Secret Message

I just finished reading The Secret Message of Jesus. This is an outstanding book; I’ve read several of McLaren’s books and have liked every one of them; for the most part his thought rings very true to me. In Secret Message the author makes the point that the teachings of Jesus were and are about living in the present, not just about getting to heaven when you die. He relates the teachings of Jesus to the political situation at the time and extends them into our own time. The key is the “Kingdom of God” which is something Jesus frequently spoke about. Our task as His followers is to implement the Kingdom right here right now by practicing the things Jesus taught such as feeding the poor, forgiving others, going the extra mile etc. Yes, the world would be radically different and better if more people practiced the Kingdom of God. In the appendix to the book he asks “Why Didn’t we get it sooner?” Here he discusses how the church got hung up in politics, especially after Constantine and also hung up on doctrine and philosophy rather than practice. He makes some good points here, but I think that at least some in the Church have always been aware of the Secret Message: a good example from the early medieval period would be St Francis. But it is true that the church has often tended to emphasize other things at the expense of the Secret Message.

There are discussion questions at the end of the book. I think I may use these questions as writing prompts for the blog (unless I allow slothfulness to overtake me). This book would make a really good one for a discussion group, but I suspect that the book would not be well received in my church. I may ask the people in my Bible study group if they are familiar with McLaren to see what sort of reaction I get.

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Seven Dealy Sins Quiz

Sweetous and I went to a potluck dinner with people from church at John’s house this evening. We had a good time, and will start having study group again in a couple weeks. So, now I am checking relaxing on my computer before bed. I sometimes say that I am an “expert sinner”. Being as old as I am, I’ve had lots of practice. The Seven Deadly Sins provides an interesting framework for analyzing all sorts of human behavior. Many things we would usually think of as “good” are actually not so good. An example would be Capitalism. Most people think of Capitalism as a good thing, and to be honest; one must aknowledge that we get many benefits from it. However, Capitalism is all about accumulating wealth; which is greed. Greed is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

So, this evening I saw a quiz to find my favorite sin. I usually think it would be Lust, or Wrath because I tend to be very impatient and I can’t keep my eyes off the women. According to this quiz…

I am a SLACKER !

Greed: Medium

Gluttony: Medium

Wrath: Low

Sloth: Medium

Envy: Low

Lust: Low

Pride: Very Low

Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

pondering wrath… mind has been wandering and pondering about the wrath of God, these are just some thoughts. One often hears about God’s wrath, the Calvinists seem to really dwell on it. Well, of course God is not to be trifled with, he is indeed an Awsome God. The Bible speaks about God’s wrath.

An oracle concerning Nin’eveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh. The LORD is a jealous God and avenging, the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and of great might, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty….Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him.

Wrath is also one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Seems there is some sort of paradox here, which I will ponder.

Seems to me that a person who is wrathful, would not be able to hurt the object of his wrath enough. This seems to me to be the essence of wrath: it is insatiable, cannot be satisfied ! The one who is wrathful will be in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction, in effect he is custom building his very own hell. Seems to me, that God will not permit himself to be in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction. God is perfect, and to be in a state perpetual disatisfaction would not be perfect. Seems to me that He must find a way out of that dilema. Perhaps he absorbed and disipated his own wrath into himself. God accomplished our salvation through his Incarnation, death, and ressurection. Perhaps one aspect of this Atonement is that God directed his own wrath into himself when Jesus died on the cross. He absorbed it and it was disipated. I’m not sure if my thinking is correct here or not, I will read and ponder this.