Tuesday, June 15, 2004

random notes

:: random :: notes! ::

Still some more unsystematic ideas I need to get out of my head (again!). Thanks for your patience with the stream of short ones while I’m working with others.

Language:

*Christianese* must come across to unchurched people as strange, foreign and unusual, and I'm not referring to some of the theological language the typical pew-sitter doesn't know, but simple generic Christian words. Sometimes we refer to church activities in coded, insider language, too... Thanks to Cheryl Kosits for acquainting me with "Christianese!"

Gifts of Grace, Means of Grace:

Because it's one of the technical theological terms non-church people use but sometimes with a different subtext, I use the word "grace" very cautiously. When I use the word, I try to explain grace as gift, and I frequently tell the story about Craig Dunn, my management professor in the Community Economic Development program at San Diego State University, who effectively said, "Exchange gifts!?!? Are you talking about a gift or are do you mean an economic transaction? You can't have it both ways! Either one is valid, but don't confuse the terms." To me, his exclamatory explanation makes grace as God's initiative clear, but it takes so long before anyone really gets the message. God dispenses grace in many paradoxical ways, as in eucharist and baptism, as in the word read without much inflection and sometimes haltingly preached, and in life's daily sometimes mundane exchanges and routine events. And God self-reveals most fully in the weakness and shame of the cross. Though God freely dispenses it, grace is not without cost to us, since scripture speaks of a choice and Jesus' Way not only includes but requires repentance and obedience.

Evangelical Living:

To immerse ourselves in the gospel story until it becomes our story; to spend the time and take the practice to figure out how to "relate" (to tell) the Heilsgeschichte without those familiar (to us) words, maybe by telling (relating, as in *relational*) the narrative of God's gracious activity in our own lives?! A few months ago I emailed my current faith journey to an out-of-state friend and her response was a disappointed "but it's not religious!" But it was about the people who've entered my journey and about the churches that for me have been family, friends, employers and opportunities for service. It was about "God in my life," about "God with me" at each stage of my walk. A couple days ago I commented about Advent and resurrection =together= because it so striking that each of our three ultra-major festivals of Incarnation, Resurrection and Pentecost essentially is about reassurance of God's presence with us and among us.

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