Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogging Towards Sunday
September 21, 2008
Jesus for President
Week 3
Jesus on the Law: a Flip-Flopper or was he Swift-Boated?
Matthew 5:17-21
Deuteronomy 6:20-25
Numbers 23:9

In this third week of the preaching/teaching series I'm doing on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) using the book Jesus for President, we come to a section on the law. Did Jesus say to ditch the Law, the Jewish traditions of the past? Did Jesus say to follow them to the "T"? Or did Jesus offer a third way? In Matthew 5:17 he says he's come to fulfill the law and the prophets, to live them out, to transform them and to set them free to be all that they were meant to be: a focused searchlight pointing us towards the unique, and justly different way that the God of Sarah and Abraham calls us to live. His opponents accused him of flip-flopping, trying to swift boat his call to a third way, a different answer to the same age old question: how do we live faithfully what God asks and why do we do it. For him, it's a call to move from a market system of tit for tat to life under the Spirit of God of abundant grace. I can't say it very well, so I decided this week to post a couple pages from Jesus for President that say it so well. Click on the pictures to enlarge them to make it easier to read. And please buy the book. It's the best one I've read in several years.

As I read this section from the book and reflect upon the scriptures for this week, I'm struck by the call to be unique, to live differently, 'set apart' with different convictions, fundamentals and essentials. In a sense it's a call to live as maverick agents for change - but not just in speeches, not just in policy making in the everyday way that we live whether we live in one house or 8 or on the street, whether we're republican or democrat, whether we grew up in Indonesia or can see Russia from our house. It's about how we live, how we relate to one another, how we share, how we talk, and what we ultimately stand for. In a flipflopping, swift-boating, pointing the finger age isn't such authentic living just what we're hungry for? Isn't that what attracts so many to Palin or Obama? Yet in the end I doubt that either the governor or community organizing senator can really save us. So how do we live in the fear or the long-term and the short-term tension?


Patchizinho said...

Haven't been to you blog in a long time, since I can spy on you through facebook!!!
We were talking about something relating to this blog the other day. The president, whoever it will be, is not going to make everything rad or everything suck. It's of course important to vote, but it's weird to see people/the media hype up the presidential election as the end-all be-all. People need to think about their own personal actions. Once again, you're right on, Monteskew!!!

Monte said...

Glad you like it. I find that first scanned page from the book to be brilliant! It's true that whoever is elected, and wether my family still lives in the country or not on 1/20/09, the truth is that no man or woman can save us, deliver us from all of the concerns that plague us. Of course it is no excuse to not motivate, organize and act! How we live, act and talk do actually make a difference, no matter how much our capitalistic marketing system lulls us into complacency and the urge to run out to Target to buy the specials of the week!