Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stuck In The Middle With You (contemporary pop song)

Hello Grafted in Readers,

Today, our visit may be a bit lengthy as I would like to share a current reflection with you by Skip Moen, and my comment to it posted on his website.

I also have some "exciting news" to share with you on the writing front!

-October will be a "banner month" for me in terms of publication opportunities. I have two separate stories appearing in two separate anthologies!

The first is titled, Living Sacrifice, from an anthology titled "Thirty-one Days of October" by Shae Hamrick and Glenda Reynolds that will be available through Amazon on or about October 1st.

The second is a Christmas Anthology titled, More Christmas Moments, #3, by Yvonne Lehman, due to be released in late October and also on Amazon. My story there is a family account titled, No Room In The Sky.

I will keep you posted about both of these works as they would make good gifts for yourself or others you know, who enjoy fiction and or reflective pieces.

Last week, I posted a concerning item here from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and its noted stance on cultural issues of the day. Related to that in the broad sense, is the following by writer Skip Moen and my comment to it.

By Skip Moen | September 27, 2016 | 1
And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” Acts 23:9 NASB
Nothing wrong – Most Christians read this story of Paul’s defense without understanding anything about its implications. That is the result of ignoring what the scribes actually say. Instead, Christians tend to read this as a justification of Paul’s faithfulness. But a closer examination reveals something rather startling. The scribes of the Pharisees actually state that in their opinion Paul remains a full-fledged Pharisee! They do not object to his declaration that Yeshua is the Messiah. They do not object to his claim that God has poured His favor out on the Gentiles. They do not denounce Paul for rejecting Torah. In fact, they state that Paul is free to believe Yeshua is the Messiah, God has called the Gentiles and Torah is still completely relevant. They agree with Paul, or at least they do not oppose Paul’s views. As far as they are concerned, Paul can go right on proclaiming the good news of the kingdom under Yeshua and remain a Pharisee. As far as they are concerned, Paul might really have had an encounter with an angel or some divine spirit and it’s OK with them.
A careful reading of this event yields two crucial conclusions. The first is that being a Pharisee does not mean rejecting Yeshua as the Messiah. In other words, the strict observance of the Mosaic revelation is not incompatible with the Messianic claims of Yeshua. That statement alone should forever settle the spurious “law vs. grace” argument. Pharisees knew that men did not earn their way to God. They had just as strong a view of the necessity of grace as any contemporary “grace only” preacher. But they also knew what God demanded—Torah.
The second conclusion is just as powerful. It is this: we do not have to agree in order to belong to the Kingdom. Certainly there were many among the Pharisees who did not accept Paul’s claim that Yeshua was the Jewish Messiah. But it didn’t matter. The important point is that it didn’t matter to them. This is not about Paul’s acceptance of those who rejected Yeshua as Messiah. This is about their acceptance of Paul’s disagreement. It’s OK for Paul to have a different view.
“Judaism is a culture of conflict. There’s an old saying in Hebrew: ‘Without debate (argument), there is no learning.’”[1] This implies tolerance for difference. In fact, it relishes disagreement as the only true way to learn. If we all agree, there is nothing more to discover. Better to have a community of differing views than enforce a uniformity of presumption. This event demonstrates the tolerance of the Pharisees toward Paul and this should cause us to ask, “How tolerant are we of those who have a different view of God’s work among me?”

1 Comment
David Russell on September 27, 2016 at 7:28 am
Hello Skip and others,
The question of tolerance comes with another question: Where do we draw the line theologically on what we will tolerate, live with?
I see the following as the “elephant in the figurative living room.”
Is it one thing to differ on our interpretation of the angelic prayer for peace on earth and good will among humankind, and another to understand LGBT issues within the confines of Judeo-Christian parlance, or God having maternal traits contrasted with being referred to as mother God or what I’ll call degendered?
Is Christianity today guilty, as some allege, of racism and sexism?
I can permit, tolerate, co-exist with you without having to buy or agree with your theological understanding and vice versa. Is there room to present my theological view in the congregation if it differs from the denominational ethic? Generally speaking, no!
I may do so privately with others but not publicly.
A culture of conflict would be a welcomed addition to Christianity today rather than a culture of conflict leading to splits and formations of groups where uniformity and peace at any price is the order of the day. Truly worth thinking about!

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence is with us always.

Mellow Roc

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