The Grace and Truth Paradox chapter 7 (pages 61-70)

This chapter is about grace. On pages 66-67 Alcorn talks about grace versus tolerance. To give grace is not the same thing as condoning something. By the way tolerance doesn’t mean condoning. Someone once told me that we tolerate the smell in an outhouse, that doesn’t mean we like the smell. Alcorn says that grace never lowers the standard of God’s holiness (page 66). the parable of the prodigal son is an example of grace (Luke 15:11-32). Also many of you know of the play and movie “Les Miserables.”
Alcorn shares a great example from C.S. Lewis: • “During a British conference on comparative religions, scholars debated what belief, if any was totally unique to the Christian faith.
• Incarnation? The gods of other religions appeared in human form. Resurrection? Other religions tell of those returning from the dead. The debate went on until C.S. Lewis wandered into the room. The scholars posed the question to him.
• ‘That’s easy,’ Lewis replied. ‘It’s grace.’
• Our Babel-building pride insists that we must work our way to God. Only the Christian faith presents God’s grace as unconditional.” (page 68 more explained on page 69: “’All religions are basically the same’? Imagine a geometry or French teacher who said to his students, ‘It doesn’t matter what answers you give on the test. All answers are basically the same.’ Hinduism’s gods are many and impersonal. Christianity’s God is one and personal. Buddhism offers no forgiveness or divine intervention. Christianity offers forgiveness and Divine intervention. In Judaism and Islam, men earn righteous status before God through doing good works. In Christianity, men gain righteousness only by confessing their unrighteousness and being covered by Christ’s merit. Every other religion is a man working his way to God. Christianity is God working His way to man.”)
Then another illustration:

• Michael Christopher’s play, The Black Angel pages 69-70:
What happens to us when we are forgiven?Christopher’s play is about a former German army general, Engel, who tried to make a new life for himself and his wife outside a little French village. He had been imprisoned for 30 years, sentenced by Nuremberg war war crimes court. He hoped that people will forget and forgive he terrible past. He built a log cabin in the near by mountains he wanted to start anew.A french journalist, Morrieu, could not forget the past. His family was massacred by the generals army. There was not a single survivor in the village. For thirty years Morrieu had planned his revenge. He said to himself: “If the Nuremberg court could not sentence General Engel To die, I will pronounce his death sentence and execute it.” He stoked the embers of hartred and fears in the mind of village radicals. and revolutionaries.They conspired to burn down the cabin in night, killing Angel and his wife. Morrieu as a journalist, had several questions for the General: why did he do it? After thirty years in prison, what did he feel know? So he proceeded to the cabin, surprised the General and his wife and spent the whole afternoon probing his past action, trying to analyze and learn the reason for the tragedy.He found the general full of regret and repentance. He was actually waiting to download his guilt to someone, He could trust. Moved, Morrieu offered to smuggle the General and his wife to safety. He disclosed to them that he villagers would atack his cabin at night and kill both of them. The general said: ” We will accompany you only on the condition; that you forgive me.” Morrieu could not forgive the general. He could save him but forgive him never! That night the villagers burnt down the cabin and shot Engel and his wife dead. The play when staged left the audience gasping for an answer…….
Do you have any thoughts about how tough grace is? Have a blessed week!

• Michael Christopher’s play, The Black Angel. Illustration pages 69-70 (copied and pastied from http://ahimsaakash.blogspot.com/2008/09/black-angel-by-michael-christopher.html
What happens to us when we are forgiven?Christopher’s play is about a former German army general, Engel, who tried to make a new life for himself and his wife outside a little French village. He had been imprisoned for 30 years, sentenced by Nuremberg war war crimes court. He hoped that people will forget and forgive he terrible past. He built a log cabin in the near by mountains he wanted to start anew.A french journalist, Morrieu, could not forget the past. His family was massacared by the generals army. There was not a single survivor in the village. For thirty years Morrieu had planned his revenge. He said to himself: “If the Nuremberg court could not sentence General Engel To die, I will pronounce his death sentence and execute it.” He stoked the embers of hartred and fears in the mind of village radicals. and revolutionaries.They conspire to burn down the cabin in night, killing Angel and his wife. Morrieu as a journalist, had several question for the General: why did he do it? After thirty years in prison, what did he feel know? So he proceede to the cabin, surprised the General and his wife and spent the whole afternoon probinghis past action, trying to analyze and learn the reason for the tragedy.He found the general full of regret and repentance. He was actually waiting to download his guilt to someone, He could trust. Moved, Morrieu offered to smuggle the General and his wife to safety. He disclosed to them that he vilagers would atack his cabin at night and kill both of them. The general said: ” We will accompany you only on the condition; that you forgive me.” Morrieu could not forgive the general. He could save him but forgive him never! That night the villagers burnt down the cabin and shot Engel and his wife dead. The play when staged left the audience gasping for an answer…….

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I read this last week by Pastor Rick Sams and thought it worth posting:

SPORTS PROS AND CONS by Pastor Rick Sams
It’s been called the biggest upset of the Olympic games so far, compared to Tyson Gay outrunning Usain Bolt in the 100 meters (That did NOT happen). But US pole vaulter, Jenn Suhr, did soar to beat the perennial favorite, Russia’s two-time gold medalist Elena Isinbaeva.
I was disappointed former gold medal decathlete, Dan O’Brien, now a commentator, only gave a lite analysis of her win. When I complained to my wife how much more detailed he could have been, O’Brien being a former vaulter, she shot back: “But only old pole vaulters (me) would be interested in that. “ I just wish she wouldn’t have emphasized the “OLD.”
I have also been disappointed NBC hasn’t shown any Olympic basketball yet on regular TV (I don’t have cable). So I missed the famous cheap shot Argentinean player, Facundo Campazzo, gave Carmello Anthony. This nonsense only reinforces the negative stereotypes athletes often get (deserve?). The constant applause given to double amputee Olympian, Oscar Pistorius, and his endurance through hardship, shows some of the great values sports teaches.
Pastors are in a delicate spot when it comes to sports. Many of us have played them, love them, and watch them regularly (I’ve heard stats 90% of America does one of those each day). We see the good things they accomplish; teamwork, character from learning how to lose, hard work, sharing, and thinking of others instead of just yourself.
But we also see the negatives—SO many absences from church, even for the youngest athletes, because parents are sure sports are doing more for their kids than church (or Christ?). SURELY all these kids will land lucrative scholarships (the stats on this are bleak). Then there are the cheap shots, the selfish “me first, me only, and it’s all about me” attitudes that permeate the sporting world from the pros down to the littlest Little League.
So what are we to do?
First we all need to admit sports are neutral, like many other things (money, guns). It’s what we DO with them that makes them good or bad; able to redeem or wreck a life.
So how do we redeem them since they are here to stay?
Second, we should constantly teach the real-life stories of grace, selflessness and true sportsmanship to our young athletes as coaches AND parents. When gold-medalist Kirani James, of tiny Grenada, met South African amputee, Oscar Pistorius, on the track after Pistorius didn’t even place to trade numbers and hugs that was huge. When hurdlers from other countries helped 2004 gold medalist, Liu Xiang, off the track, consoling and hugging him after his Achille’s tore in a nearly identical scene as the 2008 Beijing games, that is more than a Kodak moment. It’s teaching time. When US Olypmian and gold medalist, Kerri Strug, sticks her vault in the ’96 Olympics to claim the team gold on a bad ankle, forgetting the fact it could (and did) cost her her entire athletic career…priceless!
We also need to highlight what happens on lower levels, like when the 2011 Ohio High School State 1600 meter winner, Meghan Vogel, running her second race of the day, ran out of gas. The junior from West Liberty-Salem High School stooped to help Arden McGrath who was clearly going to finish last. Instead of running past her to avoid that embarrassment herself, Vogel nearly dragged McGrath to the finish line, pushing her across ahead of her so McGrath would not finish last. Awe-inspiring, breath-taking and tear inducing, even from our youth.*
Why can’t we, as parents or coaches, “redeem the time for the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16) by using the incredible amounts of time we spend with kids in the car traveling to sporting events to do Bible stories or other character lessons like these? If you truly care what they are missing at church you will. How about using the time on the sidelines with other parents to teach positive things to them about sportsmanship instead of reinforcing all the bad stereotypes yourself?

(*”True Value Of High School Athletics,” Alliance Review, 6/18/12)

just read

 

I read the blog below about “mommy porn.” This was on Josh Harris’ blog. Below you will also find an interesting article in the replies to my previous blog. I have pasted this below but it can be found here:

http://www.joshharris.com/2012/07/mommy_porn_is_no_better_than_d.php

I appreciate Christian blogger Melissa Jenna’s strong challenge to fellow sisters-in-Christ about the the acceptance of so called “Mommy Porn”–specifically, the best-selling erotic novel “50 Shades of Grey” and the male-stripper themed movie “Magic Mike.” Melissa shares her surprise at how “completely accepting” Christian culture is to both of these works. “I’ve read a few dozen different updates from Christian women regarding 50 Shades and Magic Mike, and the verdict? They love them. I mean they really looooove them. They can’t stop talking about them.”

She makes the point that women/moms lusting is no better or acceptable to God than men/dads lusting. “To gain another perspective,” she writes, “imagine your husband (or father/brother/church leader) going around bragging about how much he loved reading last month’s Playboy magazine, or rallying all of his guy friends to go see “Magic Meghan” for the third time. If our husbands were drooling over a movie about female strippers, we would be livid. It wouldn’t be tolerated. Church leaders would be publicly denouncing men’s sudden acceptance of pornography and erotic films. (Why aren’t church leaders publicly denouncing 50 Shades or Magic Mike, by the way?)”

Melissa goes on to state, “Christian women need to reject both of these works, and instead, use our voices in support of what is good, right and true. It is our responsibility, as daughters of the Heavenly King, to remain set-apart from the poisons of our culture, to rebuke temptation, and to celebrate and honor righteousness.”

Melissa, thanks for speaking up on this. You’re not uncool, you’re “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” (Matt. 5:6). Don’t be surprised if you’re persecuted and ridiculed as a result. I know the Lord is pleased.