Death, life and resurrection

Until today my lent had been mostly non-existing. I started setting goals but had no will to see through any of them. However, today something happened and just tied all the adventures of this lent season together.

Thanatos(Death)

Had a rather somber conversation with a colleague and my manger at work. We were just having a coffee but then my colleague told us her father had been diagnosed with Lung cancer. Then tears started flowing. The following are some of the exchanges, paraphrased and reorganized (C-Colleague, M-manager, S-me):

C: “It was so sudden. I always had the impression that my father is stronger and even he had been smoking for 50 years I never though it would come to this. It seems my father is this invincible figure.”

M: ”You need to be positive. He lived well, had daughters and sons and grand children that loves him.”

S: “Death and news of death are always sudden. It is this suddenness that is shocking. It is not easy.”

C: “it is as if a clock started ticking. It is as if my clock also started ticking. It is just a matter of a longer count down versus a shorter count down.”

S: “When you get pas t40 you suddenly had this sense of time being limited. Especially when you had seen one or more of your peer passing away. It just does not seem right. You reached the top and then all you see are valleys.”

M:”I am not 40 yet but close. I have sense that more the last few years since my kids are starting grade school. I felt as if my clock had started ticking too.”

C: “I am not sure whether to let him go thought the therapy because the doctors were hinting it may be a very agonizing process. I am not sure how much time will the therapy added to him. I read that the success rate is only about 15%. I am also concern what quality of life will he had with the added years. He is an active and adventurous person. It would kill him to have to stay home and do nothing.”

M: “My grandmother had throat cancer and it was hard for her because she could not eat properly and need to feed through a tube.”

C: “I wish I could do more for him.”

M: “Sure, make sure all the things you want to say to him will be said many times.”

S: “Be sure you do not wear yourself out. You may want to do a lot for him but sometimes just being there is enough. He knows what is going on and he likely just want to be with you like every other day doing all the normal things like sharing a meal. Keep yourself together; you’ll have more to face later.”

Death awoke so much in us. Death keeps our perspective real. Certainly the time we spent in front of the mirror admiring the reflection does not mean much once death’s perspective comes in. All the things we do for our body seems so inconsequential.

Later my manger told me he does not consider himself to be a Christian. He had been to church and read the Bible before but then he dropped off. He considers himself believing in “some” God. (i.e. a deities) However, he did say, “I suppose in times like this having faith is really important.”

Zoe(Life)

Sunday is the message given, Monday is the message realized.

I wish to spend more time in studying and writing because I cannot do justice to the subject by giving it less than my focused attention. This urge gets stronger as I get older because I can do less in my spare time than before. Make a living with my work is good but I wish for more as in the case of both making a living and making a contribution. Sometime when the contribution factor is not as prominent you have the feeling you are wasting your time. When your work is supposed to be your main focus or business and when the other parts stepped in too much you feel you are stepping over your boundary. It is like gossiping or you are stepping into other people’s business. Especially when you ran into some contention you ask what I have done to myself, kind of suffering for nothing. So what to do? Change career? However, I would not be total satisfied with an academic career that would be not “doing” enough. What to do?

Was listening to a message by Rob Bell and Sister Virginia. In the introduction part she explained that God had called he to take the vows of Poverty, Celibacy and Charity. ( I hope I got that right) It suddenly dawned on calling may not be a command to do some thing but a vow to continue a path that God had intended for you. It is not as much a goal to achieve but a promise to be consistent in moving towards the goal. Achieving is not everything and is mostly out of our control but the insistent that this is the path can be in our hands.

Orthodoxy(abv.:od) vs. Orthopraxy(abv:op)
I started thinking about this through the reading of Karen Armstrong. She mentioned this guy by the name of Hyam Maccoby, who mentioned that Judaism is about od not op and I quote:

“Theology is just not important in Judaism, or in any other religion, really, [except Christianity],” he said. In Judaism, “there is no orthodoxy as you have it in the Catholic Church. No complicated creeds to which everybody must subscribe. No infallible pronouncements by a pope. Nobody can tell Jews what to believe. Within reason, you can believe what you like.”

(That’s what led me to read 13 principles of faith of Maimonides)

Can we have a set of believes without the right actions? My instinct would say no but my observation would reply with a resounding yes. And is that our problem. It also brought back readings on liberation theology with the emphasis in Praxis. It would be too easy to say that real faith embraces both. That in fact is an od answer. By saying that we again affirm that we are more concern with od than op.

A real op person would not even say I agree that is why I am in Peru working with farmers.

My church TCBC is a church full of activities and programs. It is certainly OP in appearance but we are also OD. The trouble is OD is not drawn from authorized source but rather was people who have been given authority and more often than not the OD is their OD not the authorized OD. Now should I not accept their authority as God given? Of course not, same argument for the infallibility of the Pope can be applied. I think we have a false OD and a false OP both in scope and in content.

I think that is also the difference between “doing” and “being”. “Doing” can be OP or OD. :Being” is both OD and OP.

Well, that is for now, more on this later.

I have also been reading and listening to Greg Boyd. I came across his name while reading the “out of Ur” Blog: (http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur/archives/2006/03/kingdom_confusi.html). I then went to the church site and listened to his sermons. (http://www.whchurch.org/content/page_274.htm)
(4/18/2004 – Taking America Back for God?, 4/25/2004 – The Difference Between the Two Kingdoms, 5/2/2004 – Abortion: A Kingdom of God Approach, 5/2/2004 – Abortion: A Kingdom of God Approach)
I also found this bit about his book Repenting of Religion: Turning from judgment to the love of God (Baker Books) (http://www.misskathrynmarie.hostica.com/) and I quote from the review:

“Boyd states that three-quarters of the American population, or more (roughly 225 million people) are guilty of the sin of gluttony, whereas roughly two million people are guily of the sin of homosexuality. Not surprisingly, there are far more biblical admonitions against gluttony than there are against homosexuality. In fact, the number of verses is not even close.
And, he adds, if you consider gluttony to be a form of greed, which is not that big a stretch when we consider that Americans constantly overeat while much of the world goes hungry, then that further increases the number of biblical references [that apply], and further increases the dastardly nature of the crime.”

Interetsing…

Interesting church slogan: (http://www.wittenburgdoor.com/archives/church_ads.html)

Anastasis(Resurrection)

Lent is about to climax at the resurrection. This has certainly been a very strange lent season. I was thinking of spending time in reflection but I ended up reading way too much stuff: Breuggermen, Weterman, Peterson, Sanders, Wright, Barton, Moltman, Sugirtharajah, Goldingay, Alter, Ellul and the 13 principles of faith of Maimonides. (http://www.mesora.org/13principles.html) It had been tiring but it had been good.

What has resurrection has to do with all this?

Lent is really about remembering. Remembering that 2000 years ago there was this guy JC who was man and God. He died but his spirit remained. In reading and reflecting his reality became a real reality in everything we do from a casual conversation full of tears to tears flowed from reading too much small prints in dim lights. I am not where I wanted my self to be or who He wanted me to be. However, instead of saying this is not the way and thinking I should enjoy myself more, look more handsome, reward myself and just live in the now. I should remember the past and live as much in the future as in the present. (I think that is true Eschatology and not some Left behind badly written pseudo-fiction)

I had a long and winding road ahead but I am not turning back. This is the message of lent.

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