Friday, February 04, 2005

Taking this land...?

Was having a discussion with a certain young person in my ministry and he talked about one of his desire being 'to take this land and give it back to Jesus-to who it belongs'

He's a very evangelistically passionate kid, a bit too 'convert everybody at all costs' for me, but a good kid. But there was just something about that staement that really irked me, and i still can't work out exactly what it is.

I dunno, but the whole notion of taking something for Jesus has a whole lot of connotations about power and a feudal, land-owning concept of lordship that doesn't really sit with me.

I think it also invokes images of a fire-and-brimstone preachers shouting about 'winning' this land for the Lord (another concept that doesn't resonate with me). I can't work out what exactly it is, but it just makes me uncomfortable.

13 comments:

blondzila said...

I've always had a hard time understanding how the teaching of Jesus and the New Testament, as I understand it, can be reconciled with the darker, harder edged theology that is echoed in the fire-and-brimstone passion. To me it just doesn't fit.

Digger said...

Yeah I know, i just can't imagine Jesus yelling at people and scaring them into following Him.

I've been thinking a lot about how many churches try to use fear (whether they mean it or not) rather than love to talk about Jesus. You know, do this or this will happen.. Turn or burn stuff-and i'm totally not a fan.

Anonymous said...

Isnt the reason we share our faith to bring ppl to Jesus and eventualy hopefully bring everyone and therefore this land to Jesus? But if this comment was made by who I think it could have been then I am properly on the wrong track!

Steve Chatelier said...

Hey Digger,
I can understand that uncomfortable feeling you're experiencing.

It seems to me though, it is the problem that we all face - understanding, articulating and living something that is essentially spiritual, from a materialised perspective.

You're at college, so I guess you've covered anthropomorphisms?! In all our theology, expressed verbally and practically, we fall so far short of doing god justice because of our human (lack of) understanding and very restricted vocabulary and experience.

I think you are right about the whole colonialism thing here too - - it is so deeply embedded in our Western culture that we don't even realise. So again, this coloured perspective is brought to our thinking and practice.

Just to throw another one out there, I always cringe when I hear people talk and pray about how we are "so blessed to be able to worship God freely"...as though god has shown his favour to us and not to others...that we are somehow superior...

YET, in both circumstances, and in most cases, people mean well and simply don't always understand the connotations, implications. So, I reckon, your he's "a good kid" attitude is an appropriate one rather than having a dig!

Anonymous said...

hey digs, mase here.
yeh, know what ya mean, but while Jesus didn't scare people into following him, he still didn't beat around the bush or ignore the truth. For eg. when he told the story in Luke 16 about the beggar and the rich ruler, one who was in heaven, one in torment. WHen he told it, he didn't make it sound pretty or 'sweeten' it up, but somehow it seems he conveyed the same truth and message in a 'take it or leave it' way, ie. he wasn't scaring people into believing THOUGH hearing the story some people may have felt afraid. mmm, challenging thoughts. key/underlying message (as i see it): if we do stuff without love, it means nothing. (1 Cor 13?)

Digger said...

Anonymous, whoever you are, if you are going to speculate on others spirituality, can you at least please write your own name?

Digger said...

Hmm, thats an intereting one Steve-I've never really thought of that before. I guess in one sense we are lucky to be able to worship God freely-have so much money, live in such a good country etc-but should we thank God for that?

By doing so are we somehow implying that God has favoured us, and rejected others?

Thats a pretty complex story-one I don't really understand at the moment, and I'd love to look into it further.

Good call on the love thing too, its as plain and simple as that.

Marx Kernow said...

I hang out with a bunch of Koori people in the city....me as a white guy saying something like ....'to take this land and give it back to Jesus-to who it belongs' wouldnt go down to well! In response to blondzilla the most helpful way Ive found of reconciling New Testatment jesus stuff with fire and brimstone of the Old is to see most of that Old Testament stuff as a pisstake....a joke....sort of like the simspons!
much grace
marx

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