Showing posts with label Guilt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guilt. Show all posts

Thursday, August 03, 2023

Living Under the Blade

Damocles, R. Westall, 1812

The ancient writer Cicero has an anecdote about a man named Damocles, a boot-licking courtier to the ancient despot Dionysius II. Damocles foolishly thought he’d like to see what it was really like to be a king, and so the king granted his wish.

Damocles quickly settled himself into Dionysius’ luxurious couch and began to enjoy the pleasures of rule — being fanned, having serving maids feed him, issuing commands, and so on. But in order to make the experience truly authentic, Dionysius gave one further order: that above Damocles’ head a shining sword would be suspended by a single horse-hair, so that he might be ever conscious that at any moment it might fall and carve the presumptuous pseudo-king in half.

Of course, Damocles soon begged the king to be allowed to return to his former position.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Beyond Condemnation

In my previous post we saw that we are either represented by Adam and what he did in Eden (sin) and became in consequence (a sinner), or else by Christ and what he passed through in his death and resurrection. The multiple benefits of the Savior’s work on behalf of those who have faith in him are the subject of large sections of the New Testament.

Believers are taught there to see themselves as “in Christ”, for he fully represents what they now are before God.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Mining the Minors: Amos (3)

There’s a lot of talk today — and maybe this is the case in every generation — about the evils of generations past and how they affect the present, conferring “privilege” on some and disadvantaging others.

Much of this talk is nonsense, nothing but hunger for political power masquerading as a quest for justice. Moreover, the outrage directed at the alleged beneficiaries of multi-generational injustices is very selective. For example, we are not allowed to excoriate the practitioners of modern-day Islam for 9/11, but it is perfectly fine to blame the economic and social disadvantages of today’s American black community on the current generation of whites, including many whose ancestors did not even cross the Atlantic until years after the abolition of slavery. Equal weights and measures, and all that.

Nevertheless, notwithstanding the abuses of the concept in the present day, there remains some biblical validity to the idea of cumulative multi-generational sin that brings the judgment of God to bear on a single, unfortunate generation.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

I Am the One

“I am the one you warned me of
  I am the one who’d never, never lie.”
— Blue Oyster Cult, 1988

Not my favorite band, for sure — but I do admire their theology.

At least in this instance.

So often we begin by thinking that evil, if it exists at all, is a thing “out there”. It’s in the world somewhere, not inside me. Me, I’m pretty good. Not perfect, maybe. But not so bad that God can’t overlook the difference (that is, if he’s really loving) and accept me as spot-on.

Then we live for a bit.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Did We Betray Jesus?

In a post she calls A Tale of Two Betrayals, Bethany Verrett argues that “though [Peter] did not hand Jesus over to the religious leaders like Judas, it was no less a betrayal.” Over at The Gospel Coalition, Mike McKinley has a few suggestions for Christians about What to Do When You Betray Jesus. And back in 2014, when Franklin Graham addressed a question from a reader about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, his editor at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association entitled Franklin’s responsive post We, Like Judas, Can Be Deceitful and Betray Christ.

Really? Can we? At the risk of getting overly-technical, I don’t think we can ... at least not in the language of scripture. And sometimes the language of scripture is a bit different from the wording in our English translations. Not every Greek word has a precise one-for-one English equivalent.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Under the Tower of Siloam

Individual guilt differs from corporate guilt, and individual repentance from corporate repentance, not just quantitatively but qualitatively.

That’s going to require a fair bit of explanation, especially for Christian readers born into our hyper-individualistic Western culture. Most of us only think about the matter of corporate guilt when we find ourselves summarily dismissing Progressivist ravings about race- or gender-based privilege. We rightly reject being held responsible for the long-term social impact of patterns of historical behavior in which we have never engaged and from which we do not personally benefit. “Each of us will give an account of himself to God,” we say.

Full stop, move along now.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Living Under the Blade

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Responsibility and Blame

I do a lot of intercessory praying, and probably so do you.

You know the sort of prayer I mean. Say, for instance, you are friends with a Christian couple experiencing marriage difficulties. You did not introduce them. You did not choose the one for the other or recommend one to the other. You did not officiate at their wedding ceremony and you certainly have nothing to do with the issues that make their marriage dysfunctional. The ultimate outcome of their current domestic turbulence, good or bad, will not affect your life in any significant way beyond the occasional moment of empathy or concern.

You have no dog in the hunt, so to speak.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

I am the One

 The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Giant Problem, or That Stupid Sword Again

There are giants in the land.

Not Goliath, whom David slew, but that bad habit you can’t give up, and most of the time don’t really want to.

Somebody I know is fighting a giant. In his thinking, maybe 5% of the time he’s in a place where he makes an offhand remark about how he needs to go back to church, or how he needs to start reading his Bible again, or how he really needs God in his life. The rest of the time he’s just doing his thing like he’s always done it, and I suspect the will and character of God are the last things he’s thinking about. Life provides bucketloads of convenient distractions.

But can God work with 5%? I’d estimate he can. See, I’ve been there too.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Under Collective Judgment

I am not my dad. I don’t make quite the same mistakes. I make different mistakes. Likewise, I don’t do many things half as well or half as spiritually as my father does. We’re very different in many ways.

I’m definitely not my dad’s father. I never knew him. Many of his ways seem foreign to me. He lived in another era, one characterized by different assumptions and habits.

And my great-grandfather? You gotta be kidding.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Living Under the Blade

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

I am the One

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Depression, Grief, Melancholy and Guilt

Granny says she’s depressed.

Okay, she’s not my granny, and she’s probably not actually depressed either. There’s a chance she is, but in all likelihood she’s grieving, not depressed.

There is a difference.

You see, her husband of many decades went to be with the Lord earlier this year. Her ongoing grief is natural and appropriate; in fact, if at this stage she were said to be feeling fine and spending her time internet shopping for a new partner, the gossips among us would be even more troubled.

But I point this out because where sadness is concerned, our thinking is very muddled these days.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Living Under the Blade

The most current version of this post is available here.