Let’s Write a Book Together (You can help with your suggestions)

Let’s write a book and get it on the Christian Service Best-Seller list.

The working title:  How To Minister Among The Poor With Jesus.

Chapter Headings (topics the book will explore)

  • Bearing The Image of God
  • Worship
  • Getting Past Our Contempt
  • The Role of the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus As A Model
  • Jesus’s Words As Directives
  • Unlearning Broken Ideas

 

Okay.  There’s a start… the seeds.

Now I invite you, the blog readers, to criticize it.

What to change?  What to keep as it is?  What to get rid of?  What to add to it?  What order should we rearrange?

It’s all fair game.

Please, be my consultants.

 

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29 comments

  1. Agent X · April 12

    This comment sent in anonymously:

    The Impact of John Calvin and Predestination on ministry to the Cursed – Chapter
    Modern Ethos of the Poor as Cursed – Chapter
    The Impact of the Constancy of the Poor “What’s the Use” – Chapter
    The Impact of the Master-Apprentice Abuse on Unemployment/homelessness- Chapter
    The Impact of Farm Land Takeaways and displaced/unemployed farmers – Chapter
    The False Impression the Down and Out – Don’t Want Work -Chapte

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    • Agent X · April 12

      I am reasonably sure this critical input from the anonymous source has in mind dealing with the topics found recently in a paper posted on anothers blog dealing with these things. The paper was very informal, not well done at all, actually. Even the author said as much by the end. However, it makes a very interesting rough draft that could/should be developed further. I would concur with that much – definitely.

      You can find the original post here:

      http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/17/151118/752

      and in fact, I will see about reblogging it on this blog.

      Thanx for the input.

      Like

    • Agent X · April 13

      Another comment from the anonymous commentator:

      Greetings,
      I first encountered study of Calvin/predestination and their impact upon the thinking on the New England Christians under the leadership of Richard T. Hughes back at Southwest Missouri State University circa 1977.
      I think in fact he mentioned the disenfranchised (modern nomenclature) were under the bale of predestination as the “damned”. After all there were only two groups “the saved” and “the damned”.
      With that in mind two things are powerfully true.
      1. You will find a very formal discussion of Calvin etal in the writings of Richard T. Hughes. He is a potent scholar.
      2. It could be useful to reconsider street ministry, yea even ministry to the LGBTQ folk as “Ministry to the Damned”! Albeit I am sure those folks will reject being called that. Nevertheless that term better reflects the ethos of the mainline church/Christians and their adverse or aloofness toward this broad, fuzzy category of folks who are still treated as lost and virtually unredeemable therefore basically unworthy of evangelistic efforts and minimal or marginal material resources.
      Last these thoughts study and presentation may not fit well on bumper sticker blogs. Nevertheless careful thinking suggests there is power in going to this place of pain and shame. BTW I see it as undergirding my own continuing efforts on behalf of the LBGTQ folks with the same gospel as was preached at Corinth.
      I offer these words to say my suggestions for Chapters in your “Book” are not offered as some offhand remark or merely some informal suggestions.
      Blessings
      Keep up the ministry to the lost … the Great Physician did not come for the “healthy” Jesus said… so you’re doing his work. Hallelujah

      Like

      • Agent X · April 13

        As I see it:

        Your interest in Calvinism’s influence on current disregard for the poor interests me too. I don’t know a lot about Calvinism beyond the belief in a stern predestination – applied in modern times to individual believers as whether they will go to heaven or hell when they die and how that it is unalterable. I have no doubt that applied as such, it was a mistake. And as I see it, most of modern/post-modern, American Christianity of the last 50 – 100 years has rejected “predestination” along these lines exactly. I don’t know a single Protestant, much less a whole group, who believes that now.

        That said, there is still plenty of cause to think that this old dusty view of God and faith still has it’s influences (especially regarding the poor and so forth), thus the informal paper struck a nerve with me too.

        Calvinism, in fact, is so belittled in my experience that it only got passing mention in my studies in the academy, and even then it was practically made fun of… as if it were ridiculous and indefensible today. A joke, basically, a joke that people used to take seriously, but now we ALL just KNOW better!

        But N.T. Wright, in recent years has begun to rehabilitate Calvinism for me (what little I know). And the thing Calvinism has going for it is a profound respect for the Sovereignty of God. Where as we modern/post-modern Protestants of the last 50 – 100 years all embrace St. Augustine’s Free Will Theodicy, Calvinism embraced God’s Sovereignty, and I personally think that is lacking today… the embrace, not the sovereignty.

        Point being, even with negative influence still felt by this otherwise rehabilitated way of viewing God and life, it is all very complicated stuff. Does it have bearing? Yes. I think so. But a HOW TO book is probably to simple for it all.

        Suffice it to say, we have contempt for the poor. There is no doubt Calvinism helped to influence it, but it is unlikely very many people whose contempt I would want to confront would be willing or able to cope with unraveling these behind-the-scenes influences on their thinking.

        I guess I wonder if there is a way to simplify the gist of the point for the purposes of THIS book. And I imagine it would be subsumed in the chapter on getting past contempt. I can imagine it having footnotes that would send those insightful readers looking for more depth in that direction, but I don’t see this book being scholarly really. I imagine it being more a manual for guiding ministry among the poor that would counteract the garbage put forth in When Helping Hurts and similar books that likewise use a lot of complexity to negate rather simple directives and examples from Jesus and the early church.

        I just took the Seeking Shalom class that spent a disproportionate amount of time and energy exploring “the causes of poverty”. I don’t mean to say there is NO value in such a study, but I think in this case it amounted to making a complex smokescreen behind which we can hide our contempt for the poor. We wound up theorizing that giving the poor goods, services, and/or money disempowered them/enabled them and a lot of stuff like that that Jesus never says. And the mantra/slogan it all boiled down to was “Stop Meeting Needs; Start Seeking Shalom”. An idea you definitely don’t find in Jesus!

        Jesus sought Shalom by/through meeting needs!

        But in the hands of these clowns, that idea got thoroughly hijacked with a lot of complexity that was not even necessary for a class such as the one we were taking.

        So, I would want to temper that problem in this book.

        btw…

        I AM NOT REJECTING your point by saying this. But I hope to shape it so that it fits the scope I am looking for in reaching the Bible class and the people therein that I was just among. That is an idea that drives my suggestion for writing a book to begin with…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. T. F. Thompson · April 12

    I see nothing to argue with your resolution. Either you do it or owe up to it and say you will NOT do it. How you justify that as a Christian, I have no idea. Among other things, Jesus was a straight shooter and called the cards for exactly what they were. No, we do NOT like poor: we hate them mostly which is why we moved them to where we can’t see them. The same is true with prisoners. Out of sight…out of mind. The temple leaders of the day were identical. They were way up their in the temple and didn’t want to be contaminated or defiled by the lowly masses. Today, they are not the masses, but still in numbers enough where we want our distance. Yes, we love and pray for them up in heaven but not here on earth.

    I ask only this: let the good Christians give up what they pay for their stupid smart phones to pay for the poor. They are to forfeit their lives, but no, they won’t even give up their stupid phones that run about $200 a month for a family. So you see, the life of one person is not even worth the price of a crummy cell phone, much less the sacrifice of their life. When it comes to snakes and vipers, we are in GOOD company for all we need to do to meet them is look at us: each other. And I say, call a spade a spade. Here at the Gates of Eden no one is worthy to enter except those of whom we despise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. T. F. Thompson · April 12

    Reblogged this on Hard Times Ministries.

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  4. This is a great start. Not sure how collaborative you want this book to be. There are different approaches with a single author to multiple authors with an overall editor etc. Do you have a sense of the direction. If you want multiple authors, there are some tools that can help facilitate that effort.

    One topic that we may want to pursue is what I would call “Poverty as a lifestyle choice”. Or something like that. There are those who choose to be poor, in support of the mission of Jesus. Is it just something that happens or do we have a certain level of obligation to live that way?

    Be blessed!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agent X · April 12

      To be forthright, the post was a lark. I do not plan to actually write the book. I really want the feedback on it though. And if it gets enough steam, I might think about it more seriously.

      At the moment, the post is really taking off. Getting some hits and some feedback. I am loving the ideas. Perhaps there is something here to work with for real???

      At the moment, let’s just roll with the feedback and see where it goes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ha! Call me gullible! 🙂

        Be blessed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am writing my book now and know nothing about being able to help you. I gave you my thoughts and I hope you took me seriously because I am a straight shooter. If you want feedback from me on a specific subject just tell me on the Reader, if not God Bless you and do it! I am been obedient. If it is from God you must write it. Mine is a call from Him

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Humility and Joy in Giving.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Do without to give!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. as a Silly Example, it just hurts to give someone my favorite shirt but, that is giving!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Agent X · April 12

    I have written several unpublished books over the last decade. A couple of them I would like to move forward with publishing with traditional publishing.

    When it comes to this topic, I have a hard time thinking another book of this kind will be particularly helpful, and I don’t want to see it join the ranks of When Helping Hurts and such books. I would rather write a challenge to that book. But I have my hands full with other things these days.

    That said…

    I might be persuaded to pursue it, especially if this post helps develop the idea seriously.

    On the other hand, I am cool with someone else taking this book and writing it. There is no reason it has to be me. If I write it, I will not put my name on it anyway. So it may as well be you… or you… or you.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have no idea why God opened the door for me but I understand I must obey.If all goes well, I will have to put my name most likely because is a testimony of God’s love and Grace. I am writing it, she will when I am done put it together I guess. She is a wonderful gentle but strong woman.

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  10. LL I am not a writer, I am just a simple woman with a story, a serious story to tell and I hope when done 5 years from now, LOL will help others and give hope to some. That is all I ask.

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  11. I cannot find a Teply box for your new post so, I just want to let you know that, I do not believe in predestination.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Debi · April 14

    I am not a writer, and yet I write sometimes. I have, however, been an editor in a past life.

    I would re-order as shown:

    Poverty as a lifestyle choice (what about those who “choose” to be poor (NOT to minister to the poor?”)

    Getting Past Our Contempt (or this could be 1st)

    Unlearning Broken Ideas

    Bearing The Image of God; Jesus As A Model; Jesus’ Words As Directives
    (these 3 sound kind of the same to me, unless I’m off on a completely different tangent than you)

    The Role of the Holy Spirit (or this could be 1st or 2nd)

    Worship (how to do it; what to include; what to exclude)

    Poverty as a lifestyle choice (addressing those as suggested above – the ones who become poor one way or another in order to minister to the poor)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agent X · April 14

      I am so glad you responded with this. Maybe I only fantasized this kind of response, but yours is very near the voice in my head talking to me.

      Like you, I think about challenging contempt first.

      It makes sense. If contempt is there needing to be addressed, and I think it is, then there is no point starting anywhere else. In fact, I have been reflecting on how obvious contempt is, yet how overtly addressing it is missing from the books and seminars I have looked into. We just accept that it is not our problem, but that is probably denial. I began thinking how appropriate it would have been to address it, and how it would sound, if it had been, coming from the professionals who produce those books and seminars etc. I think it could have been done, should have been done, and been done a lot more charitably than I am apt to do it.

      I like the way you subsume Jesus as model and Jesus’ directives etc under bearing the image. That shows me you are thinking about this critically. And I can see that all being part of the same chapter too.

      Thanx for this. You put some real pep in my step with this!! This is blogging!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. laceduplutheran · April 16

    How about starting with God as the center and work your way out. I’m specifically talking about the order of the chapters. Start with God as the foundation, then move to the problems we have and then how to deal with them (or rather how God works through us to change us and deal with the “problems.”

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    • Agent X · April 16

      Excellent point. I like it. Will do some thinking along this line… Would love for you to offer a list of chapter headings and order them the way you think… and maybe even give a sentence description of each etc… (If you care to invest that much time and thought into it) Would love to shape this up with your help…

      Liked by 1 person

      • laceduplutheran · April 16

        How about this:
        1. Intro – start with some stories/a story of one individual that you could follow through the book. Stories are what will keep people. Ultimately, the book is about the humanity of the people that so many people miss seeing. The poor/homeless end up being a project or a mission or something else – a means to an end, rather than people. I envision this being the purpose of the book.
        2. Bearing The Image of God the Father – The Father is the Creator. I imagine this chapter would talk about the Imago Dei and how this relates to the poor and homeless also being in the image of God, not just those who have resources. This would relate to the idea that everyone has value – it’s a matter of tapping into the value of each person. They may not even realize their own value.
        3. Jesus As A Model. There’s a ton here. You could talk about Jesus commands, his ministry of spending time with the outcasts of society. It stems first from his relationship with the Father. If we are followers of Jesus, then it is important for us to see what Jesus did. There is plenty of scripture to pull from on this.
        4 – Follower of Jesus or following Jesus? This moves us from Jesus as just a model to what it means to actually follow Jesus and what he commands us to do. It moves us from just wanting the label of Christian to actually living it out. I could see a focus on Jesus call to many people to “Follow me” as he says. He didn’t say, “memorize the right theology.”
        5 – The Role of the Holy Spirit. The “third” person of the Trinity. What is the Spirit and how does the Spirit act? I envision this being like what Acts is to Luke – the continuation of the story. This sets us up to move outward to how this relates to us today.
        6 – Worship – Great stuff here. I envision talking about the Ordo – the order of the liturgy. I come from a more liturgical background, so excuse me if I love this section. First you could talk about what liturgy is – “the work of the people.” Then you could talk about the four parts of the liturgy – gathering together, hearing and talking about the Word, sharing the meal, and being sent. This sets you right up for understanding the next chapter…
        7 – Who is serving who? Several topics to consider here – what is service and why do we do it? If you are doing for selfies to post on Facebook only, then you aren’t really serving someone. If you are doing it to accompany people on their journey of life, then you are also being served. There is room to talk again about the value inherit in people and how they can be a blessing to us also. I know you don’t like When Helping Hurts, but there is one section in the book that I think has value – the idea that we all have broken relationships with God, it’s just a matter of what relationships are broken.
        8 – Unlearning Broken Ideas. I envision this chapter being on unlearning the really bad stereotypes that exist around poverty and homelessness. Here there is room for plenty of stories of people who shatter the stereo types.
        9 – Getting Past Our Contempt. This seems to be a continuation of the previous chapter. The last chapter maybe is more focused on our thoughts and this chapter might be more focused on our actions.
        10 – Uncomfortable and inconvenienced. Maybe this turns into some kind of practical application/concluding chapter. Maybe something like acknowledging poverty and homelessness in the reader’s area, and some initial steps to do something about it. Who can be helpful. I think people will want to do something after reading the rest. That’s the idea anyway. Make people uncomfortable and inconvenienced enough to get up and get moving. It’s the idea that we can’t keep driving past all this and claim to be a follower of Jesus and just keep driving. What we claim to believe should make us so uncomfortable and inconvenienced that we must respond – we are compelled to.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Agent X · April 18

        Wow!

        My first reaction is Wow! I think I need your input for this alright. First off… Thanx for caring enough to respond as thoughtfully as this.

        Then… after that… let me try to engage your offering here bit by bit. Will probably take me a while. Lots here to think about. Try some on, look it over… try some other… come back to the first, weigh it out…

        And to all others watching/reading here… feel free to jump in… If it gets too chaotic, its okay to step back. But this post seems to be entertaining quite a lot of traffic. I presume that means the interest level is both hi and (based on some of the comments) deep. So, let’s push this and see where it gets.

        Also, I think that since I originally posted the idea, that it’s my book… but not necessarily. As I stated before, I originally posted this on a lark. Kinda see if it gets a bite… and it has… But honestly, my readers are welcome to make it theirs, if the interest level is that high. Just please let us know…

        Okay… Lets get into this…

        For now I will respond to point 1/Intro.

        Stories. Always a good idea. I agree. The only thing… as soon as I say I wanna write one, I go blank. If I have one to tell, I can just tell it, but in this project, I have a project to write and want to support it with stories. But at the moment I don’t have them.

        Should I uses stories I have told here before? Get entirely new ones? Should they be mine? Or someone elses? Should I feature my own experience as the focus and let the substories of others come in and out along the way?

        Sorry, I sense complications in this, and maybe they aren’t really there, but I sense them.

        That said, I agree. Stories will draw people in and hold their attention… get them invested at deeper levels. I can imagine that a good story at the opening 0f the book would be a good hook. I never forget Tony Campolo’s book, The Kingdom of God is a Party. The whole first chapter is a story about throwing a birthday party for a hooker in the middle of the night. That chapter is the most memorable part of the book and well worth the price. In fact, I have some, but little, use for the rest of the book! That story is the guts n glory of the book.

        I know that for my own purposes, I would like to keep this project at about the same caliber as Campolo’s. A pop Christian/Christian-living book. I don’t want to write a scholarly book. I would prefer to keep footnotes at 5 or less per chapter. I don’t want to argue extensive philosophy/doctrine and so forth, and stories will fit in that realm just fine.

        And I like your idea of starting the book with a story (moving a story to the opening), but I think the chapters need to reflect the logical outline (road map) of the book, and I sense that I should start the writing of that first. If that is right, then I should probably write the story/ies after I get the clear outline established – or at least started.

        I will come back to respond to other points as time and thought allow. Please feel free to respond to this response in the meantime.

        All are welcome to respond. I just ask that you give it the heading “point 1/Intro” so that I know where we are in this cumbersome conversation.

        Thanx

        X

        Liked by 1 person

  14. laceduplutheran · April 20

    Point 1/Intro

    Ok. Here’s my feedback. Stories. Use what you have already written. There’s not need to come up with new stories. The stories you tell are what keep people coming back. You can add new ones, but you don’t have to recreate the wheel. And they are your stories if you are telling them.

    As for the layout of the book. You have a couple of options – but you just need to decide and be consistent. You could decide on the theme and then plug stories in to meet that theme or you could take your best stories and match up themes to those stories. But kind of like the Gospels, there is another option – to have one overarching story. Something that you keep touching on throughout the book, with other stories and points to be made in the midst of the overarching story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · April 28

      Sorry to take so long getting back to you… but picking up where we left off…

      2. Bearing the Image of God

      Image bearing theology is what I am all about. I find this lens brings so much Bible into focus as to be indispensable on the one hand and almost all you need on the other. It is so important, and yet as I grew up in the faith, it was almost entirely neglected.

      I do not have this concept exhausted to suit myself even yet, but I have a number of foundational observations that begin expanding the imagination beyond imagining and do it quite rapidly.

      For starts, God created the humans to bear his image and thus/thereby rule the world. He made them male and female in the image of God and gave them dominion and rule. Right off, this is sexual in nature. Ever have good sex? I mean really, really good sex???

      Look, I don’t want to pry, so keep your answer to yourself and don’t openly divulge all your intimate secrets with your lover, but consider it carefully. This is what God made the first man and woman for – to bear his image in their male/femaleness together.

      The image of God is not limited to sex, but I think it is probably fair to say that even in the ways he is imaged otherwise, sex seems to inform those ways of imaging him as well.

      Consider this: Sex is a celebration of your love with you lover. The touching, caressing, kissing, and unmentionables are all a show of celebration for your lover. They are shared in vulnerability and trust. When you come to this celebration, you come naked and vulnerable sharing your vulnerability and risking great shame but finding trust.

      So let me ask again : have you ever had really, really good sex?

      I bet you have. But did your sex move mountains?

      I bet it was pretty good, but I doubt the mountains moved. But biblically speaking, that is the kind of sex you were made for. Really. Look at Isaiah deal with the image of God saying that mountains bow down, valleys stand at attention, and the crooked places straighten out at the sight of our God! And the Gospels quote that passage and frame Jesus with those remarks! When the creation sees God in us, it responds in truly remarkable ways! And we bear the image in our sex… in our celebration(s).

      Okay… talk to me about worship now. Do we not celebrate God with our worship?

      And Jesus is the bridegroom coming for his bride (the church) and the worship between them is something approximating the sex of the first man and woman who thus rule the world!

      All of this is part of the business of image bearing theology. It is not negated at all by what I say next, but we need to explore just how it informs it actually.

      Because Jesus makes some interesting claims for himself along the way such as… Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst… Hmmm… sounds like you could see Jesus in them! The image of people gathering in his name is his image!

      But where it really comes home to roost for our book is when Jesus images himself as the least of these brothers and sisters in Matt 25 and when he has us party with the poor in Luke 14. Image and celebration come rushing together with the poor in these passages, and both image and celebration are related deeply as we already saw!

      If I am writing a book on ministry to the poor, this theology will need unpacked in this chapter.

      for starts…

      Liked by 1 person

      • laceduplutheran · May 1

        Great stuff. I would add a few points to what you have written. 1. America is prudish, so any talk about sex, in a healthy way, is going to be uncomfortable. Yet somehow, when it is portrayed in entertainment, we have no problem with it. Maybe because it’s the difference between the question and action being directed at others versus ourselves. Sex, ultimately, is an act of complete vulnerability. 2. Sex is also a continuation of the creation process that God started. 3. Being in the image of God goes beyond just the physical appearance. This is where it gets really difficult. If someone is missing a limb at birth, are they in the image of God. We would probably say yes, but that means that image of God goes beyond just physical appearance. What about those that are capable of producing offspring – continuing the creation process. Of course. But what about those who can’t? We would probably argue that they are still in the image of God. What about mental abilities. Sure. But what about those that have limited mental capabilities. I am willing to bet that we would argue that they are still in the image of God. So it goes beyond mental abilities too. Imago Dei is complex and that’s not a bad thing. It’s expansive, just like God. It’s tough to get a finger on it – in other words – it goes beyond our control. God is beyond our control. And who God wants in God’s kingdom goes beyond our control too. From here, you can see how the poor also fit into God’s kingdom as well.

        You may want to be careful with the idea of ruling the world. Remember, there are two creation stories. And going back to the Hebrew is going to be important on this. In the first creation story, the writer is making an human centered story – humanity is the height of creation, and has a high anthropology, hence the idea of ruling and subduing. When I read this, I also see an element of stewardship.

        The other creation story is a bit different – not the element of creating over “days” but rather a focus on community and stewardship.

        It is also important to remember that while we think of humanity as the height of creation, we forget that the seventh day is the key. It is what will guide the writers of other books – always looping back to the Sabbath. Jesus gets into trouble over the Sabbath. We are told in Mark 3 that Jesus heals the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath and the Pharisees and the Herodians conspired together against him on how to destroy him. That’s in ch. 3, right at the beginning of the Gospel. This has to do with the creation story – who is in the image of God and what that means and what Sabbath means. Jesus even describes himself as the Lord of the Sabbath and that Sabbath was made for humanity, not humanity for Sabbath.

        There’s lots of great stuff in this. The question will be, what is the main point – you don’t want to wander all over the place. I do think all the subjects touched on relate, but they need to be tied up a bit neater.

        Good Start!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agent X · May 7

        Brief feedback here on Matthew’s latest:

        I concur with your observation that there is more to image bearing than I have offered here. I think I could actually write a whole book on just that alone. Not only do I think I could write that book, but I sense it is likely that in all that I would write, there would be enough material I did not imagine that should have gone into it to fill a second vol. and maybe even a third!

        I expect, since you bring it up that others will want some attention given to it as well, that dealing with things like missing body parts while bearing the image may need some honorable mention. However, in a book that is meant to deal with homelessness and ministry to and through homelessness, I sense that some of that is wider latitude than focus for the thesis.

        I would like to respond with a thought shaping notion to that though. And this has a lot to do with sex too, btw… Jesus is the bridegroom the his bride, the church. Worship of this groom is spiritually sexual and/or sexually spiritual. I don’t have that all ironed out for myself, but it is clear to me that such is the image of God from Genesis 1, and there is nothing dirty or sinful about it. Prudishness, which is actually more and more lacking these days, is a reaction to the power of sexual sin.

        There is a covenant, a holy commitment, based on exclusivity and the Oneness of God, of vulnerability and trust along with the passionate excitement of throbbing sexual joy somehow captured in our corporate worship of our Messiah. We see now as through a mirror darkly, but somehow its all in there. AND it is corporate. I might be missing a hand, but in THE BODY, I might be more a foot actually anyway. The body is not complete without all it’s parts connected the way God designed them. I bring my broken part to his will, and he stitches me in where he wills to his glory and again, I see as in a mirror darkly.

        Some of this may not really make it through the editing processes to the book at hand. Especially since I really don’t WANT to write a scholarly work, but something for popular consumption. Not ill informed, of course, but I don’t think I need to iron out every wrinkle either.

        However, if you or another ultilimately write this book, you may wind up taking it to that next level. And that is fine with me. I am not against you doing that. However, as far as my involvement goes, I aim a little more humble at a little more humble readers. Still want to challenge them too, but not with ironing out every wrinkle.

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  15. Agent X · May 7

    In continuation of this conversation, I now respond to Matthew’s point #3 where he says:

    3. Jesus As A Model. There’s a ton here. You could talk about Jesus commands, his ministry of spending time with the outcasts of society. It stems first from his relationship with the Father. If we are followers of Jesus, then it is important for us to see what Jesus did. There is plenty of scripture to pull from on this.

    Yes, there is a ton here.
    and actually, since you arranged these chapters in this particular order, I am inclined, at the moment, to build on the notion of Jesus as image bearer/groom to whom the church is married. He is our lover, at that level, and our worship of him makes the world right! There are sexual intimacies that I cannot clearly make out in the mirror darkly, but there are a number of things about worship that I can clearly say, not the least of which is that Jesus likes to party! And a wedding is a party! And at the wedding/party, we feast at the king’s table. And this has a lot to do with Eucharist, which in turn echoes off the Tree of Life vs. the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil.

    Okay… let me slow down right there.

    For the sake of THIS book with its focus on homeless ministry and simplifying, where we can, a lot of complex theology, when I speak of echoes with these trees, I do not mean to bog down in that theology per se but to point out the connection in the web work of biblical theology. These things actually correspond, yet that correspondence is generally overlooked. It’s obvious as the nose on your face, but like a fish in water that doesn’t see the water, we tend to miss it.

    The point, then, of noting this connection, at least in my mind, is it lends weight to the otherwise overly simplistic idea that a party is missional, healing, and the point of it all! You might have an idea that the point of Christian livng is “to go to heaven when you die” (a notion I do not share, but let’s work with it as far as it can go for a moment). And your notion of going to heaven when you die looks like what? Floating on clouds? Playing harps for eternity? I gotta say, I have held such notions for myself in my time, but the next thought that I dared not utter that so abruptly accompanies that notion is a fear of boredom! If that is heaven, do I really want it??? On the other hand, if we are going to the party of the ages, do you imagine yourself bored there? When you were a virgin and about to deflower on your wedding night (assuming you really waited) did you imagine you would be bored at the after party?

    Of course not!!! The notion was so faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar from your mind that it NEVER came up.

    Well, partying with Jesus in the Age to Come is something like that. Or, put more accurately, something like that is something like partying with Jesus in the Age to Come (after all, we see presently in a mirror darkly).

    Now…

    Now, I hope the party comes more clearly into view. When we look at Jesus going around doing ministry in Galilee (and other places too), we see poor, broken, needy people clinging to him, pressing in on him, seeking him urgently (look like some homeless people you know?) and what does he do with them over and over and over? Well, he heals them, true. But he also parties with them A LOT. Jesus never misses a party! He goes to weddings, funerals (some of which he turns into parties when the dead don’t stay dead) Hanukkah, Passover, and even the occasional feeding of 5000 or 4000. He even turns his last supper into the Christian party of the ages! The very centerpiece of our worship to this day! All of which, of course, echoes off the tree of Life, which the cross, mysteriously has become for us!

    I suggest that the depths of Christian worship are not really being explored by the church anymore in America anyway. The very party itself is healing! It is a foretaste of the whole point of living the Christian life! We expect the Age to Come to be one huge party! A celebration of God’s rule over creation, his care for it, and its loving submission to him. All this is embodied in the party!

    So… here is where we have some new ground to explore in homeless ministry (all ministry actually). So often we think we need to feed, clothe, and shelter the homeless – which is true. Those things are vital, but not the point. But we make them the point, and quickly find it to be too daunting. You try feeding 5000 or even 500! It is daunting! And what about tomorrow? They will still be there hungry tomorrow too! So, pretty quick, our Christian ministers start devising ways of making these people self sufficient. Get a job! Hippie!!! or like the Nazi’s said, Work will make you free!

    But of course we have new hurdles to clear. These people need job training. They need interview training. They need a shower and a nice set of clothes for the interview. They need a place to send the letter to and from. Oh, and did I mention the addiction? Yeah, we need to clean that up too. And what about the mental illness? Oh, man… This is really daunting!

    And soooooooooooo much Christian ministry to the homeless these days is all about different ways of cracking that nut, but remember, it’s not even the point.

    The point is to get us all to the AGE TO COME! And we find our way there in the PARTY! And I am amazed at how many people turn down this party. Most of them are rich, actually. Not all, but most! And Jesus warns us of this – especially in Luke 14 and somewhat in Mark 12 too. But the poor, well, they tend to be easy to invite and compel into the party – the wedding party of the groom to his bride!

    Jesus is the model for this.

    I am sure we need to say more and focus this better, but on the fly, this is my offering at the moment. Gotta run change a diaper on a little one who wants to sing and play (a little party for a child) right now. And even typing this last sentence is putting her off too long.

    God bless…. and I look forward to more exchange…

    Liked by 1 person

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