What are we really looking for in life? How you answer that question determines a lot about you. You might do the same things as people around you, but your reasons shape the results. It’s no different when it comes to faith. So much of what we seek from Jesus is determined by what we want out of life itself.
I have found over the years that most of us use God to get what we want. Spiritual Narcissism is rampant. We are not looking to get on board with God’s mission, but rather to get God’s help on ours.
Gain the whole world but lose your soul: Jesus dismantles YOLO Theology (& the Sadducees who loved it)
The Story that Defines Us: A Narrative Creed for the Church, from the Bible, and relevant to the Human Experience
I proclaimed the "Death of Systematic Theology" in 2016 because its form and function does not reflect the diverse genius of Scripture. It is a bold claim, but I believe the evidence is there to warrant it. In that critique, I called for a new kind of creed that advances beyond "statements of faith" to an inspiring storyline that defines who we are and where everything is headed. I called it an "Orthoscript,” so we could move beyond the debate between"Orthodox" statements (about how to correctly phrase the tenets of your faith) and "Orthopraxy" (the right things to do).
In my initial manifesto, I presented a sample narrative of Jesus in action rather than the typical set of static statements, but I never published a comprehensive "Orthoscript" about the whole story that defines why we are here, where we have faltered, and who we can now be in the story God is writing. I believe it is now time to replace every "doctrinal statement" stuck in the linguistic concepts of previous cultures with a new metanarrative. And I need your feedback in order to overcome my own biases and cultural misperceptions as we craft a story bigger than ourselves that can define each self.
Do You Follow Jesus, or a Religion You Created Around Jesus? Rabbis, Scribes, and Pharisees All Missed His Point
A lot of antagonistic stories in the Gospels begin with “then some Pharisees and Scribes showed up.” Matthew 15:1-2 is typical. “Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, ‘Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!’” These religious teachers were always concerned that Jesus wasn’t doing and teaching what they demanded. They were threatened by the possibility that people would follow his lead.
But Jesus isn’t impressed by their social capital. He thinks their enterprise is an epic adventure in missing the point. So he replies in Matthew 15:3, “Why do you break God’s command for your tradition?” Would Jesus say the same thing to you today?
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Paul Penley's training as a Bible scholar, life as a human being, and work as a philanthropic advisor overflows into this blog
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