Friday, December 30, 2011

a rather dull and boring edge

One of the things that puts any kabosh on any attempts I may want to make to trust the people in 24-7 Prayer, and that overrides my attempts to give them the benefit of the doubt, has to so simply with those they insist upon partnering with. For example, there is this church, which is connected with their organization in New Zealand.

Edge City Church, the link goes to the page where the audio for this sermon can be found.

The sermon I'm listening to is by a woman named Julia. She "exegizes" the biblical account of Mary and the conception and birth of Jesus. What is she saying?

Well, let's see...

The accounts were definitely written from a man's point of view, as they just don't give the kinds of details women would want. Men just don't see a lot of detail, or at least the types of details women would notice. The Bible gives only "a man's amount of information".

If women had written the Bible, it would have been a lot longer, with a lot more detail, and somehow the book of Numbers would have been more interesting. Don't ask me why any of that is true, or even relevant to the topic of the conception and birth of Jesus. Hey, I'm just a guy.

Maybe the reason Moses wrote the Bible instead of Miriam was because the scribe, the guy putting words into the clay tablets, just couldn't keep up with Miriam as she was talking. I'll assume all of that was, somehow, meant for humor. But the fake stammer, apparently in an attempt to imitate Moses, was rather off-putting for one like myself, who has suffered from much that same kind of problem.

Advent means pregnancy. Actually, I thought Advent meant arriving. Like when the one guy a few years ago was making a big deal about the advent of Google, he certainly meant that the advent or arrival of Google was the big deal, at least in his own mind. Advent, in the Christian calendar, has to do with the birth of Christ, His arrival.

The life of Christ in us is like the pregnancy of Mary. Oh, joy, unfounded and unsupported assumptions and metaphors. This lady claims almost complete ignorance of "exegizing", so is it any wonder that her attempts at it wind up really being eisegesis, or reading into the text, and not exegesis, reading and understanding what the text itself is saying.

At least she admits it's a metaphor, for any credit that may be worth (precious little, if any).

She must be using The Message, because she's reading a verse from Luke 1that says that Mary said "I'm bursting with God-news". Really, why is the Message such a popular translation? I've read parts of it before, and it's style isn't modern, it's stilted. Like that. Who would use a word like "God-news"?

Apparently, all women who are pregnant are bursting with God-news. Nope, Mary being pregnant, no big deal. Oh, btw, I guess that explains why so many of those pregnant women go get aborted that child in them that causes them to be bursting with God-news.

And, apparently, the passage in Luke 1 in whatever translation she's using also has Mary saying "He took one look at me, and look what happened". To this lady's mind, apparently that's an excuse many women have made when in the same condition. This part of the message is very distasteful.

I'll agree with her some that we may tend to idealize Mary's pregnancy, not to mention the birth of Christ. Concerning the latter, we have carols that have lyrics like "Silent Night", when very likely it wasn't really a very quiet night at all, or "Little Lord Jesus no crying he makes", when Jesus as a newborn would likely have cried if He had been awakened by the nearby cows. So, a bit of a point for her, but, seriously, this is still not exegeting the text at all.

Apparently, being pregnant or having just given birth means people will talk about all kinds of bizarre things with you in public. I'll take her word for it. She's had a lot more experience at that than I, being just a guy, will ever have. Or, hopefully, that's just a Kiwi thing.

As she points out, the Bible doesn't talk about that stuff all that much. Why she is, while "exegizing" the text, I'm not sure, either.

Now, she'll continue using the metaphor of Mary's pregnancy, or maybe pregnancy in general, to discuss the idea of the life of Christ inside of us.

Pregnancy is uncomfortable, but it will be worth it. I've no doubt.

She's "exegizing" the cankle now. Again, she admits it's not in the Bible. For whatever reason, she's showing pictures, anyway.

The life of Christ inside of us can require discipline, and what she calls the uncomfortable process of change.

To kind of pause things a bit, I've made a bit of a search of the few resources I have, to see what the Bible say about this idea of "the life of Christ". It seems to be a surprising rare phrase, at least in the one concordance I've looked in, which is a fairly good one but, I'll admit, not exhaustive. Only one verse seems to have that phrase, in II Corinthians 4. Here's some context.

1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we
faint not: 2but we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking
in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by the
manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s
conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is
veiled in them that perish: 4in whom the god of this world hath blinded the
minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,
who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them. 5For we preach not
ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for
Jesus’ sake. 6Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness,
who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of
God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7But we have this treasure in earthen
vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not
from ourselves;

8we are pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not unto
despair; 9pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed;
10always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of
Jesus may be manifested in our body. 11For we who live are always
delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus may be
manifested in our mortal flesh. 12So then death worketh in us, but life in
you. 13But having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is
written, I believed, and therefore did I speak; we also believe, and therefore
also we speak; 14knowing that he that raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise
up us also with Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15For all things are
for your sakes, that the grace, being multiplied through the many, may
cause the thanksgiving to abound unto the glory of God. 16Wherefore we
faint not; but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is
renewed day by day. 17For our light affliction, which is for the moment,
worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;
18while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which
are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things
which are not seen are eternal.

So, there is mention of "the life of Christ" in that passage. It still seems, though, that she is using it in a slightly different way than that passage does. For one thing, this passage doesn't liken it to pregnancy at all. We are not pregnant with the life of Christ, but rather as the passage says, we are delivered over to death so that the life of Christ may be manifest in our bodies.

She's treating this "life of Christ in you" in an almost therapeutic, Oprah-fied way. We should allow it stretch and grow us. Again, look in the passage above. It is in bearing about in our bodies the dying of Jesus that this life of Christ may be manifest in our bodies. When we are delivered to death for Jesus' sake, the life of Jesus may be manifest in our bodies. Here's an excerpt from a commentary about this passage.

10. bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus — that is, having my body exposed to being put to death in the cause of Jesus (the oldest manuscripts omit "the Lord"), and having in it the marks of such sufferings, I thus bear about wheresoever I go, an image of the suffering Saviour in my own person (2 Cor 4:11; 2 Cor 1:5; compare 1 Cor 15:31). Doubtless, Paul was exposed to more dangers than are recorded in Acts (compare 2 Cor 7:5; 2 Cor 11:26). The Greek for "the dying" is literally, "the being made a corpse," such Paul regarded his body, yet a corpse which shares in the life-giving power of Christ's resurrection, as it has shared in His dying and death.

Brown, David; Fausset, A. R.; Jamieson, Robert (2011-06-02). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation with Direct Verse Jump) (Kindle Locations 86449-86455). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.

A pregnancy will speak for itself. Well, yeah, after a while, it will.

People out there, lost people, people you work with if you work with lost people, are not looking for lectures of sermons, but just looking for you to be you. I'm not sure exactly what that means. The real me is a despicable, sinful person, full of evil, whose attempts are righteous works are merely putrid rags. Those aren't just words, I know rather well how evil and sinful I am. I do at times give an echo of sorts to Paul's words about doing what I know I should not do, and not doing what I know I should do, and realizing over and again how wretched I am, wanting to be saved from this flesh of death.

Don't be boring. Really? That's what the pregnancy of Mary is about, not being boring?

Hold faith in the story of God inside of you. What? Isn't that putting faith in the wrong thing?

But thing big thing is, at least so far, to make sure that what you say or do meets the approval of all those other people around you. Don't be boring to them, don't force your beliefs on them, don't talk about things too very much to them.

Sometimes we don't allow God to be God in those around us. That is a rather strange phrase.

There is a place for community, or rather the Church. We are told to not forsake the assembly.

She believes the story of Christ inside of each of us is more powerful and more compelling than we may realize. What is this? Faith in the story of God, the story of Christ inside of us? What about faith in God, the life of Christ in us?

Apparently, hugging etiquette among Christians in New Zealand is very complicated.

In the most disturbing part of this 'sermon', a bit before the end, she tells about giving a friend of hers, who is not a Christian, a CD of her music. The friend admits that she uses the CD in meditation that involved crystals and incense, her CD is this woman's meditation music. And this speakers response to this? "That's awesome! I love it! Because she is finding His face, she's locked the door, she's trying to get away, and in every way that she knows she's looking for a little bit of a God-moment, and she's actually looking for a spiritual peace time-out, and something I've created off the God inside of me brings peace". Much of this 'sermon' has been ridiculous, but this is blasphemy.

And here we have it, basically a waste of a sermon, exegeting pregnancy far more than anything said in the Word of God, with the topper that it is cool to practice unbiblical mediation so long as it is done with her music that was created off the God (or maybe god) inside of her. Outside of an occasional random good point, all who heard this 'sermon' basically wasted their time.

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