Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Vocabulary of Faith
(Blogging Towards Sunday, January 18, 2009)
John 3:15-17 & Romans 3:9-26
Psalm 1

So I'm continuing this vocabulary of faith series I'm preaching and teaching on with the church community I serve. People suggests word(s) or phrase(s) that are problematic and then I report back with reflection and hopefully some thoughtful questions. This week it's the word "righteous" and the verse "John 3:16).

Ok when I hear this word I think of self-righteous, as in I'm more righteous than you, you're going to hell and I'm on the way up! Sure is easy to say to someone you disagree with. Yet I don't think that righteous(ness) is really about what we do: our actions or our morality. I think that the body of the Bible is talking more about the way we are, our idenity - our being - our relationships. It's not a state of mind - it's a way of life. Yet at the same time it's beyond us. Repreatedly the bible says that none of us are righteous. Just look at what's going on with the whole BART muder affair of Oscar Grant. There's this indignation today that the Johannes Mehserle is some horrible human-being [
story] - ok it's wrong - but maybe anyone of us would have done the same thing, had the same (what I suspect what a knee-jerk reaction out of fear and newbiness). [Drummond has a great op-ed on it: Turn down the temp].

What the Bible lifts up and what Christian Theology articulates is that we choose independence, autonomy from God - to go our own way to get what we want and deserve [that's what the Garden of Eden is all about]. We prioritize independence from God over relationship with God - yet then don't know how to go back to relationship when we want it, when we want what we're created for. So God takes our self-righteousness upon himself in Jesus the Christ, make us right-with-each-other [righteousness]. It's all about relationship - one that's contagious, that infects us and moves us forward into a dynamic of relational living, being and doing. That's what faith is - not moral statements, not adherence to a dogma or a worldview, but living relationally - with God, from God, towards God as we live with one another. What do you think? Am I whacked? A laxist? Or maybe am I on to something?

Here's where I did some reasearch (an online Bible word seach on righteous)

I also think this scene from Pulp Fiction about Ezekiel 25:17 is interesting food for thought.

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