The world we live in is a complex one, where plans do not play out as we planned. Humans are "free moral agents" and sometimes they use their agency to circumvent our lives. This is why America has laws that define what is appropriate behavior. Justice is defined by the "rule of law". But, what of differences in defining what law is? What is law based on? And Why?
These questions are things that are not all solved and certainly not agree upon. This is why in America we have an open discourse about how to 'live our lives" in an ordered fashion, without circumventing the freedom of others.
And what of social change and progress, revolutions and reform? How are these seen in the mix of appropriate behavior? When do we revolutionize or reform?
Social change and progress has defined the American way of life since our country's founding. Our Founding Fathers beleived and understood that freedom of religious conviction and conscience was to be affirmed, but not supported in the rules of governing. Otherwise, they would be in for religious terminology and relgious wars over things that cannot be resolved, as these are not empirically proven, but "faith facts".
Our pastor has been preaching on the faith of Abraham and the promise that followed. His emphasis it seemed today, was anti-cultural. He understands Abraham's use of "Hagar", as a cultural means of attaining "the promise" of a seed, which was to prosper every nation.
The anti-cultrual view is the traditional view of "Jesus as the Promised Messiah". Christianity was known to be a disenfranchised religion. And Jesus was useful in mythologizing his life as a "moral example", at least in the Catholic view.
The Jews had understood themselves as representative of humanity because of their alien status. These knew themselves as the "people of God", because of the fulfilled promise to Abraham. At least this is the story line.
Americans have understood their identity as one of " many nations". The term "out of many one". But the opposite is just as true, out of one, many, as in Abraham's case.
Radical faith is a faith not based on or in reason, as it seeks to historicize the life of Christ. Colossians was read about Jesus being the exact representation of God and to not be deluded by human philosophy. Colossians was the Church's apology for Christ and the "gospel'. It is Tradition abolutized apart from reason. And it is to epitomize the Christian experience, which idealizes reality apart from the 'real world' of politics. This is a hard sell to rational people.
The Old Testament Scripture was read which encouraged circumcision. The attempt, it seemed was to make a defense for the Church's stance on the "heart". The heart is the focus of holiness messages. (I'm sure Hebrews is not far behind, in this way of thinking.) Holiness people believe they have a mandate to "form" others in their image of God.
The Church is duty bound to "make disciples". which is at the costs of life and limb, because these believe that there really is a personal God, that answers prayer and that there really is a heaven and hell. These are Christian gnostics which believe that one is saved by their knowledge of the "gospel".
Salvation does happen to these but it is a "illusion" of "hope" and not real hope in a real world. It is Platonized ideology that hides behind Christian word,s, "Worldview" and forms of behavior. This is just as much a culture, as any other. And evangelical culture can be completely disconnected to reality, as their faith understanding is totally caught up in the tradition's (or denominational) understanding of the biblical text.
Faith apart from reason is misguided zealousness, and enthusiasm. This zealousness and enthusiasm is not based on reasoned thinking and study but on emotional reaction and response to cultural beliefs, which have not been analyzed appropriately.
It is only the American evangelicals that are so bent on defining Tradition apart from reason. And because a few nations that are tribalistic in mentality have responded emotionally, these believe that a revival of God has been "sent". And this re-inforces their "cause" of "winning the lost', which they believe is a supernaturalistic covenant with a personal God. This is Calvinistic undestanding of a covenantal theology.
Paul Novel 4.2: Down to Jerusalem
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