epistle of Galatians 2:1-10 (English Standard Version)

The early apostles saw Paul’s change not in his words, but in the journey he had walked. The balance of personal and communal transformation. The balance, not slipping to far into any one ideology. There was movements within the early gatherings of extremes as well…much like we wrestle with today. One would say extremists only exist on the right end of the political-theological spectrum. This is a misnomer, for extremism exists in all types of belief systems and ideologies. Taken to extremes social conservatism and progressiveness can create harm. Now stop the pearl clutching on either side, for it is true.

The horror of eugenics existed and still exists in both extremes. It can take on anti-lgbttq2+ rhetoric, ableism, anti-migration/immigrant, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, or the simple act of so demonizing the other viewpoint they are no longer seen as humans. It is in professionalism that uses coding as the be all and end all for the individual. That is they are nothing more than a number, whether in social services, affordable housing, public education, health care or the justice system. It is about moving language away from citizens to tax payers so that only those that are of the “haves” matter in society. It is about letting a circumstance become the definer of the individual instead of their Imageo Dei.¬†That is, that it is okay to create a caste hierarchy of existence, and such violence is not a problem against the opponent. It also creates an atmosphere of group think, where to protect standing one will succumb to this belief structure.

¬†But¬†when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him¬†to his face, because he stood condemned.¬†12¬†For before certain men came from James,¬†he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing¬†the circumcision party.[a]¬†13¬†And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.¬†14¬†But when I saw that their¬†conduct was not in step with¬†the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas¬†before them all, ‚ÄúIf you, though a Jew,¬†live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?‚ÄĚ

-Epistle of Galatians 2:11-14 (English Standard Version)

Yes it is not only the outside world that is responsible for curtailing hate. It is within our own movements and institutions. Those pesky ethics, morals and values need to be front and centre. Now I hear some clamouring that there isn’t an issue with this in the Christianities– poppycock (yes a good theological word). The rise of populism, propped up by what is termed the “Religious Right” in North America has seen a rise in hatred. Now the reader will go, yeah but you said it wasn’t right or left.

This is true, for hatred comes from all corners. It comes from those that see any group as less than. It is about overzealous environmentalists that do not see the impact or accept it is okay for a segment of the population not to live. It is those that believe forced sterilizations of persons with disabilities or aboriginals is okay. It is the religious right, upholding those that do not hold to their base values and saying “God’s elect” that allow Nazis back in our streets undeterred.¬† Historically, the rise of the Klu Klux Klan, and today the centre of a revisionist Christ at the core of many white supremacy/alt-right movements. It is progressive faith movements that create a space where leaders feel they have to be disingenuous to who they are because a partner has emerged into their true self whether trans or in the spectrum, even if the partner does not identify on that end of the spectrum. Not knowing you can love, and be friends, best friends, but romance may not be there anymore…or for those questioned who continue within the relationship because they emerge into their own as well. It is allowing blatant lies and cover ups to exist to protect one’s own political or religious power. Regardless of the harm being done- from frauds to bullying to sexual harassment to rapes, because we have elevated a leader or leaders to a messiah like position.

Paul risked all by calling¬† out Peter, the one given the keys to the Kingdom. Think of the courage that took knowing it could lead to a termination of his association with the movement he had converted to. It truly was a “going for broke” mentality to ensure integrity of leadership.

 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified[b] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

-Epistle of Galatians 2: 15-21 (English Standard Version)

A trImage may contain: outdoor, text that says "#i Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light. J.K Rowling @YahushuaJourney"ue lesson for any movement as a gut check. If in the process of attempting to craft a new world, one is called into the darkness…then it is darkness you are reaping. Harm you do to achieve the goal, it is harm you are birthing. The old adage of the ends justify the means, is one of Empire, not Transfiguration.

Transfiguration means, even if it takes longer, it is about communal transfiguration and independent transfiguration not as independent events. They are interdependent lights that burn brightly into the darkness.

Will you be that light in the darkness at the doorstep?

 

 

 

 

 

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