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Posts tagged "Sanctification"

Identity and Summer Selfies: A Reminder

Identity and Summer Selfies: A Reminder

It’s that time of year again, when all of us at some level look at our bodies and realize that we’ve been more, let’s say, “relaxed” about our health during the colder months. We also see — well, some of us do, anyway — our offensively pale skin or winter-weight and dread the first day of shorts, or sun dresses, or swimsuits. It’s difficult because when everything is green and bright, there is much work to do. That is, those social media photos aren’t going to take themselves.

There’s tremendous pressure, isn’t there, to have a good time when times…

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From the Archives - Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

From the Archives – Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Well, we’re probably nearing our yearly limit for writing about anxiety, but great articles on the subject have been irrepressible. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our increasing need to self-actualize, and increasing avenues for doing so, is a root behind the contemporary epidemic of nerves that had 1 in 5 American adults on anti-anxiety or antidepressant meds in 2011, numbers which have presumably risen since. An organization called the ADAA (anxiety and depression, etc) reported that almost one-third of the nation’s health bill is caused by anxiety disorders. You could reasonably ask to vet the numbers there, but even…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

Hopelessly Devoted: Ephesians Chapter One Verses Eighteen and Nineteen

This comes from Mockingbird Magician-in-Chief, Jim McNeely.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Going to the Mountain

A couple of years ago I went with my friend Bart Shadbolt to Baker Lake, which a is an absolutely stunning glacier-fed lake near Bellingham Washington which is…

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Zen and the Art of Law and Gospel: A Conference Breakout with Jim McNeely

Zen and the Art of Law and Gospel: A Conference Breakout with Jim McNeely

I am very excited about the upcoming Mockingbird Conference! First, and possibly most importantly, I have been asked to do a few magic tricks at the conference. If you come, you will be one of the few humans ever to witness a one-time demonstration of the power of the amazing Cords of Shastri, which have been lost for over 600 years, but which have recently come into my possession. I will bring these to New York City for this one event. I repeat, this is a feat of legerdemain which has not been performed for over 600 years! I swear its…

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Gerhard Forde on the Language of Grace

Another gem from theologian Gerhard Forde, via one of his responses in Five Views of Sanctification, pg 192:

The language of grace must be a language that comes totally from without. It does not call on the old self, not even the inner life of the old self, to somehow traverse a new way. It announces him who is the Way. It is thus a use of language which does not call on the old self to “surrender”; rather it is a use of language which through its very givenness slays the old by the absolute unconditionality of the gift itself… the Word does not call on our old being to die. It simply announces that we have died, and sanctification occurs to the degree that we get used to that fact…

Love is the source and goal of sanctification, but the only way to bring that about is to simply announce, “I love you.” The word of grace must bring the old unlovely and unloving existence to an end by the sheer strength of the promise, the gift, which breaks into our dreary lives and just announces flat-out that the old has passed away and the new is here.

A Skeptic of the Transformation Enterprise

A Skeptic of the Transformation Enterprise

Good News for the weary Advent Amazon shopper. An amazing bit from Phillip Cary’s Good News for Anxious Christians, which I am unashamedly speed-reading this Advent. Consumerist? No way! Cary here is talking about the false, consumerist focus on change, and how that focus has bled into the way we think about our very souls. Rather than helping us see that our lives should not be about us, Cary says this kind of transformation-trance makes us incapable of thinking about anything but. Our attention deficit leads us perpetually into the trap of correcting the selves that Christ came to transform.

Ever…

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Karl Barth Brings Good News for the Saints

Karl-Barth-2“We say this even of the saints who are all very obviously and palpably sinners, in whose lives there is continually to be found much that is very different from this lifting up of themselves, who clearly continue to make use of very different freedoms and permissions from those given them by the divine direction; of all kinds of supposed freedoms and permissions which they think they can and should give themselves, but which are in fact illusory. The total, unlimited, sovereign freedom of the Spirit is given them even though they are still in the world like all other men. Their being as sinners is radically assailed, but not destroyed. They still think and speak and act as those who are not free, but who, according to the classical formula of the Heidelberg Catechism, are ‘inclined by nature to hate God and my neighbours.’ What would become of the freedom of the saints if it had to be guaranteed by the use they make of it; if its possession were dependent on the power with which they exercise it? They do indeed have to use and exercise it. How can they receive it if they do not do this? But the freedom of the saints is grounded and enclosed, not in the dignity and power of this reception, but in the dignity and power of the gift made, or rather of the Giver of this gift, in the freedom of the royal man Jesus to whom they are summoned to look. They do not look to him very well. But they are made free, and are free, only in the fact that it is He to whom they look. They are saints only in the fact that He sanctified them.”

Gerhard Forde Won't Mistake Senility for Sanctification

Gerhard Forde Won’t Mistake Senility for Sanctification

From pages 31-32 of his unforgettable contribution to Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification:

“But if we are saved and sanctified only by the unconditional grace of God, we ought to be able to become more truthful and lucid about the way things really are with us. Am I making progress? If I am really honest, it seems to me that the question is odd, even a little ridiculous. As I get older and death draws nearer, it doesn’t seem to get any easier. I get a little more impatient, a little more anxious about having perhaps missed what this life…

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Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Well, we’re probably nearing our yearly limit for writing about anxiety, and it’s only January, but great articles on the subject have been irrepressible. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our increasing need to self-actualize, and increasing avenues for doing so, is a root behind the contemporary epidemic of nerves that had 1 in 5 American adults on anti-anxiety or antidepressant meds in 2011, numbers which have presumably risen since. An organization called the ADAA (anxiety and depression, etc) reported that almost one-third of the nation’s health bill is caused by anxiety disorders. You could reasonably ask…

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Dead Faith and Learning to Sing Lullabies

Dead Faith and Learning to Sing Lullabies

An amazing portion from one of Gerhard Forde’s ‘responses’ in the Five Views of Sanctification book:

I think that most of our talk about [sanctification] represents the bad conscience of the old (moral or immoral!) being who has not really been put to death and so is worried because salvation as a free gift seems too easy and cheap. Since the old being has not died, the law is still in some sense in effect, and so sanctification becomes merely a repair job on the old, a progress according to the law, a transition from vice to virtue for the continuously…

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The Virtues and Vices of N.T. Wright's After You Believe

The Virtues and Vices of N.T. Wright’s After You Believe

Apparently, the original title of N.T. Wright’s After You Believe was Virtue Reborn, changed for marketing purposes in the US. It’s difficult to understand this change, except perhaps that the American Church tends toward being sanctification-heavy, and purpose-driven, and the promise of a ‘Step 2’ to follow the ‘Step 1’ of belief must be attractive to us. A danger here is that the US marketing pressures almost presupposes a tendency of this audience to misinterpret as a how-to; this is to a degree how it’s being sold. But, with that out of the way, we’ll consider the book (hopefully) on…

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Paul Tillich on Experienced Grace

Paul Tillich on Experienced Grace

From his The Shaking of the Foundations:

It happens, or it does not happen. And certainly it does not happen if we try to force it upon ourselves, just as it shall not happen so long as we think, in our self-complacency, that we have no need of it. Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we…

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