The beginning of the good news about Donald the Messiah

The Russians Visit the Anointed One

1 After Donald was born in Queens in New York, during the time of Hillary, Russians from the east came to Washington 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born President of the Americans? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When Hillary heard this she was disturbed, and all Washington with her.4 When she had called together all the deep state and teachers of the social justice, she asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Queens in New York,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Queens, in the land of New York,

   are by no means least among the rulers of New York;

for out of you will come a ruler

   who will shepherd my people America.’”

7 Then Hillary called the Russians secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 She sent them to Queens and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard Hillary, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, cheetos and McDonalds. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Hillary, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Mexico

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Fred in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother Mary and escape to Mexico. Stay there until I tell you, for Hillary is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Mexico,15 where he stayed until the passing of Hillary. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Mexico I called my wall.”

16 When Hillary realized that she had been outwitted by the Russians, she was furious, and he gave orders to abort all the boys in New York and its vicinity.17 Then what was said through the prophet Shapiro was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Manhattan,

   weeping and great mourning,

Lady Liberty weeping for her children

   and refusing to be comforted,

   because they are no more.”

Land and biblical theology

An excerpt from Jesus and the Land by Gary M. Burge

“Walter Brueggemann is correct when he suggests that land might be the central theme of biblical faith. “Biblical faith is the pursuit of historical belonging that includes a sense of destiny derived from such belonging.” And if this is so, he continues, land might be a way of “organizing biblical theology.” Brueggemann invites us to think carefully about (biblical) Israel’s experience with land along three trajectories: land promised, land possessed, and land lost. And in each of these categories we can discover the magnificent opportunities found in God’s grace and covenant, Israel’s historical struggles to possess this land in righteousness – to become the sort of people God intends – and the judgment that falls on Israel in the exile when all is lost.”

It makes no sense to talk of the Trinity without the Holy Spirit

I’ve noticed that discussions on the Trinity between Muslims and Christians tend to focus on God and Jesus. But it makes no sense to talk of “Trinity” without also focusing on the third person: the Holy Spirit.

In the book of Acts there is an incident where Peter, one of the apostles of Jesus, equates lying to the Holy Spirit with lying to God. Peter says, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”

Elsewhere in scripture it’s made clear that the Holy Spirit can be grieved and blasphemed against. It’s for this and many other reasons that Christians affirm the Holy Spirit is personal and relational, not merely an impersonal force or an emanation of the power of God. We believe that through the Holy Spirit, God guides us, empowers us, and sanctifies us. No discussion of the Trinity could be complete without the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus.

The Ionian Creed

Here’s an interesting paraphrasing of the Nicene Creed. It is called the Ionian Creed and is found in the Iona Abbey Worship Book

We believe in God above us,
maker and sustainer of all life,
of sun and moon, of water and earth,
of male and female.

We believe in God beside us,
Jesus Christ, the word made flesh,
born of a woman, servant of the poor,
tortured and nailed to a tree.
A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,
he died alone and forsaken.
He descended into the earth
to the place of death.
On the third day he rose from the tomb.
He ascended into heaven,
to be everywhere present throughout all ages,
and His kingdom will come on earth.

We believe in God within us,
the Holy Spirit burning with Pentecostal fire,
life-giving breath of the Church,
Spirit of healing and forgiveness,
source of all resurrection and of eternal life.
Amen

Christian ethics isn’t complicated

Christian ethics is as simple as this: love God, love others.

Everything else is commentary.

Love Others

Physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, verbal and mental abuse, these are all spoken against by Jesus and the prophets as they violate the command to love others. This command is pretty open ended too, extending even to enemies (see Matthew 5:43-48) and nonhuman others (see Proverbs 12:10). If, in your practice and teaching of Christian ethics, you forget to love others, you’ve missed the point.

Love God

The corollary to this is loving God. If even our enemies, who’ve done nothing to bless us, are to be treated in loving ways, how much more should we treat God, who’s the source of all blessing, with love and respect? When we misrepresent God, intentionally or otherwise, or try to turn God into a mascot to serve our own purposes, is that not a form of abuse too? Indeed it is, and quite a serious form of abuse when you think carefully about it. God is so foundational. Unfortunately that’s all too common, even amongst those who claim to love God. That’s missing the point too.

Just because

But there’s another way we can miss the point. If our motivation to love God and love others is based on what we get out of it ourselves, if it’s based on some sort of gaining idea, whether a desire for salvation, or even something as innocuous as a good feeling, we’ve missed the point again. True love is a giving orientation, not a gaining orientation. We’re already loved by God; we should love just because. In Christian ethics, rules should be understood within the context of relationship; our behaviour should be an extension of our beholding of God. Love without holding back, because love is what it is.

Moral Foundation Theory and the Bible

Moral foundations theory is a social psychological theory intended to explain variation in human moral reasoning. It was first proposed by the psychologists Jonathan Haidt and Jesse Graham. In more recent times it has been used to explain the differences between progressive, conservative, and libertarian views based on the different relative weights each group gives to the different moral foundations. Below I have selected verses from the Bible that correspond to each of the 6 moral foundations.

Care vs harm

Proverbs 12:10 – The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

Genesis 50:20 – You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Fairness vs cheating

Leviticus 19:15 – Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly.

Genesis 31:7 – yet your father has cheated me by changing my wages ten times. However, God has not allowed him to harm me.

Loyalty vs betrayal

1 Kings 12:20 – When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.

Proverbs 11:13 – A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

Authority vs disrespect

Leviticus 19:3 – Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.

1 Timothy 6:2 – Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers.

Purity vs degradation

Titus 1:15 – To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Liberty vs oppression

Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Deuteronomy 26:7 – Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil, and oppression