Saturday, January 19, 2008

Onward Christian Gardeners

...it just doesn't sound right does it? And that, I think is a large part of the problem. Many in the Christian networks I tend to mix in seem to really revel in the idea of being a warrior for Jesus, fighting off Satan and his demonic hordes with the Sword of the Spirit and War Cry prayers. Revealing, creatively and consistently, the beauty of the Kingdom of Heaven in our little sphere of influence just doesn't appear enough to capture anyone's imagination.
This whole issue has really been on my mind this week. During a break in a tub-thumping prayer meeting on Wednesday I confided in a friend my worries about the whole militaristic dimension of charismatic Christianity (worries that have become even more acute in these days of religiously-sanctioned terrorism and war). I asked him whether he thought the primary reality for the resurrection community is one of ongoing conflict with spiritual forces - punctuated with some times of rest, or, whether the primary reality is one of increasing shalom - punctuated with an occasional battle here and there. We got interrupted before he could answer!
Anyway, that very afternoon, we had the opportunity to spend an hour listening to a guy describing his decade of ministry in Burundi (central Africa, bordering Rwanda and Congo). In that hour any illusions I had of forming the 'Onward Christian Gardeners Society' utterly evaporated. I was left with the stark reality that in a large proportion of the world the only response to the prevailing evil (and I can't even repeat the evils he shared with us) is a potent faith lived out through the travail of blood, sweat and tears.
As an interesting adjunct to all this I happened to be checking out an MA course this morning. The subject notes were handed to me as I arrived, the headline: The Powers. What followed was three hours of in-depth critical engagement around the theme of Spiritual Warfare particularly centred around the trilogy of books by Walter Wink. Superb stuff. It seems that God's making a concerted effort at the moment to get through my thick head.

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2 comments:

rodneyolsen said...

Interesting post. Great food for thought. I'm going to stumble this one.

Glen Marshall said...

"Blood sweat and tears" worth pondering on what Jesus was upto while shedding those particular bodily fluids - in a nutshell triumphing over Satan by refusing to fight back.

Even when evil is at its worst shouting, snarling and punching the air for God isn't really called for. Struggle? absolutely, resistance? you bet. Bit best pattern this on Yeshua rather than Joshua.