Thinking about Jesus as Rebel and as Obedient Son

One group of people see Jesus and relate to him easily as the listening and obedient son of the Father God. This is so perhaps because these people are looking for a certain kind of Jesus; a Jesus that lives a vibrant interior life with God, whose everyday life is ordered by kind supernatural interaction. What this group of people often doesn’t relate to is Jesus as the passionate rebel. At least for me, accepting Jesus as rebel sometimes seems too close to reality, too close to a kind of life where I would be held responsible for my actions; rebels are hanged if caught, I remember with a shudder.

But there is also a group of people who relate much easier to Jesus as the passionate rebel. They see him standing up for those who have no social legs to stand up for themselves, they see him overturn the tables of injustice, opting for fairness and reconciliation over individual profit. This group often finds it hard to see the usefulness of a Jesus who is a listening and obedient son; to them (and to me sometimes), it seems too escapist and far away from the reality of suffering people. To use an image of what ‘Jesus’ this group fears: Jesus alone praying on the mountain, seemingly helping nobody. This is a problematic image for this group (just as Jesus physically defending the cause of the poor people is a problematic image for the other group).

But what if Jesus were both passionate rebel and obedient son at the same time? Not only this, but what if one of these two characteristics were the essential cause of the other? Well, we will have to do some stretching because…

Jesus is the passionate rebel, pleading and defending the cause of the poor because he is the listening and obedient son.

To return to the above image, Jesus cannot bring a freeing voice to our world without going up the mountain to be with the Father God, listening to what that freeing voice is saying.

– Joel Mason

Creating Community

If you care about community, discount excuses like this:

We’re too busy
I don’t want to be intrusive
Others might want to spend time with me
There’s nobody around who cares about what I care about
My virtual community is enough
(If your circumstances really don’t allow for the development of community in your life, ask hard questions about priorities)

Be attracted especially to three kinds of people:

a) people who embody (or show signs of) the kind of whole life and wisdom that you would like to see more of in your life
b) People who are in need and open to relational helping
c) others, like yourself, who are wanting more community in their life

Create patterns and structures that involve common life (regular time together with others – don’t count on spontaneity)

Create patterns of interdependence (like tool-sharing or even car-sharing)

Practice hospitality (without questions of balance or reciprocity) & celebrate with others

Communicate vulnerability (ask for help)

Create or get involved in projects where you need to work alongside others

Ask for others to join you when making changes to live more justly with others and with the environment (or at least for their support, even if they don’t agree with how radical your steps are)

Takes risks of pushing past “normal socializing” – conventional won’t lead to unconventional results

Confront conflict in ways that show you care about the relationship and are confident the relationship will survive the conflict. Guard against letting relationships slip away because some conflict made it uncomfortable.

Find ways to increase geographical proximity – be willing to commit to relationships with people

Ask questions that initiate creative responses from your friends, especially about how to follow God in today’s world

Create community in more than one direction (example – one community focused on common Christian values, one community focused on your geographic community or local need)

written by Walter Thiessen

On Incarnation, Literature, and Justice

A good reading of narrative and image (dominant aspects of literature) leads to vulnerability and openness in the classroom, an openness to the challenge of living who you are and living who you are meant to be. It cultivates respect for the practice and art of being creative: and being creative means living and learning in a spirit of openness to God, to self (the deepest unknown internal territory), and to others.

– Margaret Anne Smith

Christmas Thoughts

In the birth of the small and vulnerable Jesus, we already celebrate by extension the crucified and resurrected Jesus, and this means something concrete regarding materialism and the luminosity of the Gospel. As his imitators, we are called to simplicity just as Jesus was. We are called to identification with those whose financial status disqualifies them from participating in the mad rush of holiday shopping, just as Jesus is. We are called, not to family-centrism, but to open our doors to those who may be crushed by loneliness, just as Jesus did.

***

What I mean is that until we find ourselves looking like Jesus at Christmas: poor, humble, and extremely open, then we have nothing to say to the culture. But have good cheer! I am convinced that we have been given a wonderful party with incredible joy waiting for us in the humility of the pennyless babe!

– Joel Mason